Jump to Main ContentJump to Primary Navigation
Top

"Nature is not a feminist": Kirstie Allsopp defends fertility comments on Newsnight

untitled-1.jpg
untitled-2.jpg
untitled-3.jpg

Kirstie Allsopp has appeared on BBC's Newsnight to defend her comments about women needing to have babies before going to university, in a heated debate with Vagenda magazine co-founder Holly Baxter.

The Location, Location, Location presenter, 42, came under fire after she called for women to put off higher education in order to save for a deposit and "have a baby by the time you’re 27", in an interview with the Telegraph this weekend.

Allsopp stood by her remarks on last night's edition of Newsnight , after Baxter branded her viewpoint "depressing" in a discussion chaired by Jeremy Paxman.

"I want all the things you want," she told Baxter, after Baxter said having a career and children should not be mutually exclusive.

"But nature is not with you and I. Nature is not a feminist.

"By all means go to university, have a career, do what makes you happy - travel, write - but be aware of the fertility window and make your choices in an informed way."

She added that young women who know they want to have children "should look at the choices in front of them and ask themselves, 'Should I re-order this choices in order to reflect that the only window closing is my fertility window?'"

Vagenda's Holly Baxter

But journalist Baxter countered: "What I find is that women are constantly reminded in the media about their fertility, about their biological clock ticking, about how they should between having a career and children."

She noted that the question of fertility should also involve men, and that their choices should be equally affected by the desire to have children or otherwise.

Allsopp agreed, "That's why [the reaction to her interview] has particularly enraged me. Because I've been condemned for saying it, but people haven't read the whole interview.

"I said in that interview that if I had a son aged 26 in a loving relationship I would say to him, address the topic of what you both want for your future.

"It is important that men understand about the fertility window just the same as women."

She said she wanted women to avoid the "heartbreak of infertility."

Allsopp also revealed her own quest to have children, saying she was "very lucky" to find the right man (partner Ben Andersen) aged 32 and went onto have two sons with him - although she was ready to have children long before that.

"I was desperate for children at a very early age but no-one would have them with me," she added.

In her original interview with the Telegraph, Allsopp said: "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.

"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.

"There is a huge inequality, which is that women have this time pressure that men don’t have."

Should women really put off higher education in order to have children earlier?

Stylist spoke exclusively to Jean Twenge, author of The Impatient Woman's Guide to Getting Pregnant, for her take on Allsopp's comments and the debate around fertility.

"Having children young works for some women - but has its own challenges," Twenge told us.

"For most women who want a career, or just want to make enough money to be solidly middle class, skipping university and having children very young is not a smart strategy.

"One study found that every year women postpone having children leads to a 10 percent increase in earnings. It's difficult to go to university and build a career even when children are in school, and most employers are not eager to hire a 50-year-old woman (or even a 40-year-old woman) just starting out.

"Studies on modern women show that fertility remains at a reasonable level through one's late 30s, so starting a family around 35 works very well, and allows women to go to university and establish a career before they have children. It's then easier to afford a nanny or day care, and thus easier to continue one's career.

"The statistic saying that 1 out of 3 women will not get pregnant in a year after 35 comes from 500-year-old birth records. More recent studies find that more than 80% of women ages 35 to 39 will get pregnant within a year. And if they don't, success rates after fertility treatment are very good in this age group. Where women run into trouble -- either trying to conceive naturally or through fertility treatment -- is when they wait until 40 and later.

"That's when the fertility decline becomes considerable, and by 45 most women cannot get pregnant anymore."

Did you choose to have a baby before pursuing your career? Have you chosen to wait? Or do you still find yourself struggling to know the right time to have a child? Tell us about your experiences at stories@stylist.co.uk

Related

rexfeatures-3748236bd.jpg

Mindy Kaling: 'calling me chubby cannot hurt me in the way it does millions of women'

untitled-3.jpg

Website which calculates your 'Nigerian wife value' sparks anger

rexfeatures-3766113p-1-.jpg

Angelina Jolie confirms Cleopatra role and hints it may be her last film performance

celeb-hero.jpg

The best A-list Instagram pics of the week

dishoom gluten free menu london restaurant uk.jpg

The best and coolest gluten-free restaurants, cafes and bakeries in the UK

hero.jpg

This summer's best beach books and holiday reads

Comments

More

People share messages of defiance after Manchester terror attack

“Don't be afraid. Dance until you're dizzy”

by Sarah Biddlecombe
23 May 2017

The Royal Family thank people of Manchester following terror attack

“I would like to express my admiration for the way the people of Manchester have responded”

by Amy Swales
23 May 2017

Theresa May responds to Manchester terror attack

“Britain's spirit will never be broken”

by Sarah Biddlecombe
23 May 2017

“We stand by your side”: the world responds to the Manchester attack

“We can do little more, but we are here. Solidarity has no frontiers.“

by Kayleigh Dray
23 May 2017

Pippa Middleton’s wedding: all the pictures

The gown, the guests, the royal bridal party

21 May 2017

Gal Gadot explains why the new Wonder Woman is a feminist film

"People have a misconception about what feminism is"

by Moya Crockett
19 May 2017

Robin Wright is still receiving less pay for House of Cards role

She believed she was awarded the same pay as Kevin Spacey in 2016

by Jasmine Andersson
18 May 2017

“How renting out my spare room changed my life”

Four women reveal the transformative experiences they had through Airbnb

by Amy Swales
18 May 2017

Jennifer Lawrence has the best response to leaked pole dancing video

“I'm not going to apologise, I had a BLAST"

by Sarah Biddlecombe
18 May 2017

Solange Knowles writes powerful open letter to her teenage self

The star has a few words to say on the power of the female

18 May 2017