Property expert, presenter and home-making mum Kirstie Allsopp, 42, has joined the fertility debate with her latest advice for young women – to skip university and have babies before embarking on a career.
The outspoken TV personality, known for her partnership with Phil Spencer on the Channel 4 show Location, Location, Location, revealed her controversial views in a recent interview with The Telegraph.
A self-claimed ‘passionate feminist’, Kirstie believes women are not fully aware that fertility ‘falls off a cliff when you’re 35’ and has herself seen the pain friends have gone through trying to have a child.
‘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,’ she 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.”’
Kirstie, who has two sons with partner Ben Anderson, as well as being step-mum to his two children from a previous marriage, says that this may sound ‘wholly unrealistic’, but maintains that we have to ‘readjust’.
If everyone started having children when they were 20, they’d be free as a bird by the time they were 45
‘And men can have fun after they have kids. If everyone started having children when they were 20, they’d be free as a bird by the time they were 45. But how many 45-year-olds do you know who are bogged down?’
‘I don’t want the next generation of women to go through the heartache that my generation has. 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!,’ she added.
Her comments have caused a wave of criticism on Twitter and following the publication of the interview Kirstie tweeted,
Many, many women don't want kids, but for those that do it's a tricky balance, I am a passionate feminist, but I'm not sure nature is.
Should we be prioritising babies over careers? Or should it always be down to individual choice and circumstance?