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Chile

  • By: Keri L. Heitner
  • In: Encyclopedia of Motherhood
  • Edited by: Andrea O'Reilly
  • Subject:Sociology of Gender, Parenting, Maternal Health

The Republic of Chile has one of the lowest birthrates in South America; contraceptive use is high. Prenatal care is available at public hospitals and private clinics, and mothers are eligible for maternity benefits and breastfeeding breaks. Divorce was illegal until 2004 and remains rare, but marriage rates are decreasing and traditional gender roles are changing. The Catholic Church has influenced opposition to divorce and abortion. Thirty-six percent of Chileans complete secondary school. Women's involvement in formal employment increased during and continued after the Pinochet era.

The gopulation growth in Chile has been stable since the 1970s. Chilean women have an average of 1.95 children, compared to 5.3 in 1960. The low birthrate is attributed to increasing prosperity and urbanization. Maternity leave is available six weeks ...

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