The pope has called them "selfish" and conservative pundits have said they're "stupid." Despite the fact that women who don't want kids are a growing demographic, it's clear that the stigma against them remains strong. Although men may sometimes be criticized for opting out of childbearing, they don't face nearly the same amount of vitriol as childless women, who often get cast as "shallow" or "cat ladies" for choosing not to procreate.
So what's "wrong" with women don't have children? Mic tackles this and other questions in the latest episode of Flip the Script, in which we interview Susan McPherson, a CEO and angel investor who disrupts some of society's worst misconceptions about childless women.
Though we tend to speak of them as exceptions, the percentage of women choosing not to have kids has doubled since the 1970s, according to Pew Research Center data. As it stands, almost half of women aged 15 to 44 do not have children.
Given that the United States has some of the worst family leave policies in the industrialized world and that the price of childcare has almost doubled since 1985, it's not surprising that so many are seriously considering opting out of parenthood. As previously written in Mic, not having kids has become a rational decision for young women, many of whom have been encouraged from a young age to prioritize their educational and career ambitions and who, rightfully, view motherhood as an option rather than a duty.
Assuming all women are born with the desire to have kids is not only a fallacy, but it also perpetuates damaging gender stereotypes about women's role in society. Having children is a choice like any other, one women must be able to make for themselves without fear of external judgment. To be clear: The problem isn't women who don't want kids. It's the people who judge them for it.
So what's wrong with women who don't have children? Absolutely nothing.