Ruth Styles, Daily Mail (London), August 5, 2013
Historian Lucy Worsley caused a furore when she remarked last year that she had been ‘educated out of the natural reproductive function’.
Now it seems she might have had a point, after a new study has revealed a clear correlation between intelligence and childlessness–with cleverer women more likely to choose not to have a family.
The study, which was conducted by Satoshi Kanazawa, a researcher at the London School of Economics, found that a woman’s urge to have children decreases by a quarter for every 15 extra IQ points.
When Kanazawa, who used data from the UK’s National Child Development Study, added controls for economics and education, the results remained the same–the more intelligent the woman, the less likely she was to have children.
Worsley isn’t the UK’s only famously clever childless woman, with others including Cambridge professor Mary Beard, BBC presenter Kate Humble and actress Helen Mirren.
In the USA, Oprah Winfrey, Cameron Diaz and Eva Mendes are among the famous names who have said they’ll never become mothers, with Diaz adding: ‘I have the life I have because I don’t have children.’
Mendes too has said that she values her lifestyle too much to share it with children. ‘I don’t want kids,’ she said. ‘I love sleep and I worry about everything.’
Humble, meanwhile, told the Times that she just ‘doesn’t have a maternal gene’ and resolved not to have children at the age of 14.
‘People are very judgmental,’ she added. ‘It’s as if I made a selfish decision not to have children, but I never, ever, wanted them.’
Humble and co. certainly aren’t alone, with figures released by the Office of National Statistics revealing that the proportion of women without children has almost doubled since the 1990s.
One in five 45-year-olds is childless, while among those with degrees, the figure rises to 43 per cent, suggesting that Kanazawa’s findings are sound.
A social study, conducted by social scientist Dr Nattavudh Powdthavee of the University of York, revealed that the notion that happiness comes from having children is illusory and offers yet another clue to why so many clever women are rejecting motherhood.
‘Parents spend much of their time attending to the very core processes of childcare: problems at school, cooking, laundry,’ said Powdthavee in an interview with the Times.
‘It’s these small but negative experiences that are more likely to impact on our day-to-day levels of happiness and life satisfaction.’