Chinese government looks to push for two children

Angela Jiang is a 27-year-old Beijing woman who gave birth to her son Gallant a year and a half ago.

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He is her first child and probably her last.

The 27-year-old television hostess says she is eager to get back to work.

“I’m very anxious about my career now. I think it’s not a good thing for a hostess to get pregnant and get a baby. It has many, many influences for the career.”

The Beijing’s Women’s Network’s Amy Zhao says many young women are choosing a career over traditional roles.

“Women’s attitude in life changes. They have more personal pursuits, right? Pursuit of a better and quality life. So, that means you need to have some time on your own, right? For your own growth and your own dreams.”

But it is not necessarily that easy.

Like many women around the world, many Chinese women face discrimination in the workplace and are struggling with the rising cost of living.

Amy Zhao says that is the biggest concern.

“The top reason why women are reluctant to have a second child is because of the economic burden.”

To combat that, leaders attending China’s National People’s Congress have been asked to consider financial incentives for women who have a second child.

By 2030, China is set to have the oldest population on Earth, with more than 400 million people over age 60.

The end of the one child policy led to an 11 per cent jump in births, but that is not enough to sustain China’s working population over the next few decades.

LGBTI groups say encouraging single women to have children would help boost the population – unmarried women who give birth currently face fines, and public services are restricted.

Li Zishu, at Beijing’s Health and Gender Institute, says such a move would represent real freedom.

“Based on current laws, assisted reproductive technologies can be only used by married couples. The policy fails to recognise the reproductive needs of single women. If a woman can decide for herself whether or when to have a child, rather than her family or the country telling her, this would be real reproductive freedom.”

Angela Jiang says she and her husband appreciate the option of having a bigger family.

But she says she hopes her son will grow up to understand what she learnt as an only child, that less can be more.