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1. Women nurture the rising generation.

Everyone has a role to play in contributing to society, but it is women who control the means of reproduction. 100% of babies are born to women. None are born to men. And since the future is built on the nurturing of these new little people, women, more than any other demographic, will impact how that future plays out.[1] Single or married, divorced or widowed, sisters, mothers, or aunts, it is women who will decide the fate of civilization in their own relationships, communities, and throughout the world.

2. “All the Single Ladies.”

It’s not just mothers changing the world. Every woman has an impact, sometimes in unexpected ways. For example, imagine a world without single women. This is basically the demographic crisis facing China right now. After decades of sex-selective abortion, there are 33 million more men than women. A missing generation of women means that many Chinese men do not have a hope of being able to effectively compete for a partner, make family commitments, or contribute to building the next generation. In consequence, as CNN reports, “Gambling, alcohol and drug abuse, kidnapping and trafficking of women are rising steeply in China.”[2]

“Human societies depend decisively on the socialization of males. The whole idea is to harness male energy to pro-social purposes.”[3] Without even realizing it, single women inspire men in these prosocial ways. Men wake up motivated to become civilized enough to obtain companionship—they seek out education, marketable skills, employment, they avoid criminal behavior (and they might even get a decent shave), all because they are hoping to be worthy to “put a ring on it.”

3. Societies that do not reproduce do not survive.

With all the warnings about overpopulation, most nations of the world are actually facing a population implosion. Demographer Joseph Chamie explained the problem with societies that choose sterility: “Resulting population decline and aging [become] a serious crisis, jeopardizing the basic foundations of the nation and threatening its survival. Economic growth and vitality, defense, and pensions and health care for the elderly, for example, are all areas of major concern.”[4] In response to fertility levels falling below replacement levels in many countries, a paper presented at the United Nations warns of “higher risk of labour shortage and reduced capacity to integrate new immigrants” even while societies become more dependant on those immigrant populations.[5]

4. Mothers shape a child’s ability to have relationships.

Babies do not just spring forth ready to take turns, follow rules, and earn a living. Mothers spend thousands of hours feeding, holding, and attending to the needs of children. Through the physical interactions of these thankless and mundane tasks, children develop the ability to have relationships, be affectionate, show empathy, and be led by conscience. In contrast, children that do not receive this care often robotically pursuing the most immediate personal gain. Some even suffer from attachment disorder, a condition in which individuals have difficulty showing affection, forming lasting relationships, and learning to trust or discern the whisperings of conscience. No machine or institution has ever been able to replace the bonding ability that mothers create in their children. It goes without saying that our economy and society could not function without the ability to bond or have relationships.

5. Women Prevent Fatherlessness.

For a minute there, you might have thought I would say the pill prevents fatherlessness, but the opposite is true. Even in our contraception-saturated society, “numerous studies have shown that unintended pregnancy is the common, not rare, consequence of sex between men and women.” Over the course of her life, the typical woman using the pill will experience almost two unintended pregnancies.[6] Dedication to the pill has caused an overall increase in fatherless children. Nothing prevents fatherless children better than when women decide to link their sexuality to wedlock. The truth is that sexuality “unregulated by marriage as a public institution, produces immense human suffering: dead children, damaged children, gendered inequality, and inequality of opportunity.”[7]

6. Women motivate men to volunteer for a life of service to others.

“Let me suggest that there are two basic categories—good and bad. The bad thing that men can do is become violent, isolated, and sexually irresponsible. The good thing they can do is to become husbands and fathers. Becoming husbands and fathers is the universal prescription of human societies for the socialization of the male. It’s how societies link male aggression, energy, purpose—maleness—to a pro-social purpose. The way human societies do that is by linking them to the lives of their children and to the lives of the mothers of their children through marriage.”[8]

7. Women define the social structure of the home a child is born into.

Until babies can choose the homes they are born into, they must rely on the choices, intuition, education, wisdom, and negotiation power of a woman. Sadly, “one of the most dangerous places for a child in America to find himself in is a home that includes an unrelated male boyfriend” of the mother. “The science tells us that children are not only more likely to thrive but are also more likely to simply survive when they are raised in an intact home headed by their married parents.”[9] Parallel research shows that the quality of relationship between a child’s mother and father is one of the strongest predictors of child outcomes. Despite the heroic efforts of single moms, it’s hard to ignore child outcomes such as the following:

