In India, some of the most entertaining reading on a Sunday afternoon is found in the classified ads. Page after page, the matrimonial section trumpets the finer qualities of India's sons and daughters.
Parents looking to marry off their children often place ads such as this one: "Wanted: Well-settled, educated groom for fair, beautiful Bengali girl, 22, 5'3"."
The matrimonial ads are a hallowed tradition in the quest to find a life partner — part of the institution of matchmaking that is as old as the country itself.
The next time you see a father out shopping with his kids, you might need to check your assumptions.
"I'll get the, 'Oh, look, it's a dad! That's so sweet!' "says Jonathan Heisey-Grove, a stay-at-home father of two young boys in Alexandria, Va., who is pretty sure the other person assumes he's just giving Mom a break for the day. In fact, he's part of a growing number of fathers who are minding the kids full time while their wives support the family and who say societal expectations are not keeping up with their reality.
The office is immaculate, as you would expect in an upscale neighborhood in Sao Paulo — all sterile, white, modish plastic furniture and green plants. Behind the reception desk are pictures that would look more appropriate in a pop art gallery than a private maternity clinic.
The list of services at the clinic in Brazil's largest city is long: fertility treatments, specialized gynecology and, of course, obstetrics. But one thing they rarely do here is preside over a vaginal delivery.
Germany is regarded as one of the most generous countries in the world when it comes to helping women raise families. The government invests about $260 billion each year into 156 separate family-friendly benefits, including health care, generous parental leave, subsidized day care and tax breaks.
Yet on a continent with low birthrates, Germany has the lowest of all, with just 1.39 children per woman.