Born to be Mothers? Motherhood as Every Woman’s ‘Natural Calling’
Chapter 1 has discussed the central importance allocated to women’s reproductive function by theories of biologically-determined sex difference. The question of whether this indisputable physical difference between women and men indicates or indeed proves the existence of differences in character, aptitude and appropriate roles and behaviour remains a topic for heated public and private debate. Champions of equality and female emancipation, including many western feminists, have certainly disputed this premise. However, feminist thought in western Europe has long grappled with the issue of maternity and its impact on women, their consciousness, their position in society or roles within the family without being able to reach a general consensus (Oakley, 1985, pp. 131–7; Segal, 1987, pp. 157–61; Strathern, 1996, pp. 47–54; Wolf, 1993, pp. 235–7). Thus, the idea that women’s ‘specialness’ derives largely from their ability to bear children is not unique to Russian society.
KeywordsFamily Planning Child Care Parental Leave Russian Society Fall Birth Rate
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