Smarter women walk the aisle

Last Updated: Tuesday, April 8, 2008 - 15:07

Sydney, April 08: Women with a university degree are more likely to marry than their less-educated sisters, according to Australian research released on Monday that reverses long-held views about bookish females.

The Monash University report, based on analysis of data from the 2006 national census, suggests that wedlock was increasingly becoming the province of the well-educated and wealthy. Genevieve Heard, a research fellow at Monash University's Centre for Population and Urban Research, said the finding was unexpected, in terms of long-standing assumptions that women with more education and greater career ambition had less interest in family formation.

"There's something new going on, particularly among women," said Heard.

"It's long been assumed that more educated women are less traditional and more financially independent and are therefore less likely to need to or want to marry. And indeed, this assumption has been borne out in the data for a long time," she told the Australian Broadcasting Corporation.

"But now, in the 2006 data, we can see that in fact the pattern has reversed so that women with post-school qualifications, especially those with degrees, are now in fact more likely to be married than their counterparts with less education."

The research found that while the marriage rate was falling overall, for women aged over 30 it was declining rapidly for those with only a high school education.

The census data on women aged 30 to 34 revealed that in 1996, 64% of women with a bachelor degree or higher were married, slightly less than the 65% of women in the same age group who did no extra study after school.

Heard said men were still more likely to marry if they were more highly educated. "Now it's the case that for both sexes it seems to be that the more education and the more earning potential you have, the more likely you are to succeed in forming and formalising a partnership." The study, also found that in the past decade, marriage rates for women had fallen across every age group, regardless of education.

Bureau Report



First Published: Tuesday, April 8, 2008 - 15:07
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