Campion staffer featured on ABC

8 Nov, 2019

Campion’s Media and Communications Officer Anna Hitchings has been featured in ABC News today. Below are excerpts from an article on ABC News Online.

At 32 years of age, Anna Hitchings expected to be married with children by now.

But over the past year, she has found herself grappling with a realisation that she may never tie the knot.

“But that’s a reality I have to deal,” she says. “It no longer seems impossible that I may never marry. In fact, some might argue it may even be likely.”

The “man drought” is a demographic reality in Australia — for every 100 women, there are 98.6 men.

The gender gap widens if you’re a Christian womanhoping to marry a man who shares the same beliefs and values.

The proportion of Australians with a Christian affiliation has dropped drastically from 88 per cent in 1966, to just over half the population in 2016 — and women are more likely than men to report being Christian (55 per cent, compared to 50 per cent).

Ms Hitchings is Catholic.

She grew up in the Church and was a student at Campion College, a Catholic university in Sydney’s western suburbs, where she now works.

“The ideal is to marry somebody else who shares your values because it’s just easier.”

But not sharing the same faith isn’t necessarily a deal breaker.

Her sister is married to an agnostic man and while “he’s great and we love him”, Ms Hitchings is quick to admit there were some difficult conversations that needed to take place early on.

Like abstaining from sex before marriage — something that, as a Catholic, she doesn’t want to compromise on.

“It’s very difficult to find men who are even willing to entertain the notion of entering into a chaste relationship.”

The marriage rate in Australia has been in decline since 1970, and both men and women are waiting longer before getting married for the first time.

The proportion of marriages performed by ministers of religion has also declined from almost all marriages in 1902 (97 per cent), to 78 per cent in 2017.

Despite these cultural shifts regarding marriage in Australia, single women in the Church — and outside it — still face the stigma of singledom.

Ms Hitchings often feels that when someone is trying to set her up on a date, “they just see me as the single person they need to get married”.

“There are a lot of anxieties that you can feel — you can feel like you’re pathetic or there’s something wrong with you,” she says.

On the other hand, the Church has also provided a place of hope and empowerment for single women, giving those like Ms Hitchings the confidence to live a life that doesn’t start and end with marriage.

“I very much hope I do get married — I really hope that happens — but I don’t believe that my life is meaningless or purposeless if I don’t get married either.”