How would women have more babies?

March 08, 2023 11:02
Photo: Reuters

Salute to all women, especially mothers!

Today is a day to remember their reproductive rights, especially in a kid-unfriendly city like Hong Kong.

Thanks to the Hong Kong Federation of Trade Unions, we get to know nearly three-quarters of local women do not want to have babies, a record high. Specifically, half of them do not want kids in the next five years.

If this is true, this will pose a serious threat to the economic prosperity of Hong Kong and probably open doors for more immigrants.

Among the top three reasons for no baby are namely: advanced maternal age, heavy economic burden and the responsibility of educating and nurturing the children.

Perhaps there is a root course for all these reasons. Due to the unaffordable home price, people tend to get married late. Even if they get married, they could only afford a small home.

If they want babies, they need a bigger space for the kids (and the maid as well). One can imagine the burden of kids could only be heavier as time goes by.

Adding to the unfavourable formula is that husbands may not be willing to share the family duties.

All these can probably explain why only 32,500 babies were born in Hong Kong last year.

As such, women called for an upgrade in the birth policy. On their wish list are childcare support and more family-friendly policies, not the least of which are pupil stipends and even housing priority for families with kids.
That would be the price the government must pay to incentivize women to perform their natural duty these days.

To go even further, the SAR government should set up a special committee to map out the best baby strategy and launch public campaigns.

Perhaps they could learn from the successful birth-control campaign of the Family Planning Association of “Two is enough” in the 1970s but turn it the other way around.

To be fair, “Women do not want kids” is not unique to Hong Kong. The low birth rate also applies to China. In fact, there were just 6.77 births per 1,000 people in China in 2022, the lowest birth date on record, down from 7.52 births in 2021. That is why the “one-child policy” no longer exists.

Let’s generate more discussions and suggestions to please our women to make babies because they need more incentives.

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EJ Insight writer