Why do we judge those who choose not to have children?

There is still a stigma surround men and women who make the choice

A new study shows that when people think married couples who choose not to have children are doing something wrong.

Published by psychology professor Leslie Ashburn-Nardo in the March 2017 issue of the journal Sex Roles, the research shows that child-free couples continue to face stigmatisation.

On Newstalk Breakfast, director of upcoming film 'To Kid or Not To Kid', Maxine Trump said that there are many misconceptions - particularly surrounding women - who choose to not have children.

"Quite often, women are made to feel that they are maybe slightly harder, career-focused and insensitive," she said "We all seem to get labelled with the same brush."

Trump explained that women have come up through the ages seeing each other "have it all" in the context of having children and a career simultaneously. But now, more and more women are recognising that they have a choice when it comes to having a family.

"It comes from this historical notion that women are baby makers. And still, tonnes of women are, and should be and it's absolutely brilliant [...] It's really all about choices."

Traditionally, men went out to work while the women were in charge of the household. While that worked during a certain era, Trump argued that women have just as much to offer to the workplace as they do to home life.

But what about men?

During her interviews, Trump found that some of the men she spoke to, who chose not to have children, were never grilled about it when they disclosed it to friends or colleagues. 

Others, however, experienced questioning in the workplace, with some even saying they've lost friends after admitting to their workmates that they don't have kids, and never will.

"There's still a stigma of 'well, why? Why don't you want kids?'" [...] People still feel they have to be very softly-softly about it and not upset anybody."

Child-free does not mean fulfillment-free

Trump puts the declining number of women having children down to people actively choosing not to have children, as opposed to women leaving it too late.

"By making that choice and making it so important, [it] elevates both roles," she said.