86 percent of unmarried Chinese women believe childbirth is a right
Published: Mar 22, 2022 08:07 PM
Photo: VCG

Photo: VCG

As many as 86 percent of unmarried Chinese women think childbirth is a right instead of an obligation, which they can choose to do or not, 22 percentage points higher than men, a new study on unmarried Chinese people's views on childbearing shows. 

With the development of a country's economy, women play an increasingly prominent role in social development, thus the freedom of reproduction has become a woman's right, said the report released by the online matchmaking platform on Tuesday. 

Only 32 percent of unmarried women agreed with the idea that children constitute a successful and perfect marriage, the study found, contrary to Chinese people's traditional view that children are not only the crystallization of love but also the symbol of a perfect marriage, as attitudes toward marriage and love change and more and more Chinese women believe that happiness is the key criterion to judge a marriage. 

The research also shows the changes of concepts in many aspects of today's unmarried Chinese people, such as their attitudes towards childbirth and childrearing. 

Despite a slew of birth-targeting incentives that China has rolled out in recent years such as prolonged maternity leave, paternity leave and birth insurance, the policies and incentives have failed to reduce people's concerns, the report says. Only 25 percent of unmarried men and less than 20 percent of unmarried women think these policies would influence their childbirth plans, according to the study. 

Besides, 60 percent of unmarried Chinese women are sure that they wouldn't accept out-of-wedlock childbirth. 

Despite Chinese people's attitudes towards childbearing having become more open and some deputies to the National People's Congress even suggesting during this year's two sessions to allow unmarried women aged 30 or above to have one child and enjoy legitimate maternity leave, maternity insurance and other rights and interests as married women have, as many as 60 percent of unmarried Chinese women still won't accept unmarried births. 

Out-of-wedlock childbirth is still inconsistent with traditional Confucianism concepts which are widely accepted in East Asian countries including China, He Yafu, an independent demographer, told the Global Times. 

According to the study, the unmarried population remain more cautious when they are unprepared for childbearing, with 90 percent of unmarried people taking contraception measures to prevent unexpected pregnancies.

According to the study, the unmarried population's low childbearing willingness is also a result from multiple factors such as fear of childbirth, high costs of childbirth and childrearing and uncertainty toward future marriage apart from the conventional factors that affect the willingness of childbearing such as property prices, health care, education, job stress and income. 

The research also shows nearly 50 percent of unmarried women and 30 percent of women who are divorced are unwilling to give up their jobs to be stay-at-home moms, since women's position in social development is becoming more and more prominent, and the traditional pattern of family division of labor has changed.

Global Times