Want More Babies? You Need Less Patriarchy

In the United States, where fertility has been below replacement for about a decade, the average woman now has 1.77.

.. Perhaps the United States is becoming more like the rest of the industrialized world, where declining birthrates are correlated with a lack of support for working mothers.

.. Developed countries that prioritize gender equality — including Sweden, Norway and France — have higher fertility rates than those that don’t.

.. The world’s lowest fertility rates are in countries that are economically developed but socially conservative, where women have professional opportunities but must shoulder most of the burdens of domestic life.

.. Peter McDonald theorized that if women have educational and employment opportunities nearly equal to those of men, “but these opportunities are severely curtailed by having children, then, on average, women will restrict the number of children that they have

.. in Sweden, women were more likely to have a second child if their male partner took paternity leave with their first child, a proxy for his willingness to share the work of parenting.

.. In Hungary, she told me, couples that shared housework equally had a higher probability of having a second kid.

.. This correlation between feminist social policy and higher fertility is widely recognized throughout the world

..  “feminism is the new natalism.”

.. fertility rates, after reaching a low of around 1.7 children per woman in 1976, rose over the next 30 years, even as Europe’s fertility fell.

.. There were several reasons for this, including substantial levels of Hispanic immigration, a high teen birthrate, and, some speculated, America’s exceptional religiosity.

Since then, however, the teen birthrate in the United States has fallen to an all-time low, Americans have become less religious, Hispanic immigration has slowed, and Hispanic fertility rates have declined.
.. rising cost of child care
.. If my theory is right, though, it will keep falling unless America invests in paid family leave and subsidized, high-quality child care
.. if a shrinking number of workers must support a growing elderly population, even our threadbare social safety net will be strained.
.. survey data shows that women actually desire more kids than they’re having.
.. the “gap between the number of children that women say they want to have (2.7) and the number of children they will probably actually have (1.8) has risen to the highest level in 40 years.”
.. One lesson of cratering fertility rates is that in the modern world, patriarchy is maladaptive.

The Maddeningly Simple Way Tech Companies Can Employ More Women

We recently set up an interview at a major company for a senior African-American woman software engineer. After meeting with the hiring panel, she withdrew her application, telling us she felt demeaned by the all-white male group that failed to ask her any questions about her coding skills. She described how one of the men had made it clear to her that she wasn’t a cultural fit and that therefore they didn’t need to proceed with technical questions.

.. executives don’t give as much thought to are some of the simplest determinants of how successful a company will be in hiring diverse candidates.

  • Will women have any input in the hiring process?
  • Will the interview panels be diverse?
  • Will current female employees be available to speak to candidates about their experiences?

Many times, the answer to each of these questions is no, and the resistance to make simple changes in these areas is striking.

.. I often see companies work to make themselves appealing to candidates by emphasizing perks like Ping-Pong tables, retreats and policies that let employees bring their dogs to work. Those things can be appealing to candidates of any gender. But one size doesn’t fit all:

We have to tell these companies to talk just as proudly about

  • their parental-leave policies,
  • child-care programs and
  • breast-pumping rooms.

At the very least, they need to communicate that their workplaces have cultures where women are valued

.. I remind them that when it comes to gender, they have to play catch-up, after long histories of eroding trust by grilling women about how they’ll be able to do the job with children at home

.. Silicon Valley companies are in love with themselves and don’t understand why the love isn’t always returned by the few women to whom they extend employment offers.

.. they’re so proud of so-called boomerangs — candidates who have left a company for reasons that may or may not be related to how it treats women and, after advancing their careers elsewhere, return.

.. Last year, we worked with a company that set a goal that women would make up 50 percent of the engineers on one of its teams. They did it by holding a webinar led by female employees, with 100 female candidates who asked questions about how the organization was changing to become more inclusive to women.