By JAMILA RIZVI
A new study has apparently shown that intelligent women are less likely to want children.
And as a woman with no children but who hopes to have children in the future, this leaves me extremely concerned about my limited brain capacity.
So let me tell you about the detail of these findings before my pesky uterus dilutes my mental capabilities even further.
According to London School of Economics researcher, Satoshi Kanazawa, a woman’s desire to have children decreases by 25 per cent for every additional 15 IQ points. Kanazawa also cites further studies to back up his findings. This includes a study that shows one in five 45-year-old women are childless but that the proportion doubles for women of the same age who hold a bachelors degree or higher.
Cue: everyone run to the Internet to freak the hell out.
About 50 per cent of the angry online mob angrily began throwing around angry phrases like this:
How dare he! Mothers aren’t stupid. Just because I’ve had a child, it doesn’t mean I’ve given up my mind! My daughter is almost nine and everyone says she gets her brains from me! My IQ is at least 10 billion and I have THREE KIDS!
The commentary of the remaining 50 per cent went a little something like this: It’s Darwinism in reverse! We’re breeding out the brains! These barren women are just selfish! If intelligent women refuse to procreate, the world will be robbed of the much anticipated genius children of the future! Lisa Simpson will NEVER be a reality! Sob. Sob. Etc.
(Meanwhile, MM publisher Mia Freedman, asked to discuss the findings on Mornings today shrugged and said “well, I have three kids and would love to have more – clearly I’m a moron”)
And I have to confess to being a part of the push-back. I immediately began pounding on my keyboard, listing reasons why the study was bogus…
1. There isn’t just one kind of intelligence. IQ tells you nothing about someone’s determination, dedication, empathy, emotional insight, creativity or ability to lead.
2. Surely this is more about educational attainment than intelligence? The link between women’s access to education and the number of children they have has long been established.
3. It’s insulting to presume that having no children is always a deliberate choice, when for many women it’s simply a heartbreaking reality.
But before I continue, let’s take a moment’s pause and ask Caitlin Moran’s trademark question when diagnosing sexism: Are the men doing it?
Is anyone studying links between men’s IQ and their desire to have kids?
The answer is no.
There are no researchers* seeking to answer the question of whether intelligent men have lots of children. Or whether dads who rise to the upper echelons of achievement in their respective industries are more or less likely to have kids under 10. Nobody has conducted a study that links the cluckiness of blokes with their levels of educational attainment, independent wealth or IQ.