Location, Location, Location television presenter Kirstie Allsopp has advised girls to hold-off going to university in favour of having children and buying a property first.
The British television star opened up about the controversial way she feels women should live the first half of their lives after seeing "great pain" among friends who have struggled to have a child later in life.
"Women are being let down by the system," said Allsopp, 42, in an interview with The Telegraph. "We should speak honestly and frankly about fertility and the fact it falls off a cliff when you’re 35. We should talk openly about university and whether going when you’re young, when we live so much longer, is really the way forward".
Allsop continued: "At the moment, women have 15 years to go to university, get their career on track, try and buy a home and have a baby. That is a hell of a lot to ask someone. As a passionate feminist, I feel we have not been honest enough with women about this issue."
The television presenter, who has two sons, aged five and seven, with her partner, the property developer Ben Andersen, said "I don’t have a girl, but if I did I’d be saying 'Darling, do you know what? Don’t go to university. Start work straight after school, stay at home, save up your deposit – I’ll help you, let’s get you into a flat. And then we can find you a nice boyfriend and you can have a baby by the time you’re 27.
"That might sound wholly unrealistic. But we have all this time at the end. You can do your career afterwards. We have to readjust."
"There is a huge inequality, which is that women have this time pressure that men don’t have."
"I think if you’re a man of 25 and you’re with a woman of 25, and you really love her, then you have a responsibility to say: 'Let’s do it now.’ I was lucky with Ben that he absolutely wanted more children immediately and he was very committed to that. But men need to know, men need to be taught in school that there is a responsibility, that if you love someone, decide if you want to have a child with that person or not."
Allsopp didn't go to university and started her first job working with interior designer, Nicky Haslam. She bought her first flat when she was 21 and in 1996, she set up a property search company, Kirmir, with her good friend Miranda Brankin-Frisby. A few years later she was asked to take a screen test for a new property show, Location, Location, Location.
"I don’t want the next generation of women to go through the heartache that my generation has," continued Allsopp. "At the moment we are changing the natural order of things, with grandparents being much older and everyone squeezed in the middle. Don’t think 'my youth should be longer’. Don’t go to university because it’s an 'experience’. No, it’s where you’re supposed to learn something! Do it when you’re 50!"
Do you agree with Kirstie Allsopp's view on building a family before a career? Tell us why in the comments below or on Twitter via @StylistMagazine.