Positioning of Childlessness: Reflections of Reproductive Age and Older Women

  • Lina Šumskaitė
  • Gražina Rapolienė
  • Margarita Gedvilaitė-Kordušienė
Keywords: childlessness, positioning theory, women of reproductive age, older women


This paper focuses on childless women reflections of their current status. During the qualitative research (2017–2018), 44 interviews have been completed with 28–71 year old women without children. Based on the positioning theory (Harré et al. 2009; Allen, Wiles 2013), the paper reveals how childlessness is being positioned on different levels: personal, interpersonal and cultural. The individualistic values – freedom from the burden, taking care of oneself, recognizing responsibility to raise children – were revealed on the personal level. On the interpersonal level, women of reproductive age expressed positions that were agreed upon with their partners or stated how difficult it is to reach the agreement. Meanwhile, the narratives of women from older generations reveal inert life scenarios. The cultural norms to have children in marriage had a strong influence on both women groups, who were in their reproductive age and who have finished their reproductive career.