Mothers of Big Families Challenge Macron’s Fertility Stance

French President Emmanuel Macron arrives for an EU summit at the Europa building in Brussels, Thursday, Oct. 18, 2018. (AP Photo/Francois Walschaerts, Pool)

PARIS (AP) — French President Emmanuel Macron is facing criticism from mothers with big families both at home and abroad for comments he made about women and fertility in Africa.

Hundreds of French and American women took offense at a September speech that Macron made at the Gates Foundation’s Goalkeepers Summit, when he said a critical issue for African’s population is that women and girls aren’t able choose whether or not to have children — and linked it to a lack of education.

He said: “I always say: ‘Please, present me a perfectly educated lady who has decided to have seven, eight, nine children.”

Macron was trying to emphasize that parenthood should be a choice — especially in poorer parts of Africa. But many women around the world who feel stung by Macron’s choice of words are using the hashtag #postcardsforMacron on social media to criticize him and share photos of their large families.

The hashtag was trending on Twitter in France in recent days, with more than 20,000 posts about the topic on Wednesday and Thursday.

It was not the first time that Macron found himself in hot water over fertility issues. Last year, he prompted controversy when he suggested it’s a problem that African women often have “seven or eight children.”

Macron has also been outspoken against sexual misconduct since the “MeToo” movement emerged last year.

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