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Social connection and exclusion of Australian women with no children during midlife

Authors:

Beth Turnbull ,

Deakin University, AU
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Melissa L. Graham,

Deakin University, AU
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Ann R. Taket

Deakin University, AU
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Abstract

Evidence indicates women with no children can experience pronatalism-driven stereotyping, stigmatisation and exclusion. This exploratory cross-sectional study described the social connection and exclusion of Australian women with no children during midlife (defined as aged 45 to 64 years). A total of 294 Australian midlife women with no children completed a self-administered online questionnaire. Data were collected on indicators of exclusion in the social, civic, service and economic domains of life, and participants’ self-reported perceptions of being stereotyped, stigmatised and excluded because they have no children. Data were analysed using descriptive statistics and, for differences between involuntarily childless, circumstantially childless and voluntarily childless women: One Way ANOVAs for normally distributed continuous data, and Kruskal Wallis Analyses of Ranks and Chi Square Tests for Independence for categorical data and non-normally distributed continuous data. The findings indicate midlife women feel negatively stereotyped because they have no children. The extent and quality of midlife women’s resources and participation vary between and within the domains of life. However, midlife women reported feeling more excluded because they have no children in the social and civic domains than the service and economic domains. There are few differences between typologies of women with no children. Given that social exclusion is a key social determinant of health and wellbeing, it is essential to ensure all women have opportunities for connection in all domains of life in Australian society regardless of their motherhood status, by challenging pronatalism at all levels of society.

How to Cite: Turnbull, B., Graham, M.L. and Taket, A.R., 2016. Social connection and exclusion of Australian women with no children during midlife. Journal of Social Inclusion, 7(2), pp.65–85. DOI: http://doi.org/10.36251/josi.112
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Published on 15 Dec 2016.
Peer Reviewed

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