Reproductive Health - University of Houston
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About Our Research

Women’s active role in bearing and rearing children and in doing associated care work for all household members reproduces society (literally) and shapes workforce, but it has long excluded them from access to civic voice and to funds of their own with which to influence policy. Women’s recent ability to control when and whether they will have children is an almost evolutionary change (by external means), and it has allowed women in the past 30+ years to begin to participate in the workforce and in civic life in significant numbers for the first time in Western history—moving us toward fully representative democracy and bringing women’s voices to policy tables in business and government.

Such big change has many ripple effects and threatens to upend the status quo in many dimensions. Recent efforts to deny women access to reliable birth control (including both abortion—passed almost entirely with the votes of male legislators—and in some discussions contraception as well) seem aimed at returning us to patriarchal societal models in which women have little or no voice. But many women (and their allies) do have clout now, and the next few years will show us whether they are able to use it to defend their continued climb toward equal representation and full rights as citizens.

Analyzing fertility dynamics is key to understanding the current moment. These dynamics affect current and future workforce dynamics, care infrastructure, wage equity, domestic violence rates (often linked to women’s low wages and their unwillingness to risk homelessness for their children), and much more.

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