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The More Women Work, The More Babies They Have, New French Study Says

Overall birth rates have risen in the developing world, a sign that working women are better able to balance work and family. Indeed, the countries with the most working women have higher fertility rates.

A French mother and her newborn
A French mother and her newborn

Worldcrunch *NEWSBITES

Confounding the idea that women must choose between career and family, a new French study has found that the more women work, the more babies they have.

The latest study by the French demographic institute Ined shows an overall increase in the fertility rate in the developed countries that make up the OECD (Organization for Economic Cooperation and Development), with specific evidence that increased female professional activity has helped spur the current mini baby boom.

While working women have less time to take care of a child, they earn enough money to afford the extra costs usually linked to having a baby. The scenario is particularly evident in Scandinavian countries and in France, where the fertility rate is among the highest of the OECD (French women currently have an average of 2.1 children) and which have good child-care facilities and government policies that allow working parents take time off when babies are born.

"In most of the richest countries, the rebound of the fertility rate is linked to a higher employment rate of women," write the study's authors, Angela Luci and Olivier Thévenon. "The possibility for women to be able to reconcile work and family appears to be a key factor" in the rising birth rates.

In Germany, though parental leave policy has been reformulated, the child-care system has not kept pace, which could explain the country's low birth rate (1.4 per woman).

The last key element, however, where progress is lacking is on the share of household chores, historically a detriment to women's progress. According to France's national statistics office, women still spend three and a half hours a day doing housework.

The researchers note that the overall birthrate in OECD countries has risen from 1.69 children per women in 1995 to 1.71 in 2008, with the largest increase in Spain, France, Belgium, Britain and Ireland, all among the more wealthy developed countries. In itself, this rising rate undermines the widely accepted notion that rising wealth leads to a lower birth rate.

Read the full article in French by Marie Bellan

Photo - Worldcrunch

*Newsbites are digest items, not direct translations.

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Shame On The García Márquez Heirs — Cashing In On The "Scraps" Of A Legend

A decision to publish a sketchy manuscript as a posthumous novel by the late Gabriel García Márquez would have horrified Colombia's Nobel laureate, given his painstaking devotion to the precision of the written word.

Photo of a window with a sticker of the face of Gabriel Garcia Marquez with butterfly notes at Guadalajara's International Book Fair.

Poster of Gabriel Garcia Marquez at Guadalajara's International Book Fair.

Juan David Torres Duarte


BOGOTÁ — When a writer dies, there are several ways of administering the literary estate, depending on the ambitions of the heirs. One is to exercise a millimetric check on any use or edition of the author's works, in the manner of James Joyce's nephew, Stephen, who inherited his literary rights. He refused to let even academic papers quote from Joyce's landmark novel, Ulysses.

Or, you continue to publish the works, making small additions to their corpus, as with Italo Calvino, Samuel Beckett and Clarice Lispector, or none at all, which will probably happen with Milan Kundera and Cormac McCarthy.

Another way is to seek out every scrap of paper the author left and every little word that was jotted down — on a piece of cloth, say — and drip-feed them to publishers every two to three years with great pomp and publicity, to revive the writer's renown.

This has happened with the Argentine Julio Cortázar (who seems to have sold more books dead than alive), the French author Albert Camus (now with 200 volumes of personal and unfinished works) and with the Chilean author Roberto Bolaño. The latter's posthumous oeuvre is so abundant I am starting to wonder if his heirs haven't hired a ghost writer — typing and smoking away in some bedsit in Barcelona — to churn out "newly discovered" works.

Which group, I wonder, will our late, great novelist Gabriel García Márquez fit into?

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