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11 Sept 2023

World Childless Week

World Childless Week 2023 will take place from 11th - 17th September 2023.

World Childless Week gives an annual voice to the childless community

Stephanie Joy Phillips, a British woman, founded World Childless Week in 2017 and it takes place on the third week of September each year. It’s an online global event to raise awareness and support the childless not by choice community. In its initial week in September 2017 #worldchildlessweek was tweeted 1.2 million times (Twitter analytics). Since 2021 World Childless Week has reached over 100 countries (Website Geography analytics).

World Childless Week 2023 will take place from 11th - 17th September. Each day will explore a different element of being childless. This year’s topics are: Our Stories, Childless Stepparent, A Letter to the Person who Hurt Me the Most, Childless in the Media, You’re So Lucky to not have Kids (comments that hurt), We Are Worthy and Moving Forwards.

Of the women who reached the age of 45 years in 2020, 18% were childless at the end of their childbearing years compared to 10% a generation before (Office for National Statistics). In addition, the ONS reports that for the first time, half of women (50%) born in 1990 (the most recent cohort to reach age 30 years) remained childless by their 30th birthday[i]. This is of particular significance as the median age of mother at first birth in the UK is 30[ii] and so predicts a growing number of women remaining permanently without children in the decades to come.

The 2021 World Childless Week survey revealed 76% of the childless community felt they lost their identity when they realised they would never be a parent.

Stephanie says: It saddens me that there is a need for World Childless Week, but the words and actions of a pronatalist world can reinforce our disenfranchised grief and heighten our sense of being worthless. I want to see a world of equity where the childless can hold their heads high instead of crawling away into the shadows. I hope World Childless Week highlights how the collective childless voice deserves (and needs) to be heard and acknowledged”.

Stephanie is supported by the World Childless Week Ambassadors who are all childless not by choice and share the same determination to grow the awareness week. The Ambassadors are based from across the world and represent diverse ethnicities, disabilities, genders and sexual orientation.

Jody Day, the Founder of Gateway Women, and an instigator of positive changes within the childless community, was one of the first World Childless Week Ambassadors. Jody says: "One of the many hidden difficulties of involuntary childlessness can be social isolation. World Childless Week, by bringing together so many different people and organisations amplifies our voices and efforts; in doing so, it makes it more likely that someone struggling in silent grief finally discovers that they're not alone. The lifesaving and life­‐changing power of connection cannot be underestimated."

[i] Office For National Statistics (2020). ‘Childbearing for women born in different years, England and Wales: 2020’.

[ii] (2022). ‘Average age of mothers at childbirth in England and Wales from 1938 to 2020, by child number.’

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