Kate Silverton
Kate Silverton

'Women should think twice about careers before children'

KATE Silverton doubts whether or not we should encourage women to have children later on in life while they focus on their careers.

The BBC newsreader says that we should consider women's biological clocks before making a decision on the issue.

Silverton had her two young children in her early Forties, giving birth to her second child, Wilbur, five months ago, aged 43.

She says that having children later in life meant that she was able to concentrate on her career in her Thirties, so now she is "able to step back and fit work around my children".

"I know not everyone has that luxury - in the future we might look back on that and think it was terribly sad," she told The Evening Standard.  "I'm not sure we got it right."

Silverton said that debate around the subject was necessary "as otherwise we will be encouraging lots of older mums".

"A lot of women I know are having huge difficulty trying to conceive and many are losing out by virtue of the fact that they can't see beyond their career, yet when they do come to a point where they are ready to start a family it is potentially too late," she said.

The journalist brings her children to work, which she believes helps maintain both her work and family life.

"I probably create a load of havoc in my wake bringing my children to work but if you are calm the baby is calm - it can be done," she said. "It challenges this perception that children should not be seen."

Mumsnet CEO Justine Roberts said that "it's not a surprise that parents are getting older", as people gain a greater awareness of the time and financial commitments involved with having children.

"It's getting harder and harder to get on the property ladder and many women in particular are conscious of the sideways effect having children can have on their careers," she said. "And then there's the small matter of finding the right partner.

"As Kate Silverton rightly says, combining a career with young children presents real challenges, whatever age you are.

"We'd like to see employers embracing the caring responsibilities of all their staff: fathers as well as mothers; those caring for elderly parents or family members with additional needs, as well as those looking after young children.

"The day when mothers are no longer thought of as uniquely family-oriented will be the day that women can start to plan their families without worrying that it will ruin their career."

Silverman's comments follow those of Kirstie Allsopp, who attracted criticism for arguing that young women should put off university and have children in their mid-twenties instead.

"Women are being let down by the system," she said in June. "We should speak honestly and frankly about fertility and the fact it falls off a cliff when you're 35.

"We should talk openly about university and whether going when you're young, when we live so much longer, is really the way forward."

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