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[Perspectives] A world without choice

“Time is always ticking for women. Whereas men, apparently, live in a timeless realm”, writes Sheila Heti in Motherhood—one of several recent novels which, like Leni Zumas’s Red Clocks, explore fertility and place femaleness at the centre of the human condition. It’s not, of course, that ageing has no significance for men. But for women, it passes to a different rhythm: the monthly thrum of ovulation and menstruation, the fear of a missed period that might shut down one future, the insistent reminders that time is running out—time to conceive, time to decide, time before crossing into the realm of the Older Women, invisible and disdained in a culture that values women only when they’re too young to be powerful.