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Accepted Paper:

The right to childlessness. Society’s approach to childfree people in contemporary Lithuania  
Nijolė Vailionytė (Vytautas Magnus University)

Paper short abstract:

The decreasing childbirth rate in Lithuania has become the object of discussions not only among scientists, but also in media. The report aims to disclose Lithuanian society’s approach to childfree people.

Paper long abstract:

The term “childlessness” can be understood differently: as a voluntary choice not to have children (being childfree), as a state determined by biological reasons (infertility) or as socially determined non voluntary childlessness. Very often the boundary between voluntary and non voluntary childlessness is difficult to grope, e. g., postponed parenthood with time may become non voluntary. However, the investigation of society’s approach and dominating stereotypes reveals the clear difference between voluntary and non voluntary childlessness. The latter kind, also, infertility, are viewed as unnatural, however, unwillingness to have children has become a taboo topic and could be treated as extremely unacceptable (Fjell 2005). Individuals, especially women, who have voluntarily chosen not to have children, are often stigmatized and questioned (Gillespie 2000).

The report aims to disclose Lithuanian society’s approach to childfree people and its change relying on the media content analysis and the data of the empirical research conducted by the author. The tasks to be performed are as follows: 1) to analyze articles concerning the topic of childlessness published on three web portals in 2020 – 2022; 2) to investigate the scale to which society’s attitude manifests itself and changes in the lives of childless women belonging to different generations – the investigation relies on exhaustive interviews conducted by the author during the field research in three Lithuanian cities in 2020 – 2022. The methods of content analysis, also, ethnographic and comparative methods have been used.

Panel Narr01
Family as a safe haven? Families in social practice and narratives in times of crises
  Session 1 Saturday 10 June, 2023, -