Describe and explain the Impact of the emancipation of women on fertility rates.
The First Female emancipation movement took place at the end of the 19th Century and was common to see women in the workplace at that time. Women were given a freedom that only men shared before, such as voting, a higher education and careers.
This movement of freedom of women was mostly recognised in Western Europe (and Western society). A good example of how this freedom of women impacted fertility rates in this corner of the world is the UK.
Industrialization in the UK in the late 19th Century led to the sexual freedom of working class women by offering employment opportunities for them outside the home. The women rebelled against traditional rules and wanted pleasure and success in open sexual activity. In the absence of birth control, increased sexual activity inevitably meant more children and an increase in fertility rates.
Advances in medicine introduced a form of birth control in the early 20th Century, resulting in a decline in birth rates and simultaneously, fertility rates. However, just after this, the declaration of a World War was at hand, and Western Europe was in deep conflict for 5 years. After this period of conflict, men were reunited with their husbands/boyfriends and began to procreate in higher numbers, leading to an extremely high number of births per woman and an increase in fertility rate.
During the second World War, because a vast number of men from the UK were out fighting in the War, there were barely any births since there were no men around to procreate, and many women were at home either protecting the children or helping the war effort in some way or another, putting their minds off reproduction and focusing it on Patriotism.
Nearer the end of the 20th Century, the number of women in a career increased , so those women who were married to a full time working husband, could also
work, and earn a disposable income to pay for leisure activities such as holidays or the latest technology, such as computer or a mobile phone.
At the very start of the 21st Century, the number of women seen in a workplace had at least doubled since the end of the 20th Century, which meant that more and more women were dedicating the start of their life to their career and producing a sustainable income to help start up their financial life. This dedication to their career meant that there was less thought put into the act of reproduction and the start of a family, which saw the slow decline in birth rate and inevitably, fertility rates. The decline in birth rates can clearly be seen at the end of Stage 4 of the Demographic Transition Model