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What is Pronatalism – the podcast

Cody Peluso Jan 13, 2023

What is pronatalism?

Pronatalism is the policy or practice of encouraging the bearing of children, especially government support of a higher birthrate. Many who push pronatalism fear that falling birth rates in certain developed countries, like the United States and most of Europe, will lead to the extinction of cultures, the breakdown of economies, and, ultimately, the collapse of civilization. Many who believe in pronatalism simply don’t want people to have control over their own bodies. Some who believe in pronatalism simply want more children, so there are more consumers.

Many societies are characterized by pronatalism—a cultural value that promotes having children. Many parts of society are characterized by pronatalism. The tech world has recently shown signs of promoting pronatalism. Religion definitely promotes pronatalism. The patriarchy has promoted and enforced pronatalism. Political movements and public policy decisions have been based on pronatalism throughout history and in modern times.

where does pronatalism come from? (everywhere!)

You may have also noticed a pronatalist movement in the tech world. Surprisingly, or not, what is good for Elon Musk isn’t good for his employees. Elon Musk just cut fertility coverage for Twitter employees. The truth is, pronatalism is everywhere, and it pressures women and child-bearing people from multiple points within a society. Natalism (or pronatalism) is a political ideology which promotes the reproduction of human life or, perhaps more aptly, sees women’s primary role as giving birth in order to boost a country’s native population. Some people, predominantly men, want women to be baby making machines.  There is also no coincidence that as governments, institutions, businesses and others start talking about the need to address low fertility rates, the attack on women’s bodily autonomy increases.

In this podcast with Nandita Bajaj, Executive Director of Population Balance, we uncover:  

Questions about pronatalism

Asking important questions like “what is pronatalism” and “how does pronatalism manifest in our everyday lives” is a start. Another important question: “what is women’s role in society?” Pronatalism has a very specific definition of a woman’s role: to produce children. The effects of pronatalism are deadly serious and the weaponization of women’s fertility isn’t something that only happens in dystopian novels. Women’s fertility is being weaponized across the world, right now. In one popular novel, women are stripped of their rights and forced to live out their lives in service of a patriarchal society where their productivity is measured by their ability to bear children. What makes this so scary is this doesn’t sound like a story someone wrote. It sounds like a society we live in where pronatalism rules. In this episode of Population 8 Billion, our limited series podcast, Nandita uses her expertise, perspective, and years of advocacy to discuss what pronatalism is, how pronatalism effects you, and what you can do about pronatalism.

Pronatalist arguments abound, including ones like this: “Birth rates are falling precipitously around the world in both developed and developing countries. If dramatic action is not taken, we will witness the extinction of entire societies, expansion of totalitarian governments, and an unchecked rise of tribalism.” Pronatalists claim economies will collapse. Genocide will commence. Entire races, and countries, will be wiped out, because of lower fertility rates. This is what women are up against. This is what pronatalism wants you to believe.


Nandita Bajaj is the Executive Director of Population Balance, where she also co-hosts The Overpopulation Podcast. Population Balance offers education and solutions to address the intersectional impacts of human overpopulation and overconsumption on the planet, people, and animals. Listen Now
“Having children can be one of the most beautiful things in life. However, when people are being forced into making a choice that they haven’t had time to think about deeply, it can also cause a lot of suffering for people and the planet,”
– Nandita Bajaj, Executive Director of Population Balance

Pronatalism causes suffering. Pronatalism causes overpopulation. Pronatalism is unfair, outdated, and unsustainable in a world of 8 billion people. If you want to learn how pronatalism effects overpopulation, check out the podcast episode about pronatalism.

How Does Pronatalism Effect Overpopulation?

Pronatalism effects overpopulation in drastic, yet simple ways. Most notable, by forcing, or expecting people to have more children than they want. Pronatalism effects overpopulation by telling people, by telling women and girls, they should have babies even when they don’t want to. That having a child is necessary to be female, worthy, or admirable. Pronatalism is a major component driving overpopulation all across the world.

What is the Cause of Pronatalism?

Patriarchy. Religion. Politics. Capitalism. The causes of pronatalism are littered throughout society. Many people connect population dynamics with power, and that search for power – or fear that a position of power might be forfeit if a particular population declines – motivates a singular view of a woman’s value and a desire to control fertility. Listen to the podcast to learn more about the causes of pronatalism and how they are made manifest all around us every day.


“Your biological clock is ticking! Women have always had babies, what’s wrong with you? Without a son, you are nothing. Why stop after the first child, have another one!” If any of this sounds familiar to you, it’s no surprise. The pressure to have children – sometimes many of them – is everywhere you look. Well-meant advice from parents, the glorification of parenthood in the media, government incentives to alleviate aging populations, and religious encouragement to bring back good old family values, you name it. But what seems at first glance a mosaic of haphazard messages is, in fact, a part of an oppressive social norm called pronatalism.