Why Get Married? Not For Money, That’s For Sure.

Turns out, a woman's wages totally influence her decision to wed

A new study suggests that as women’s wages increase relative to men’s, they become less likely to marry.

The study examined modern marriage incentives and found that nowadays a woman’s decision to marry is likely to be less goverened by financial motives, more by things like love (hurrah!) and the desire to start a family.

Na’ama Shenhav, the study’s author believes a significant factor affecting the recent decline in marriage is women’s increasing financial independence. Basically, we don’t need anyone else to pay our bills anymore, so we’re delaying marriage or boycotting the institution entirely.

The study examines the current situation in the US but speaks to UK experience too. Shenhav states that ‘One of the most striking social trends in the United States is the decline in marriage. Between 1980 and 2010 the marriage rate among prime-age women declined from 74% to 56%’.

As more women than ever enter the workforce and command salaries to rival those historically reserved for men only, women achieve unprecedented financial freedom and don’t need to get hitched in order to secure their future.

But what about the gender pay gap, right? It seems weird to talk about how empowered women are by their pay packets when we’re still fighting to rectify the depressing fact that we’re frequently paid less than our male counterparts.

Just this month, ahead of International Women’s Day Robert Half UK, a recruitment consultancy, analysed figures released by the Office for National Statistics found that last year on average, women earned 24 per cent less than men. This figure projected over a 52-year career suggests that over a lifetime of work, women will earn a staggering £298,064 less than men.

The gender pay gap is alive and well and this is categorically unfair, no question, the reality is women are still more financially independent than ever before – we’ve made progress, and that’s having an impact on our romantic relationships.

A woman’s earning power is not the only reason for the decline in marriage, of course – there’s all sorts of other social factors that contribute – but it’s certainly influential.

Shenav concluded that her findings indicate:

‘Reducing the gender wage gap is not only a matter of “fairness in the workplace,” but also places men and women on more equal footing inthe marriage market.’

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