A couple of weeks ago the media was awash with comment on the soon-to-be published results of a study by the US Center for Work-Life Policy: namely that nearly half of Generation X women - those between the ages of 33 and 46 - don't have children.
Now, I'm not one for putting people in boxes, but I am interested in social trends. We can't assume that these women are despairing Miss Havisham types, ruing the lack of children (and/or husband) in their lives. We also can't assume (as some of the Sunday papers seem to!) that they're thrusting career women, existing in a heady whirl of wine bars, fine dining and romantic mini-breaks in country hotels.
Surely there are significant numbers of us who live our lives somewhere in the middle (a quick calculation based on ONS statistics suggests around 850,000). So what's our charitable giving profile?
- We're perhaps a little less exhausted, with a little more disposable income, than our family-rearing sisters.
- As children we saw the beginnings of the environmental movement and we remember the shocking images of the Ethiopian famine that prompted Live Aid. Plus of course everything that has come since.
- We may not choose (or be able) to have kids, but arguably that leaves us with extra reserves of emotional and financial resources to invest in causes that affect us...
Several years ago, a child sponsorship charity learned the hard way that their proposition didn't - as they'd assumed - appeal as much to Mums as to empty-nesters and grandparents.
I wonder what results they would have seen from targeting Gen X 'spinsters'? Charitable adoption - of a child in Africa, an endangered wild animal, a rescued pet, an acre of woodland under threat - seems to me the perfect way of giving for this group.
I'd love to know if any charities have tried it.