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Abstract

The global family begins at conception. Every person born into this world enters into a global society in which beliefs and ideas about the meaning of life and its purpose are shared, regardless of one’s country of origin or the demographic characteristics of one’s birth parents. Ultimately, we are related to one another. Our genetics do not differ significantly; there is no gene for race. If the global family begins at conception, then how might the meaning of a ‘global family’ cause us to rethink our antiquated ideas about conception, marriage, and parenting, particularly for heterosexual women who choose to remain single? Feminist theory has not devoted substantial scholarship to intentionally unmarried heterosexual women who choose not to conceive children. The same societies that reify the marriage-and-parenting perspective simultaneously neglect the perspectives of heterosexual women who break from the norm. What does a more inclusive form of feminist theory look like? As a new form of feminist theory and appropriately called ‘inclusive feminist theory,’ this form of feminist theory addresses singlehood for heterosexual women, particularly those who choose not to become pregnant or to parent children. Inclusive feminist theory supports changes to the negative perceptions about unmarried heterosexual women. Next, inclusive feminist theory encourages the choices made by intentionally unmarried heterosexual women with regard to personal and professional development, the definitions of family and friendship, as well as whether to parent children (e.g., through adoption). Inclusive feminist theory is global in scope and provides for women everywhere to live as intentionally unmarried individuals who are not defined by the standard of being married (with or without children). Finally, inclusive feminist theory speaks to the resilience required by heterosexual women to remain intentionally unmarried within societies that reify the norm for heterosexual women as being married.

Note on the Author

Kimberly Petrovic, Ph.D., R.N., is a visiting assistant professor in the Quinnipiac University School of Nursing. Her areas of activism, research and scholarship pertain to adult development and aging, chronic health conditions, diversity and multiculturalism, ethics, globalism and the global community and human rights. She earned her doctorate from the University of Connecticut and holds Masters degrees in nursing and sociology.

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