The social and economic change that has occurred in Ireland over the past four decades has fundamentally altered the context in which women mother. Traditional structures of gender inequality have been challenged and women have acquired a range of rights in relation to fertility control, divorce, labor market access, and welfare provision. However, women receive limited support in their mothering roles, and choice around mothering remains unequally distributed between women.

The average age at which women give birth to their first child has risen steadily over the past 25 years, increasing from 24.9 years in 1980 to 28.8 years in 2007. Fertility rates, which were in decline since 1960, began to increase again in 2002. The total fertility rate, which reflects the projected number of children ...

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