'Unnatural', 'Unwomanly', 'Uncreditable' and 'Undervalued': the significance of being a childless woman in Australian society

Rich, Stephanie, Taket, Ann, Graham, Melissa and Shelley, Julia 2011, 'Unnatural', 'Unwomanly', 'Uncreditable' and 'Undervalued': the significance of being a childless woman in Australian society, Gender issues, vol. 28, no. 4, pp. 226-247.

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Title 'Unnatural', 'Unwomanly', 'Uncreditable' and 'Undervalued': the significance of being a childless woman in Australian society
Author(s) Rich, Stephanie
Taket, Ann
Graham, Melissa
Shelley, Julia
Journal name Gender issues
Volume number 28
Issue number 4
Start page 226
End page 247
Total pages 22
Publisher Springer New York LLC
Place of publication New York, N.Y.
Publication date 2011-12
ISSN 1098-092X
Keyword(s) Childlessness
Stigma
Stereotypes
Pronatalism
Femininity
Summary Childlessness is an increasing trend, internationally and in Australia. The few studies exploring the lived experiences of childless women have been conducted in America, Canada and the United Kingdom; predominantly during the 1980s and 1990s. The experiences of childless women in contemporary Australia remain under-researched. This hermeneutic phenomenological study sought to enhance understanding of the lived experience of being a childless woman in contemporary Australia. In-depth interviews with five childless women revealed five key themes as significant facets of the experiences of childless women: notions of ‘natural’ and ‘unnatural’; woman = mother; childlessness as a discrediting attribute; feeling undervalued; and the significance of being childless. By privileging the experiences of childless women in a pronatalist society, it is apparent that misconceptions and stereotypes about childlessness continue to pervade. This study contributes to understanding this growing population group; highlighting that while childlessness is increasingly acknowledged, it is still not completely understood.
Language eng
Field of Research 169901 Gender Specific Studies
Socio Economic Objective 970116 Expanding Knowledge through Studies of Human Society
HERDC Research category C1 Refereed article in a scholarly journal
Copyright notice ©2011, Springer Science+Business Media, LLC
Persistent URL http://hdl.handle.net/10536/DRO/DU:30040222

Document type: Journal Article
Collection: School of Health and Social Development
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