Rod Berne Rod Berne is a student, writer, and thought criminal. His columns run every Saturday. Follow him on Twitter. For women with advanced degrees, the number drops still further.
One reason for this is because for poor girls, motherhood elevates their status. While it may offend our more noble sensibilities, motherhood is a sort of status characteristic. It either increases their status or reduces it depending on their environment. Women care about what the people around them care about—they are susceptible to pressures of conformity.
This then boils down to a simple question: What does the community value? If it values motherhood and elevates it to a position of importance, women will pursue it. If it values degrees in sociology and a corporate or government career, women will pursue that. In a sterile, career-driven environment, motherhood is not assigned the high status lower-class communities give it. They are also seen as less suitable for positions of authority. Women are trained to value these things and if motherhood is an obstacle, than it has to go.
Increasingly in the West, being a mother is at best neutral in terms of social status, but more often a negative. Women think the new iPhone is higher status than a newborn baby. Giving their best years to their families and shaping young human lives are not afforded nearly the same social status as becoming a paper pusher in a cubicle.
Furthermore, motherhood is not seen as a point of pride anymore. In these cases, what is happening is that these women have developed feelings of insecurity and inferiority.
They then project these feelings into the world, thinking everyone views them as merely a mother. Young women pick up on these signals and shift their behavior accordingly. Seeing popular media articles bashing motherhood leads to women either not becoming mothers at all, or spending a few years working and then dividing their time between their families and their office job. More important than your stupid career.
But why might these articles exist in the first place? She must be a producer for the system. Now back to work, slave.