“By the late 1990s, the proportion of women who were ‘marrying up’ had almost doubled to 38 percent. Similar patterns are seen across much of Europe, the US and Australia. Hakim said many women did not want to admit that they were looking for a higher earning partner. They even keep the fact secret from the men they are dating, Catherine Hakim said.”
By Eleanor Harding | 4th January 2011 | DailyMail.co.uk
Women still want to ‘marry up’ and naturally choose husbands who earn more than themselves, a report suggests. The idea of most women wanting to be financially independent is a myth, according to Catherine Hakim of the London School of Economics.Despite years of equality campaigning, more women are choosing to marry wealthy men than in the 1940s, the expert claims.
In her report, published by the Centre for Policy Studies think tank, she suggests men dominate the top positions because women simply do not want careers in business.
She criticised David Cameron for backing the idea of quotas to ensure that leading companies appointed more women to their boards.
‘Women’s aspiration to marry up, if they can, to a man who is better-educated and higher-earning persists in most European countries,’ she said. ‘Women thereby continue to use marriage as an alternative or supplement to their employment careers.’
The research, which drew on existing data drawn from Britain and Spain, showed that 20 per cent of British women married husbands with a significantly better education than their own in 1949.
By the 1990s, the percentage of women deciding to ‘marry up’ had climbed to 38 per cent – with a similar pattern repeated in the rest of Europe, the US and Australia.
The report concluded that equal roles in the family, where husband and wife shared employment, childcare and housework, was ‘not the ideal sought by most couples’.
Dr Hakim added: ‘It is thus not surprising that wives generally earn less than their husbands, and that most couples rationally decide that it makes sense for her to take on the larger share of child care, and to use most or all the parental leave allowance.’ Her report also suggests that many women do not want to admit they want to be a housewife – even to their partners.
‘It has become impossible to say, “I wouldn’t mind being a housewife,” she said.
‘It is so politically incorrect that a lot of women don’t want to admit it.’
The study comes after a series of measures announced by the Coalition intended to decrease the pay difference between women and men.
Work-life balance? Dr Hakim claims politicians are guilty of wrong assumptions about female aspirations
Working mother: Dr Hakim’s report claims many women do not aspite to balancing a career with raising a family
Dr Hakim also accuses feminists of peddling a string of myths and manufacturing ‘political ammunition for a war that has ended’.
She says: ‘Women today have more choices than men, including real choices between a focus on family work and/or paid employment.
‘Despite this, many politicians and feminists appear disappointed with the slow pace of change in women’s attainment of top jobs.
Sex differences are treated as self-evident proof of widespread sex discrimination and sex-role stereotyping rather than the result of personal choices and preferences.
‘Demands for further change rest on faulty assumptions and dated evidence. The latest research shows that most of the theories and ideas built up around gender equality in the last few decades are wrong.
‘Despite feminist claims, the truth is that many men and women have different career aspirations, priorities, and life goals.
‘Policy makers should therefore not expect the same job outcomes.’
The report is scathing about EU plans to offer pregnant women 20 weeks of maternity leave on full pay.
It says that so-called ‘family-friendly’ policies ‘generally reduce gender equality in the workforce, rather than raising it’.
Critics argue that generous maternity provisions make employers wary of taking on women of childbearing age.