“A startling, confronting, and liberating treatise.”
—Holly Whitaker, New York Times bestselling author of Quit Like a Woman
What is “woman” if not “mother”?
Anything she wants to be.
Foregoing motherhood has traditionally marked a woman as “other.” With no official place setting for her in our society, she has hovered on the sidelines: the quirky girl, the neurotic career obsessive, the “eccentric” aunt. Instead of continuing to paint women without kids as sad, self-obsessed, or somehow dysfunctional, what if we saw them as boldly forging a first-in-a-civilization vision for a fully autonomous womankind? Or as journalist and thought leader Ruby Warrington asks, What if being a woman without kids were in fact its own kind of legacy?
Taking in themes from intergenerational healing to feminism to environmentalism, this personal look and anthropological dig into a stubbornly taboo topic is a timely and brave reframing of what it means not to be a mom. Our experiences and discourse around non-motherhood are central to women’s ongoing fight for gender equality. And whether we are childless by design or circumstance, we can live without regret, shame, or compromise.
Bold and tenderhearted, Women Without Kids seeks first and foremost to help valorize a path that is the natural consequence of women having more say about the choices we make and how our lives play out. Within this, it unites the unsung sisterhood of non-mothers—no longer pariahs or misfits, but as a vital part of our evolution and collective healing as women, as humans, and as a global family.
"In her fourth book, Women Without Kids: The Revolutionary Rise of an Unsung Sisterhood, Ms. Warrington, 47, writes that women who don’t have children are 'no longer pariahs or misfits, but a natural part of our evolution and collective healing, as women, as human beings, and as a global family.'” —The New York Times
"Women Without Kids is a feminist exploration of being child-free, treating that decision as one of empowerment." —Foreword Reviews
“I have read countless books on the subject of chosen childlessness, and I can’t remember encountering one written with such candor, care, and precision of thought. It’s easy to be glib about this subject, to tuck into defensiveness even while espousing pride and certainty. In Women Without Kids, Ruby Warrington does just the opposite. She tells her story with deep insight, great humor, and, best of all, an endless curiosity about the motives of her own mind. She’s also done her research and knows her history, which she uses to draw important connections between the personal choices we make and the political and social landscapes that inform them. Essential reading no matter how you feel about kids!” —Meghan Daum, editor of Selfish, Shallow, and Self-Absorbed: Sixteen Writers on the Decision Not to Have Kids
“Women Without Kids is a necessary invitation for us to reconsider our relationship to and with motherhood. Traditionally, being a child-free woman is expected to come with shame and regret—Ruby’s latest work adds celebration and necessary nuance to the story of women and people of all genders intentionally living child-free.” —Rachel Cargle, founder of The Loveland Foundation, The Loveland Group, and Rich Auntie Supreme
“In Women Without Kids, Ruby Warrington offers a compassionate exploration into what can be a highly loaded and emotional topic—the choice whether or not to have children. She explores the different factors that contribute to this decision, while her honest and vulnerable sharing of her personal journey inspires deep self-reflection in readers. Women Without Kids is a must-read for anyone seeking a full understanding of all the dynamics that play into this significant life choice.” —Dr. Nicole LePera, New York Times bestselling author of How to Do the Work
“A radical, empathic, and provocative book that applies a feminist lens to what it means to be a woman without children in the twenty-first century. Through personal narrative and meticulous sociocultural research, Warrington demonstrates how consciously owning the experience of non-motherhood (whether or not by choice) has the potential to transform the experience of all women, mothers included, and to create a better world for all the generations that follow us.” —Jody Day, founder of Gateway Women, psychotherapist, and author of Living the Life Unexpected: How to Find Hope, Meaning, and a Fulfilling Future Without Children
“This isn’t a book about not having kids for the defiantly childless. This is a book about motherhood under patriarchy—about our mothers, becoming mothers, not becoming mothers, choices and non-choices, and consequences and the things that separate us and keep us chained to a toxic cultural heritage. It is a startling, confronting, and liberating treatise.” —Holly Whitaker, New York Times bestselling author of Quit Like a Woman
“A sharp and intricate look at the personal and political sides of being a child-free woman. While reading, I was reminded of the first time I read Rebecca Solnit’s Men Explain Things to Me—this is an exciting, bold, feminist book that gives the child-free conversation the space it deserves.” —Emma Gannon, bestselling author of Olive and host of the Ctrl Alt Delete podcast
“This is a wonderful book, personal yet universal, showing that what counts is not biological motherhood but caring—and that putting care front and center in our lives and social policies is how we will create the world that children, and all of us, need and want.” —Riane Eisler, author of The Chalice and the Blade and The Real Wealth of Nations, coauthor of Nurturing Our Humanity
“Women Without Kids makes a passionate and compelling case for rejecting old notions about the lives women should lead. True freedom is the right to forge unique paths—which won’t always include motherhood. In tackling the antiquated stigmas surrounding childless women, Warrington is one of the trailblazers leading the way.” —Kirsten Miller, New York Times bestselling writer and author of The Change
“Child-free life is a path less traveled, and Women Without Kids offers a road map for anyone considering their own journey into the unknown. The research, reflections, and thought-provoking questions in this feminist must-read give women the space and language to pick and pursue the life that’s truly right for them.” —Zoë Noble, founder of We Are Childfree