working motherResearchers now think there is an association between a woman’s employment status and the age at which she has her first child. A woman who works at temporary jobs is less likely to have her first child by the age of 35, according to a new study. The research also shows that the longer a woman works in temporary positions, the more likely she is to be childless at 35.

Co-author of the study Dr. Lynne Giles, from the University of Adelaide in Australia, says she and her associates wanted to find out if casual employment is an important precursor to having children at an older age. Currently, many sociologists believe that women with a college education put off motherhood while they advance their careers – this research may turn that theory on its head.

Giles and her team used information from the Life Journeys of Young Women Project, gathered from 663 women born in Adelaide Australia between the years of 1973 and 1975. Researchers interviewed the women between 2007 and 2009, when the women were aged 32 to 35, and asked the women a variety of questions about major events in their lives. The researchers gathered information regarding the women’s relationships, employment, and childbirth from the age of 15.

At the time of that interview, 64 percent of the women had already given birth to at least one child. Most of the women held permanent positions; about 11 percent worked in temporary jobs. When the researchers reviewed the information, they saw that women who spent one year in a temporary position had an 8 percent reduction in the likelihood of a first child by age 35. Spending another three years in temporary work reduces this likelihood to 23 percent. After five years of temporary work, a woman is 35 percent less likely to have a baby by the time she is 35.

About 61 percent of the participants who had a college education held at least one temporary job after graduation. Dr Giles says the results challenge current thinking that highly educated women are more likely to delay motherhood to further their careers.

Source: Press Release: Casual Employment is Lined to Women Being Childless by the Age of 35. EurekAlert. 19 Nov 2013. Web. Retrieved 25 Nov 2013.