Tuesday, December 24, 2002


College bound women less likely to marry and have children



A story released today by the Divorce-Online reports that according to a new research conducted by Learning, Family Formation and Dissolution, reports that British women who go to college are less likely to marry and have children.

The research says that getting good qualifications 'gave women increased earning power and therefore more choice about whether or not to get a partner'. Faced with the difficulty of balancing career and family, many seem to choose the career.

Men do not seem to face the same choice, and they may even find the higher earning power gained from a degree makes them a better catch.

The findings are part of a wider project at the Centre for Research on the Wider Benefits of Learning, which was set up by the Department for Education and Skills (DfES) to study the lifelong social changes triggered by university education.

The report calls for new, Scandinavian-style policies to make it easier to combine a career and children, so that educated women are no longer forced to choose between the two.

'For men, marriage is seen as very much part of a career, but for women it comes down to a choice,' said John Bynner, joint author of the report with Louisa Blackwell of the Office for National Statistics.

'For some women there seems to be a conflict that there isn't for men: it fits into the grain of what men want to do. Not everybody wants to get married or become a parent, but for those that do it ought to be made easier.'

The report, published by the DfES using a range of cohort studies of children born in the Seventies, notes that 26-year-old women living alone or with flatmates were nearly three times as likely to have degrees as women of the same age who were already married.

Men with degrees or PhDs were slightly more likely than less educated males to settle down. Only 20 percent of university educated men had not done so by that age. But more than 18 percent of highly-educated women were single and childless at 33, more than twice the rate for their less educated sisters.

When they did get married, highly educated women were less likely than the average woman to get divorced. But this was because they were less likely to marry young, and early marriages are more likely to break down.



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