The study that poses the question “Women’s Progress for Men’s Gain?” found that among married people between the ages of 35–44 years old, the number of highly educated women was more than highly educated men.

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In its findings, the study shows that 'educational marrying up' has substantially increased for men over time, while women’s likelihood of 'educational marrying up' has decreased.

“Our results indicate that women experienced significant progress in educational attainment and labour market outcomes over this time period. Ironically, married women’s progress in education and personal earnings has led to greater improvement in the family standard of living for married men than for women themselves,” says the authors, Professor ChangHwan Kim and Professor Arthur Sakamoto.

The study also notes that women’s return to education through marriage has declined while men’s financial gain through marriage has increased “considerably”.

This is more than a 360 degree shift from “old school” normalised societal rules where women were, according to relationship expert Paula Quinsee, “marrying up by default”.

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“So traditionally we’ve seen situations where women have been marrying up by default because of society, and education, and job opportunities – because men were afforded those opportunities much more than what women were in the past,” says Paula.

Times have clearly changed according to this research that is based on a U.S. Census data from 1990 and 2000, and the 2009–2011 American Community Survey. 

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Paula echoes the trends observed in this study and says: “Nowadays, in the modern world, we were seeing women being much more independent, having careers being educated and earning much more financially because of their careers and their positions.” 

She says, “there is a little bit of a shift nowadays where it’s not so much that women are marrying up like they used to in the past but in a lot of instances now men are marrying women who are … earning more than what they are or are in higher positions from a career perspective because they pursue their careers”. 

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Whether you call it marrying up, social climbing or the technical hypergamy, the trends observed by this research shows that men are partaking in it.  

Have you noticed the shift when it comes to dating or marriage? Share your story with us here.

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