Thursday, June 19, 2014

rise of the catladies

This post was contributed by Calandra Silvestro, UTSA student in SOC 3013, Social Stratification.

As a child, I remember hearing the term "catlady.” I thought, until recently, this referred to a woman who was an empty-nester; she was alone since her children had left. Today, it appears the word means you never had any children, you just have cats.
Having children is a choice; just like any other choice. Would someone look down on you if you decided never to eat out? That’s also just a normal choice. Sometimes it’s a smart decision to wait and have children when you are more settled and established. Some women don’t want to have children until they are successful. Some may want to finish school and get a decent job that pays the bills and can also take care of a family. Also, children are- very expensive (according to the video, in 2011, the cost of raising a child until the age of 18 was $234,900 on average); they also need to be cared for twenty-four hours a day, seven days a week.
The article “Check your ‘Cat-Lady’ Preconceptions About Childless Women” suggests new thinking about childless women. It appears more women are choosing not to have children. The birth rate dropped to 8% in 2010. 1 in 5 women, ages 40-45 choose not to have children. This number has doubled since 1976. This article also mentions that some women who decide not to have children have very fulfilling lives. Radhika Jones, the executive editor of Time Magazine says in the video “different opportunities come up and you start to realize that you have different fulfilling and rewarding relationships that maybe don’t involve you being a mother”.
“If you want to be successful in your career, don’t have children”, says Kristen Houghton, in her article “Why (Most) Successful Women are Childless.”.  She addresses both sides: having children and not having children. Houghton says about working, “whether in the corporate, financial, or even artistic realms, to reach the top in your career requires a single-minded drive, dedication and passion.” If you decide to become a mother, you won’t have this drive and passion for working as you would for your children. Houghton also states, “The truth is that most women who have achieved professional success have chosen not to have children”. Houghton references an article titled “In Corporate America, Still a Struggle for Female Execs”. This article mentions several big companies and how many “women on board” and “women named executives” they have.
Women who have children are 44% less likely to be hired and are paid $11,000 less than women without children, according to Kelly Hagan, who wrote the article titled ‘New Study Shows That Childless Women Succeed More Than Mothers in the Workplace”. This study (that found the 44%) was done in 2005 by Cornell University.  Hagan mentions the study in her article. According to Hagan, men’s incomes rise to 75% more than a women’s income 15 years after they finished college, even if they had the same income and worked the same number of hours after finishing college.
I am still not quite sure if having children or not having children affects women’s hiring or not. I understand why some companies would not want to hire a woman with children. Children need care and they take up a lot of time. Some companies might need you to travel and if you have children that might be a problem. Also, most work places don’t want you to take time off. What happens if your child gets sick or has an appointment? You would have to take time off for that. Also, women would have to take maternity leave. I can certainly see both sides. Some women just have that motherly instinct and have always wanted to be a mother and some have passion and drive for a certain career.

Hagan, K. (2010, August 22). New study shows that childless women succeed more than mothers in the workplace. Retrieved June 18, 2014, from ABC website:

Houghton, K. (2013, April 15). Why (most) successful women are childless. Retrieved June 18, 2014, from Huffington Post website:

Mclntyre, D. (2011, August 22). In corporate America, still a struggle for female execs. Retrieved June 18, 2014, from Daily Finance website::

Wallace, K. (2014, June 5). Check your 'cat-lady' preconceptions about childless women. Retrieved June 18, 2014, from CNN website:

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