As a self-proclaimed “passionate feminist,” you might think that Kirstie Allsopp would be all for encouraging the next generation of girls to aspire for academic excellence and strive f
As a self-proclaimed “passionate feminist,” you might think that Kirstie Allsopp would be all for encouraging the next generation of girls to aspire for academic excellence and strive for high-profile jobs alongside the boys.
However, the TV presenter has recently advised girls to “stay at home,” “find a nice boyfriend” and “have a baby.” She even commented that she’d tell her daughter (if she had one) that she’d “help” her to get “into a flat.”
Doesn’t this all sound just a tad old-fashioned?
The female life plan
Of course, university isn’t for everyone. Whether you are male or female, there are plenty of fulfilling alternatives, such as apprenticeships, which can lead to successful and rewarding careers. But surely the idea of a young woman postponing plans for further education simply to “have a baby” a few years earlier, is somewhat dated and frankly absurd?
It’s as though a girl is expected to leave school at the age of sixteen (or eighteen), get a dead-end job and passively wait around for “the one” to show up. Sure, this girl may have a husband and a baby by twenty-five, but what then?
With the demanding responsibilities of being a mother and doting wife (I jest), it seems unlikely that she will finally be able to find the time to complete her studies or find herself a stimulating career until much later on.
Best of both worlds
What’s more, if a girl goes to university at the age of eighteen, nineteen, or even twenty, she will still only be in her early to mid-twenties by the time she finishes her degree; undeniably young enough to be at the peak of fertility.
In addition, it wouldn’t be surprising if the female graduate had met said “nice boyfriend” during her studies, meaning that she finishes her education with a (hopefully) solid degree and a prospective father of her children. Failing that, the chances of not finding Prince Charming are just as likely as staying single, moving into a flat and getting a job.
Only having been to university, she is now single and childless with a degree, as opposed to just single and childless.
Kirstie’s suggestion seems to imply that a woman cannot have both a successful career and a family. I think that the majority of professional women out there today would beg to differ. Of course, if a girl wishes to leave school and go straight into work at sixteen, then that is perfectly acceptable and there is a lot to be said for gaining this experience at a young age.
I believe this decision shouldn’t be influenced by gender and the resulting desire/pressure to start a family. As highlighted by Helen Fraser, who is the Chief Executive of the Girls’ Day School Trust, “girls who leave university at 22 should not be told by anybody that they have to decide between a career or a relationship and children.”
What do you think about Kirstie’s comments? As a girl, do you feel under pressure to be settled down with a husband and children by your mid-twenties? Or as a boy (or boyfriend), how would you feel about your girlfriend postponing her further study to have your children? Have your say in the comments section below.