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Portugal

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

Portugal, roughly the size of Indiana, borders the North Atlantic Ocean in southwestern Europe, west of Spain. At 1.49 children per mother, Portugal has one of the world's lowest fertility rates. As women have increased educational attainment, many have chosen to postpone motherhood and have fewer children to balance family and work life. Mothers have 120 days of paid maternity leave and 30 days of family sick leave; paternity leave is 20 days. Grandparents often care for grandchildren. Teen pregnancy rates are above the average for the European Union. Of the 20 percent of marriages that end in divorce, Portuguese divorce law allows joint custody. A single parent heads 11.5 percent of families.

Many Portuguese believe that women fulfill themselves as mothers. Women are traditionally responsible ...

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