Ageing Without Children

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AWOC statement in response to Andrea Leadsom’s comments

We find Andrea Leadsom’s comments insulting and divisive

Kirsty Woodard, Founder of AWOC said “We are incredibly saddened and disappointed by Andrea Leadsom’s comments which imply that not being a mother means that her rival candidate Theresa May does not have ‘a very real stake in the future of our country'”.

“People who are not parents work, pay taxes, help in their community, have nephews and nieces, younger friends and work colleagues. They care about the interests of this country just as much as parents and to suggest that people without children, 20% of our population, have no stake in the future of the country is insulting and plain wrong. It also pits parents against non-parents in a way that is deeply divisive and unhelpful. Andrea Leadsom appears to be implying that if you’re not a mother you don’t matter and is reinforcing the view that not having children is a woman’s issue when we know it’s something that affects men too”

“‘Ageing Without Children’ recently carried out research (summary attached) into the views and experiences of people over 50 without children. One of the key issues to come out was how they felt invisible but also judged because they did not have children, in many cases not through choice”

“It’s not the first time this issue has been raised in an election campaign. It happened to Liz Kendall in the Labour leadership campaign and both Nicola Sturgeon and Alex Salmond faced criticism that they were not fit to hold office as not being parents meant they didn’t care about the future”

“1 in 5 people over the age of 50 in the UK do not have children and it’s likely that within 10 years that will become 1 in 4. By 2030, 2 million people will be over 65 without children”

“I hope this regrettable incident will help act as a springboard to highlight the issues affecting people ageing without children and help bring about a proactive discussion on how we as a society address the important issue of how we will support people who are growing old without children”

Notes for editors

About AWOC

1 in 5 people over 50 don’t have children and by 2030, there will be 2 million people over 65 without children.

Ageing without Children aims to help people ageing without children live a later life free of the free fear of ageing alone and being without support.

We want to

  • Set up local groups where people ageing without children can meet together to get support
  • Ensure that people ageing without children admitted to hospital or residential care have someone to speak up for them if they need it or are unable to do so themselves
  • Work with other organisations, the NHS and local government to ensure that people ageing without children are not forgotten or ignored when services for older people are being discussed and planned

With no funding and working entirely unpaid

  • Set up this website which has received more than 50,000 views
  • Held a national conference – the first mainstream one on the issue
  • Surveyed 400 people ageing without children on their hopes and fears for their later life
  • Appeared on BBC Breakfast, Woman’s Hour and in the Guardian, The Times and Sunday Express
  • Established 4 local AWOC groups in Leeds York Stockport and London

We go all over the UK talking about AWOC to other organisations as well as people ageing without children. No one working for AWOC is paid and we receive no grant funding from government bodies or charitable trusts. The only income we have is from donations

Donations will help cover volunteer expenses for things like

  • Travel costs
  • Room hire for meetings
  • Postage
  • Phone calls
  • Printing

To donate, click here

Watch AWOC Founders Kirsty, Jody and Robin talking on the BBC

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