Friday, February 24, 2012

My J.D. and M.R.S.

The New York Times recently published an opinion piece on women, marriage, and education. The article discussed the growth in the number of college-educated women in the U.S., and stated that many women think higher education makes them less desirable to men. During the middle part of the 20th century, this was true. However, in a world where more than half of college graduates are women, men are starting to see the education level of their partner as an asset, not a liability. In 1956, a woman's intelligence and education were ranked #11 on the list of desirable traits. Today, it's #4.

Despite conventional wisdom suggesting women dumb themselves down to land a husband, college-educated women are actually more likely to be married than less-educated women. Once we get married, college-educated women tend to have happier, more fulfilling marriages. Accordingly, the divorce rate among women with a college degree is very low at about 20%.

The increased percentage of college-educated women also means that women are often the ones "marrying down" today. 30% of married women have more education than their husbands while less than 20% of married men have more education than their wives. I will be one of the 30% when we get married in September because Adam has a bachelor's degree and I will have a juris doctorate. But I certainly don't think I'm "marrying down." I think the most important thing regarding intellect in a relationship is not sharing degree levels, but sharing a level of intellectual curiosity. Adam and I both love to learn. It's one of the things I love most about him, actually. He constantly teaches me new things and challenges me, and I don't think that this is going to change when I get a piece of paper this spring that calls me a doctor.
Photo from The Guardian

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