PM Julia Gillard constantly faces questions about whether she can effectively govern on the basis that she hasn't had any kids. At the ABC's Drum opinion site, counsellor Siobhan Hannan makes a great argument for why both those with children and those without have a vital role to play in an effective society.
Picture by jkownacki
At the heart of Hannan's argument is the obvious-but-lots-of-people-ignore-it proposition that allowing people free choice on this point creates a more effective and more productive world for us all. Productivity is one of our big obsessions here at Lifehacker so it's a point well worth noting:
The childfree are often the people available to cover the overtime or work project that a sick child or a school concert prevents a parent being able to attend to. The parent might be the one who teaches their colleagues about multi-tasking and good time management. The parents are the one's producing and bringing up the future taxpayers of Australia who will eventually be helping to pay for all of our retirement. The parents are supporting educational opportunities which will see new generations of thinkers, carers, artists, doctors, teachers, scientists and researchers cure cancer or write new symphonies. The childfree are consuming less while families suck up energy driving kids to and from school and sport and weekend activities. The childfree might be more financially independent, contribute more discretionary spending to the retail economy, thus supporting the employment of the sons and daughters of us parents.
The whole opinion piece is well worth a read, though there's a part of me that remains frustrated that the point has to be made at all. Having kids is a personal choice, not a permanent disqualification from social participation.
Childlessness, a parent's best friend [The Drum]