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There were different reasons in different places, but it’s a global trend,” Inhorn says.“Especially as women seem to be rising educationally around the world, often outstripping the achievements of their male peers.” In a range of places where women are able to access education and careers they have begun to do so with zeal, often overtaking their male counterparts One key metric is attainment at university, where women globally are becoming the majority of students, both applying in greater numbers, as in Sweden, and completing more degrees, as in South Africa.But many want, if not marriage, then at least “a very secure, very committed, monogamous reproductive partnership” before they bring children into the world, Inhorn says. We (Oath) and our partners need your consent to access your device, set cookies, and use your data, including your location, to understand your interests, provide relevant ads and measure their effectiveness.Having concentrated on graduating and working hard, they ended up wondering how to find a partner with whom to start a family. In fact, Yogyakarta’s young people are experiencing a phenomenon that’s being felt across the globe, from Brooklyn to Paris, Rwanda to Japan.
Even in places where it is possible to become a parent without an expensive wedding, fertility rates are falling: Inhorn mentions Greece, Spain, and France as facing age-related fertility problems, in part because young people can’t afford the trappings of adulthood, like their own place to live.“Why are people putting off marriage, why is the age of marriage rising around the world, and [why are there] delays in childbearing?
Researcher Nancy Smith-Hefner was chatting to university students in the city of Yogyakarta, Indonesia, when she noticed a trend.
In a country with near “universal marriage,” where only 2% of women in their late 40s are estimated to have never married, young women were saying they wanted to finish their education and embark on fulfilling careers before getting hitched.
More common, then, is waithood: A lingering, liminal state in which women and sometimes men put the next stage of their lives on hold because they’re unable to find the partner they want or are held back by financial imperatives.
Formal marriage isn’t the only structure in which to have a family, and people are certainly experimenting with other ways to progress to the next stage of life, including not having children, or having and raising them in less traditional contexts.
Smith-Hefner was struck by some problems faced by those following that path.