Says one British researcher, "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."
The story — and the triumphant reductions — come from the Daily Fail. But to believe them, the London School of Economics' Catherine Hakim did come to some startling conclusions in her report, published by the Centre for Policy Studies think tank.
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
It's clear from her comments that Hakim is not apolitical: she slams David Cameron's recent move to institute workplace quotas and the EU's progressive new maternity leave measures. Plus, she brings up the dreaded "F" word: "Despite feminist claims, the truth is that many men and women have different career aspirations, priorities, and life goals." Ah yes, those good old straw-woman feminists!
Yet, screams the Fail, "The idea of most women wanting to be financially independent is a myth" and no further scrutiny is given to the sampling methodology, the demographics, the question of education rates since 1949, increased social mobility, competing research or the fact that 38% hardly constitutes a majority. We're not convinced — but are convinced that when the "F" bomb is dropped, civil discourse is not going to happen.