Women marry more for money in 2011 than in 1940s

Written By Kaisa Kokkonen Published January 6th, 2011

Step 1: What women really want: to marry a rich man

The UK newspaper Telegraph recently published a new study by Dr. Catherine Hakim at the London School of Economics. According to Dr. Hakim, more women are marrying for money today than they did in the 1940s. “There is a myth that women invariably choose to have a relationship of total equality”, says Dr. Hakim. The study’s findings tell you that women are increasingly choosing to date and marry men who are better educated than themselves, and therefore have higher earning capacity.

Step 2: Dr. Hakim states that women now face a difficult dilemma. If we want gender equality, it may be difficult to admit for some women that they would prefer to be housewives than career-minded women.

The Coalition (UK) announced a series of measures intended to narrow the pay gap between men and women. This study was made public after that announcement. Large companies could be forced to declare how much more they pay men, said Lynne Featherstone, the Liberal Democrat equalities minister.

Dr Hakim thinks men dominate top positions because many women simply do not want long careers in business (children, family etc).

Centre for Policy Studies think tank published this 52-page report. Dr Hakim says: “Women’s aspiration to marry up, if they can, to a man who is better-educated and higher-earning, persists in most European countries. Women thereby continue to use marriage as an alternative or supplement to their employment careers.”

By the way, Dr Hakim’s research drew on an extensive review of existing studies from around the world, census data, and national surveys conducted in Britain and Spain. It was not just UK based.

Step 3: In 1949, 20 percent of women married husbands with significantly higher levels of education than their own.

Surprisingly enough, in the late 1990s, the proportion of women who were “marrying up” had almost doubled to 38 percent. The ame trends are seen across much of Europe (note: not all Europe), the US and Australia.

Not surprisingly, the highly educated, professional elite is more in favor of the “symmetrical family roles”, with men and women sharing child-care, housework and employment. It is “not the ideal sought by most couples”, the report said.

Step 4: Dr Hakim feels “It has become impossible to say ‘I wouldn’t mind being a housewife.” “It is so politically incorrect that a lot of women don’t want to admit it.”

If you believe what the report says the “war” for equal opportunities between men and women is over in the UK. The gap in pay between the two sexes has fallen from about 30% in the 1970s to as low as 10% today. Women do now have an equal opportunity to find work, but choose different priorities for their lives.

Interestingly enough the report also said it was wrong for politicians to expect that equal opportunities would result in equal numbers of women as men in particular jobs.

Ladies and Gentlemen? Does money play a role in choosing a mate? I must admit I saw lots of women in New York – and some men – where it was 100% clear to anyone watching their choices for a life partner.

This was an interesting study for me personally because I think my home country Finland is one of those countries where this does not apply.


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