Gender equality myth: Do women want rich husbands more than a career?

Despite 40 years of reforms to promote equality in the workplace, a new report suggests women are more concerned with finding a rich man to marry than dominating the career ladder.

The idea than women want to be seen as equal to men and financially independent is a myth according to a report, which suggests the reason men dominate top positions is because women do not want careers in business.

In her controversial report, Catherine Hakim, of the London School of Economics, criticises David Cameron for supporting the concept of quotas to ensure that leading companies appointed more women on their boards.

In the 52 page report, published by the Centre for Policy Studies think tank the expert claims: ‘Women’s aspiration to marry up, if they can, to a man who is better-educated and higher-earning, persists in most European countries.’

‘Women thereby continue to use marriage as an alternative or supplement to their employment careers,’ she says.

Drawing on an extensive review of previous studies from around the world and national surveys conducted in Britain, the report maintains that 20 per cent of women married husbands with significantly higher levels of education in 1949. By 1990, this figure had almost doubled to 38 per cent.

Although evenly balanced family and work roles are promoted in today’s society, with men and women sharing the burden of child-care and employment, Dr Hakim claims this is not the ideal sought by most couples.

She suggests, due to political correctness, it has become impossible for women to say, ‘I wouldn’t mind being a housewife’ or admit that they are looking for a higher earning partner.

‘Despite feminists claims, the truth is that many men and women have different career aspirations, priorities and life goals,’ she says.

But, do you agree? Are the stereotypical assumptions about gender equality and sex discrimination taking over from the real choices and preferences of women?

Do you think women feel pressurised to build a successful career to prove they are equal to men? Do women feel guilty for admitting a career isn’t their top priority?

Whatever your thoughts, however extreme, Marie Claire wants to hear from you.


Reading now