By The Sexy G.
At one time, women tended to marry up. Now it seems the opposite has occurred.
In a Pew Research Center Publication; a study was done by Richard Fry and D’vera Cohn, Pew Research Center, January 19, 2010. It is entitled, New Economics of Marriage: The Rise of Wives. The Executive Summary stated that “The institution of marriage has undergone significant changes in recent decades as women have outpaced men in education and earnings growth. These unequal gains have been accompanied by gender role reversals in both the spousal characteristics and the economic benefits of marriage.
“A larger share of men in 2007, compared with their 1970 counterparts, are married to women whose education and income exceed their own, according to a Pew Research Center analysis of demographic and economic trend data. A larger share of women are married to men with less education and income.”
This is startling news especially to an older generation. What happened to the earnings of men? How did women get into the lead when they still earn less income as compared to men in similar jobs? The Pew Report also states “…Women’s earnings grew 44% from 1970 to 2007, compared with 6% growth for men. That sharper growth has enabled women to narrow, but not close, the earnings gap with men. Median earning of full-year female workers in 2007 were 71% of earnings of comparable men, compared with 52% in 1970.”
The Pew Report continues, “Part of the reason for the superior gains of married adults is compositional in nature. Marriage rates have declined for all adults since 1970 and gone down most sharply for the least educated men and women. As a result, those with more education are far more likely than those with less education to be married, a gap that has widened since 1970. Because higher education tends to lead to higher earnings, these compositional changes have bolstered the economic gains from being married for both men and women.”
In an online article entitled Dime Crunch, Gwen Parkes discussed the Pew Research Center report by Richard Fry and D’Vera Cohn. What struck me is the last two paragraphs which she titled; Results. She refers to the writings of Andrew Cherlin, a sociologist at Johns Hopkins University. He wrote, “The Marriage-Go-Round: The State of Marriage and Family in America Today, “It’s not that women are calling the shots. It’s that husbands and wives are sharing the decision-making power.”
According to Parkes, “Cherlin hit the nail on the head. Yes, there is a noticeable change that has occurred in marriages and gender roles within the last 30 years, and yes both men and women are benefiting from these changes, because it has become more of a shared partnership between the couple. After all, isn’t that the exact definition of a partnership and the purpose of a marriage? Obviously couples in the U.S. are getting better at working together toward common goals so that both partners can reap the benefits. Now if we could just get the divorce rate down then we would be the picture of marriage perfection.”
It seems to me that Parkes hit a hot button. So, now that there is a tendency towards more equality in relationships, why is the divorce rate so high? I think one very important factor is that women, despite earning more or working in more prestigious jobs, are still basically responsible for domestic issues whether it may be all of the home scene or in large part. When a woman is working as hard or harder than her spouse and still has to tend to most of the chores at home and the children’s activities, a good deal of resentment develops.
Rebecca S. Powers, is an assistant professor at East Carolina University. An online link called SpringerLink, quoted Powers’ article, Doing the daily grind: The effects of domestic labor on professional, managerial, and technical workers’ earnings, published in a journal called, Gender Issues, publisher is Springer New York, and dated June 25, 2004.
The abstract states: “Using two waves of data from the National Survey of Families and Households, I examined how domestic labor tasks including daily grind tasks, female-type and male-type tasks affected the earnings of workers in professional, managerial, and technical occupations in the short and long term. The results show that performing daily grind tasks reduces the earnings of college-educated workers in high prestige occupations immediately and over time. Further, domestic labor explained an additional 19 percent of the gap between the earnings of women and men in professional, managerial, and technical occupations. These results suggest that despite having jobs that offer higher pay and more autonomy, the time spent doing the daily grind, negatively affects earnings, especially for women in professional, managerial, and technical occupations.”
I find it ironic that women are in a better position economically now yet can’t close the gap in earnings for similar positions compared with men. Nor, for the most part, can they equalize the domestic responsibilities. Yes, men participate more these days but often it is to placate the spouse or it is minimal. Come on guys, just go the distance. Let’s get that divorce rate down. Remember, men who are truly equal partners are having more and better sex with their wives.
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