I don’t think men who have no children are “failures” and nor do I think women who have no children are “failures.” I think that people make choices in life that are right or seem right for them at the time. People are autonomous beings who may or may not want children. While I agree that our culture is a negative one that often mistakenly tells women to go only for careers and other pursuits rather than have children, I do think there are some women who do not want them. This choice may be wrong for some but not for all.I like and respect Dr. Helen, but I disagree with her here on two grounds. First, one's success or failure as a human being are not determined by whether or not one is happy. That way lies, quite literally, madness. I'm sure John Wayne Gacy was quite happy when he was raping and killing little boys, and that was his decision about what was right for his own life, but I don't think we would be well to describe him as a success as a human being.
I had a friend in college who didn’t want kids. She is happy today many years later without them. That is her choice. It should be everyone’s to decide what is right for their own life. To call that a failure for that decision seems extreme.
Second, it's simply not possible to argue that a woman who is childless is not a failure at reproduction. That is a tautology; a childless woman has, by definition, failed to reproduce. Moreover, unlike men, this failure to reproduce is very seldom imposed by others, or by external circumstances. And while this doesn't make her a failure at anything else, it does mean that she has failed in her singular duty to her species, to her sub-species, and to her genetic line; she has failed to continue it.
And as a human being, what Earthly responsibility could possibly be greater?
In our present age, young women are being actively dissuaded from fulfilling their primary role and responsibility as women and as human beings. It should be no surprise that women have never been unhappier or less fulfilled. This is a consequence of the true Female Imperative being replaced by a false one.
The only way to effectively dispute the definition is to a) claim that women have a more important purpose in life or b) to claim that women have no purpose in life at all. And the latter, I submit, is entirely more damaging and degrading to women than to suggest that they have a extraordinarily important purpose at which they can fail.
As for the former, well, what is it?