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The Japanese have a proverb: happy women make a happy village.
The women’s movement of the last century deserves a lot of credit. Women are getting better education, more independence, more career opportunites and better wages. Today, there are many women in positions of power and influence, career women who worked hard and sacrificed much to achieve their dreams, and now serve as role models for the next generation. Where gender gaps remain, as in fields like engineering, active outreach programs aim to bring the participation of women up to par. The domestic servitude of generations past seems oppressive by today’s standards.
With that in mind, I suppose it’s hardly surprising that, “The richer a woman becomes, the more likely she is to divorce her husband, new research has found… For every £10,000 a wife’s earnings increase relative to the family’s overall income, the chances of marital break-up rise by 1%… Lawyers confirmed that greater financial independence for women was leading them to take the initiative in divorce in growing numbers.”
This study speculates that women with careers can afford independence. If a woman can support herself and her children, she is more likely to consider divorce than if she was dependent on her husband. Other theories say that careers leave women less time to do domestic chores, which forces the couple to negotiate and share the labour.
All of which may cause resentment in men, who have traditionally defined themselves by their breadwinning ability. The study also points to the “fragile male egos” of husbands threatened by their spouse’s success. Masculinity itself is at risk. Many men still refuse to share traditionally female roles. “Rather than there being an equal division of labour, mothers who work full time, for example, tend to do considerably more childcare and housework than their male partners.”