Germany's 'raven mothers': A social stigma stifles parenthood

Germany, she says, must make it easier for women to do both, because it now has one of the lowest birth rates in the world. The number of children born here in 2005 was the lowest in a single year since 1945. If the trend holds, the population will decline 17 percent by 2050 - hobbling the economy and an already-strained social system.

Immigration can solve only part of the problem. Even if Germany's annual influx of immigrants were to double to 200,000, the population would still shrink 8.5 percent by 2050. And Germany already struggles to absorb the current waves of Turks and others.