Monday, January 18, 2010

Germany faces low birthrate by increasing school days; women still struggle to balance work and family


The expansion of kindergarten and primary school to a full day is creating controversy in Germany, according to a long article in the New York Times today by Katrin Bennhold. The piece is titled “In Germany, A Tradition Falls and Women Rise”, link here.

In Germany, the birthrate is particularly low, and all day schools would help women work and take care of children again. All of this is surprising because, as the article explains, Germany, like all western European countries, offers generous mandatory paid maternity leave, even more if the fathers will share some of the home care. Curiously, Germany is still somewhat schizophrenic on childbearing, because of the history back in Prussian days and then the policies during Nazism.

Rachel Bartlett, from Germany and from the Rosenfels Community, gives a perspective on motherhood and non-motherhood here. The title is "It's never too late to have a good childhood." Call it perpetual adolescence, possible in sheltered communities. She's rather blunt on the attitudes of children toward their parents.

Update: Feb 14:

Here's an AlterNet piece by Elizabeth Gregory along the lines of the Bartlett piece. The title is "Many Women Don't Have Kids -- Get Over It: Many women are happy without kids. They'd be even happier if they weren’t reminded all the time how unhappy they should be", link here.

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