  1. 63% of youth suicides are from fatherless homes [10]
  2. 90% of all homeless and runaway children are from fatherless homes
  3. 85% of all children that exhibit behavioral disorders come from fatherless homes [11]
  4. 80% of rapists motivated with displaced anger come from fatherless homes[12]
  5. 71% of all high school dropouts come from fatherless homes [13]
  6. 75% of all adolescent patients in chemical abuse centers come from fatherless homes[14]
  7. 70% of juveniles in state-operated institutions come from fatherless homes[15]
  8. 85% of all youths sitting in prisons grew up in a fatherless home[16]

While no mother can guarantee that a man will fulfill his commitments to the children he creates, a woman is our best hope of filtering, choosing, and motivating a father for her children. And marriage culture is her best tool for strengthening her power of negotiation. For example, a wife who wants a child or finds herself unexpectedly pregnant is in a very different negotiating position from a girlfriend in the same state.[17] For good or bad, America’s children are shaped by the relationship choices women make, and the standards they set for men’s behavior toward them, and the power and social support they have to negotiate these standards. Their choices are the best hope for steering society toward a safe and healthy future.

 

 

Notes: 

[1] Discovering Eve: Ancient Israelite Women in Context, pg 176. “Women [have] an important place wherever public life is not significantly differentiated from domestic life” recognizing” Meyers points to victorian scholars who astutely recognized that “prominence for females” is most natural “in a world dominated by the very realms in which females most typically exert control.”

[2] http://www.cnn.com/2012/11/14/opinion/china-challenges-one-child-brooks/index.html

[3] David Blankenhorn, Fatherless America. Thinking Minnesota blog of The American Experiment.

https://www.americanexperiment.org/reports-books/fatherless-america/ See also http://coursework24.pro/essay/48593

[4] Joseph Charnie, Low Fertility: Can Governments Make a Difference? 2. http://paa2004. princeton.edu/download.asp?submissionId=42278 (Apr. 2, 2004).

[5] Jean-Claude Chesnais, The Inversion of the Age Pyramid and the Future Population Decline in France: Implications and Policy Responses, 3. http://www.un.org/esa/population/publications/popdecline/Chesnais.pdf (Aug. 15, 2000)

[6]These numbers reflect not what happens in a clinician’s lab but the imperfect use by real women in the real world. Nine percent of women become pregnant within the first year of contraceptive use. And on average these women experience 1.8 unintended pregnancies by the time they reach their 45th birthday. James Trussell and Barbara Vaughan, Contraceptive Failure, Method Rate Discontinuation and Resumption of Use:Results from the 1995 National Survey of Family Growth, 31 Family Planning Perspectives, 64, 71 (1999).

Maggie Gallagher, University of St. Thomas Law Review, Fall 2004 Volume 2 Number 1 pg 47 under the title “(How) Will Gay Marriage Weaken Marriage as a Social Institution? A reply to Andrew Koppelman.

[7] DSSM, 113

[8] David Blankenhorn, Fatherless America, Thinking Minnesota blog of The American Experiment

https://www.americanexperiment.org/reports-books/fatherless-america/ See also http://coursework24.pro/essay/48593

[9] https://www.nis4.org/nishome.asp

[10] U.S. D.H.H.S., Bureau of the Census

[11] Center for Disease Control

[12] Criminal Justice & Behavior, Vol 14, p. 403-26, 1978.

[13] National Principals Association Report on the State of High Schools.

[14] Rainbows for all God’s Children.

[15] U.S. Dept. of Justice, Special Report, Sept 1988

[16] Fulton Co. Georgia jail populations, Texas Dept. of Corrections 1992

[17] The Case for Marriage, Pg 23

[18] The Case for Marriage, Pg 23

[19] Maggie Gallagher, Louisiana Law Review pg 790 “Normal Marriage is Normative,” meaning it teaches society about the ideal use and context for sex. ”

[20]Bill May, “Getting the Marriage Conversation Right” Emmaus Road Publishing

[21]“ But the unique, irreplaceable intimacy of the parent-child relationship manifests itself in powerful ways. For example, a child can miss the specific love and care of an absent biological parent, even when he is well-loved by adoptive parents.”

[22] Maggie Gallagher, The Abolition of Marriage 66

[23] Maggie Gallagher, “(How) Will Gay Marriage Weaken Marriage as a Social Institution: A reply to Andrew Koppelman,” University of St. Thomas Law Review vol. 2, number 1 (Fall 2004): 48.

[24] – Sara McLanahan, Growing up with a Single Parent: What Hurts, What Helps.