Thursday, December 15, 2011

Wanted: Domestic Men for High-Achieving Women

High-achieving women have a hard time finding even higher-achieving men to marry. There are more high-achieving women than ever - my students and my daughters among them.

I think it is a deep and natural desire in most women to marry up if they can. This is prudent in class and status terms. More importantly, it makes sense as young women prepare, consciously or not, for the great risk of having children, to find the most securely attached and resource-laden spouse they can.

However, human beings are reasoning creatures, who can understand trade-offs, changed social conditions, and priorities. High-achieving women are probably the best people of all to understand and weigh such factors. And every woman and man is not looking to marry an entire sex or the average of an entire sex, but one particular person with a very specific set of qualities.

SO the good news for high-achieving women is that there are more men who want to be part of a family that shares the achievements, the status, and, of course, the work. Just as women have always done when the shoe is on other foot.

So one could lament the hard time high-achieving women have of making a traditional pairing. I prefer, though, this response:

A feminist leader, Siobhan (Sam) Bennett, president of the nonpartisan Women’s Campaign Fund, does not see conflicts for high-earning women in dating, marriage and domestic life. On the contrary, she told me, “I see great opportunity that these high-value women will ask and gain the flexibility they need to have marriages and families — their lives will probably look different than what we’ve seen — but they will work for them.”


Kerri said...

Do you think this more equitable division of labor, with high-achieving ladies, is more prominent in the knowledge class? (My Pookie has always been very good at helping with housework and taking care of the "kids").

gruntled said...

I think the knowledge class is better at talking its way through non-conventional arrangements if there is a good reason to do so. That is one of the things that makes them (us) the knowledge class.

Solomon Kleinsmith said...

Good problem to have really. Bound to happen more and more in a society where women are gaining equity in the workforce. Can't have it both ways... either there is more equity, or women get to more easily find men who are more successful.