Monday, December 07, 2009

Women Surpassing Men in Schooling Creates a Marriage Problem

Women outnumber men as college graduates and among masters degree holders. For every hundred women with a B.A., there are only 74 men; for every hundred women with an M.A., there are only 62 men. As F. Carolyn Graglia points out, this creates a marriage problem.

Women prefer to marry men who are more educated than they are.

We rightly hail women's educational achievements. The fact that women caught up to men in their amount of schooling shows that the old discrimination is dead.

We may not have noticed, though, that something new has happened with women surpassing men in school. It becomes harder for women to make the kind of marriages they prefer. The good news is that college-educated women are now marrying and having children at a higher rate than they did when we first passed this tipping point. The bad news is that the most educated women are much less likely to marry and have children.

I think the great mass of women will still want to marry men more educated than they are. And I think nearly all wives want to be able to respect their husband's minds. But for the most educated women and men, a small new social movement may be necessary to work out solid marriages in which she is more educated (and probably makes more) than he. Fortunately, if there is any group in society that should be capable of figuring out the advantages of this new balance of marriage, it would be the most educated.

16 comments:

Adriana said...

You keep talking about my life! We have figured out the balance, I like to think.

rdschisler said...

We still don't have any issues with the education imbalance, but I think it's because I'm getting a PhD in English, which is not at all related to his field (engineering). So even though, on paper, there's an education discrepancy, we have very different niches to keep us in balance. It probably doesn't hurt that he makes more money than me.

Anonymous said...

I'm overeducated, but unemployed. That's how we make it work.

Anonymous said...

the white community is going to mimic what happened in the black community, little marriage, widespread illegitimacy (about 80% with blacks now), most childbearing being down by the uneducated, unsocialized males, children without fathers, more crime, and ultimately fascism. Fascism will come with extraordinary police measures that will have to be taken when a large part of the male majority population are criminals. It will come because those same people at the same time that they are unruly and lawbreaking will also be looking for authority to guide them and to obey. The habits of self restraint and inner governance will be gone. Instead, people will look to leaders to bring order.

Mary Jo said...

I think many educated women start to get the idea of a minimum acceptable level of education for any men they date. For most, it's the Bachelor's.

I'm at work on my 3rd year of postgraduate study and my fiance has stopped with his bachelor's. I don't have any trouble respecting him. If he hadn't been a college student when we met, though, I would never have considered dating him.

I think what needs to happen is that women need to feel comfortable and secure being the leader, the breadwinner, and having a man depend on her, rather than vice versa. It's possible to respect someone who's less educated than you are, and someone who makes less money. These things shouldn't preclude each other. It's a vestige of earlier attitudes that they do.

Anonymous, WTF?

Mary Jo said...

And PS, most of the guys I met in grad school made me glad I wasn't looking for a boyfriend. In some cases, highly educated can equal weird.

rdschisler said...

Ditto, Mary Jo. Though, I have to admit that some forms of over-educated weirdness are endearing. The bigger problem I've experienced (and seen through friends who attempt to date guys on the high eduction track) is that their brains are so crowded with their own ambitions and delusions of brilliance that they end up having little room for others.

Gruntled said...

I have a question for you all. Which is harder to adjust to: she is more educated than he is, or she makes more than he does?

Mary Jo said...

I think you'd need to ask men as well as women, but I'd guess that it's worse when he makes less money. There isn't a direct correlation between education and money, especially not in the realm rds and I are coming from, English graduate programs. A lack of education for a man, especially a lack of a bachelor's degree, simply puts a man out of the running before a relationship can even get started.

But even that doesn't have to be an issue. Right now, I make more than my fiance too. I treat when we go out to eat and he loves that. I don't think it's causing any problems. I always thought I would out-earn whatever guy I ended up with, for a while at least.

rdschisler said...

I can't speak from experience, but I would think that especially when children enter the marriage that money would become the more important component than education. If I were pregnant AND earning far more money than my husband, it would probably put a huge strain on our relationship from both ends. He would feel inadequate, and I would feel resentful that he wasn't "pulling his weight." Except in rare cases, I think the division of labor would be very thrown off in this situation, but I'm glad others have made it work.

Patricia said...

It's the money stupid. For example, I don't think an educated woman would turn down an extremely wealthy man because he is not college educated. If that were the case she would be educated yet stupid. You elites think everyone cares about education as much as you. You would be wrong.Money buys looks and looks buys money. Don't over think it.

Gruntled said...

Hear that, English literature graduate students? You have been promoted to "elites."

Educated people value being able to have intelligent conversation with their spouse. Money can't really make up for that if you having nothing to talk about together.

Patricia said...

How's that view from your ivory tower professor? I wonder how you know who is viewing this blog. But I correct myself, elites in training, and you are doing a great job professor!

Anonymous said...

"I think the great mass of women will still want to marry men more educated than they are."

These are examples of shallow women and they deserve what they do or don't get. Remember the 2001 movie Shallo Hal?
Merry Christmas!

Gruntled said...

Marrying for brains is shallow? I could see that judgment about marrying for money, but I don't follow your logic here.

Victoria Crowell said...

I find this discussion very fascinating. For a vote from a first-generation college student is I throw in a vote for money. I think there is a bit of a bias in here, in that education is being used as a measure of intelligence, when the two don't necessarily go together, although it is likely. For instance, my boyfriend has the equivalent of the associate's degree in education, but he's just as smart, if not smarter, than many of the people I attend school with. He does lack a few of the social graces, but that's refreshing for me. I am not denying, however, that being able to have an intelligent conversation with him was indeed very important for me.

I don't think I'll care if I make more money than him, and it's nearly inevitable that I will, even once he has completed his Bachelor's. Although, it was very important to me, since he is not in school, that he is very willing to work. But I do think, as one said, it can sincerely become a problem if, for instance, I were pregnant and me to take even a few months of work in order to have the child would be a major hit to our lifestyle. I suppose the extremity of the wage gap is more the issue, rather than who makes more or less.