This blog is intended to go along with Population: An Introduction to Concepts and Issues, by John R. Weeks, published by Cengage Learning. The latest edition is the 12th (it came out in 2015), but this blog is meant to complement any edition of the book by showing the way in which demographic issues are regularly in the news.

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Saturday, November 6, 2010

10-Year-Old Mother, and in Europe, No Less

It is rare anywhere in the world for a 10-year-old girl to have a baby, but especially in a European country such as Spain it seems shocking. Yet, a few days ago that happened in the city of Jerez, in southern Spain (the area perhaps best known for its Sherry--an Anglicization of Jerez). However, the story is more complicated because the young mother is reportedly the daughter of a Roma widow who migrated to Spain for work, but left her daughter behind with a grandmother in Bucharest, where the girl wound up having a sexual relationship with her cousin. The young girl joined her mother in Spain to deliver the baby. 
A relative in Romania has explained to the newspaper that, in principle, "the couple wanted and planned to raise the baby together, although I do not know if they even knew how to change a diaper." However, something went wrong with the couple and when Elena went to Spain to give birth, Gheorghe stayed in Romania.

Mom and baby are now living with relatives near Lebrija, where Olimpia try to gloss over the scandal: "These things are normal in my country. The girls marry at 10 years old so I do not understand why people are so surprised. Elena is fine, as is her daughter, who is a very pretty girl. "

A story such as this will naturally be held up as support for the French deportation of illegal Roma immigrants a few months ago. But, more importantly, it is a sad sign of the low status of women within this population.

But before we become too sanctimonious, we need to remind ourselves that in the United States in 2007 (the most recent data available) there were 6,195 births to girls under the age of 15, albeit disproportionately to Hispanic girls (2,411) and Black girls (2,310).

1 comment:

  1. this is sad. it is even more sad that some don't see that an issue exists here. the child who had this baby is going to br robbed of her development as a women and a person. And the child she had will be robbed of the support that should be given to any life in this world. there is no way a 10 year old is ever going to be mature enough to properly take care of a child. and the fact that some see nothing wrong with this means that the culture is unfortunately suppressive of women's opportunities and freedoms in life. sad