chapter  2
19 Pages

A Matter of Free Choice? Some Structural and Cultural Influences on the Decision to Have or Not to Have Children in Norway

WithMalin Noem Ravn

This chapter explains structural and cultural influences on the decision to have or not to have children in Norway. It explains how individual women balance the relational and individualistic two value-systems in making choices about whether to have children, when to have children and how many children to have. This choice is both grounded in my own research material, and in the fact that reproductive choices, in a Norway that takes pride in its equal rights politics, still influence women's lives the most. The chapter describes the women’s position and the structural context of pregnancy and family life in Norway and balance of relational and individualistic values. The main aim of gender equity politics in Norway is to ensure that men and women have equal opportunities, rights and duties within all areas of society. The possibility to choose when to have children emerges as an opportunity to balance the “individualistic” and the “relational” value systems.