Many believe that men are intimidated by smarter women and do not prefer dating them, but a new research published in the American Sociological Review suggests that they hold a completely different view than people know. It states that men prefer a better-educated wife.
As a part of the research, all the marriages in the U.S. between 1950 and 2004 were analysed . They found that men moved away from the old perception that they are the breadwinners of the family and broke the traditional gender roles that each was supposed to abide by. Men and women alike have cut across these traditional roles, this trend is seen to have begun in the 1990s. According to the study, males preferred an egalitarian marriage and have started embracing the idea of a more intelligent, smart and a better-educated wife at about the same time women began to outnumber men at colleges and universities.
Professor of sociology at the University of Wisconsin-Madison and lead author Christine Schwartz said, "Marriages in which wives have the educational advantage were once more likely to dissolve, but this association has disappeared in more recent marriage cohorts."
The study, co-authoreed by Hongyun Han, research analyst at Northwestern University, found that an increase in the number of well-educated women has proven beneficial to the family as a whole, making marriages stronger. This is seen in a positive way by husbands who are less worried about the woman being smarter. An analysis was done of the data from various family, income and educational surveys. The study examined the education and divorce rates among thousands of married respondents, and compared them with the educational differences between partners. They found that there was shift in a guys happiness levels, from being less happy, they are now happier in a relationship in which the woman is more educated. This reduced the divorce rates among such couples.
Schwartz stated that the findings provide an important counterpoint to claims that progress toward gender equality in heterosexual relationships have stalled.
The paper states that before 1990, most marriages in which the woman was better educated than the man was seen to have a higher risk of ending in a divorce. However, after the 1990s, the trend has reversed, if the husband held an "educational advantage" or not made no difference. The paper found that marriages between equally educated partners have also become more likely to succeed.
The study also says that about 50 per cent of newly married couples in the early 2000s shared the same educational qualification. In 30 per cent of the new marriages, the wife was seen to be better educated than her husband, while the situation was opposite for the remaining 20 per cent.