February 6, 2009 § Leave a comment
I read an interesting article in NY times, about the declining birthrates in the “westernized” countries, and it seems like the hunch is right. It is actually effective to have an as equal society as possible. Scandinavian countries have a birthrate of 1.8 babies per couple, while southern european countries are down as low as 1.3.
The clash between a traditionalistic view of women, like the one in Australia, Greece or Italy and a modern society were women are as educated as men (or more, as in the case of Sweden where 71% of the women starts at university within three years after completing the first 12 years in school, but only 48% of the men. The percentage at Swedish universities are 60% women… My dad once famously answered the question “why?” with “I guess they are smarter then us”. I love my dad.) makes less babies. If forced to stay at home because of traditions, no paid maternity leave and so on, many women choose not to have children. The conservative answer to this is off course to stop contraseptives, but even if by nature this argument would be foul, don’t forget that lower condom use generates higher rates of STDs, HIV for example. The catholic church is more or less advocating a genocide in Africa because of their no condom-policy.
When looking at statistics, the scandies have a much healthier rate of birthrates because of one thing amongst others. Paid paternity leave. Adjusting so that the men can stay at home, makes it not only easier for women to get back into working, but also removes some of the stigma of childbirth, it is no longer an issue of rendering yourself useless in partitipation in the society around you. Having high costs of living in all of Europe, it’s hard for anyone to live at one salary, instead of two.
I recommend for new mothers to stop being selfish and use all the leave for themselves (except for the earmarked 2 months for the father, that they can’t use. I mean the rest of it. damn it, split it equally ppl!) here in the north, and I recommend the other goverments to try to rid their countries of the old way of thinking of women as first sex objects, then baby machines. If we at all want to have Europe, it might be a good idea to do something about this.
Sure, we could take in more immigrants, but is there even that many people who wants to move? With a birthrate at 1.3, it’s not a thousand, not even hundreds of thousands of immigrants we need, it’s millions. Also comes the next question, which is hard to handle, with an ever declining population up north, refilling it from third world countries, will we even have a chanse to educate and integrate? Or will we loose the equality? Do you really think that in a society more influenced by macho-based countries, the guys who grew up in an equal society would stay equal?
This might be the hardest question of all. However you say it people will scream at you and call you racist, but in my area I have young guys calling me whore for not wearing a wail, and I dare say that growing up in a secularized society makes you less inclined to do that. I’m not ready to loose that. To cope we will have to find a new way of integrating immigrants in our society, or we will disappear. I still think Sweden could take in a lot more immigrants, we have tons of space, but we have to find new ways of handling it, and this is crucial, stop showing so much “respect” for “culture”. Cultural is the magic prefix that makes everything ok. We have to get over that. Quickly. Or I’ll be on the negative side of the demographics, because I sure as hell don’t want to raise kids in an unequal society driven by religious and traditionalistic ideas.