A Woman’s Professional Success May Increase Chance of Divorce
In Sweden, Olle Folke and Johanna Rickne, a political scientist from Uppsala Universaity and an economist from Stockholm University, found that there is a higher rate of divorce where women who were not working at the start of a marriage, or who earned less than their spouse at the start, experience success in their careers. If a woman is promoted or experiences some other professional success when she previously earned less than her spouse, the chance of her marriage ending in divorce increases significantly.
The trend applies, according to the study, to couples where the man’s career is prioritized over that of the woman; the researchers looked to a couple’s use of parental leave to determine whether a subject was in a “gender traditional” marriage. In Sweden, a couple can share 480 days of parental leave between them after the birth of a child, and if a woman used 80% or more of that leave, the couple was considered to fall into this category.
In marriages where the parties were on equal footing from a career perspective at the start of a marriage did not experience the increased divorce rate in instances of the woman’s success as the aforementioned “gender traditional” couples.
The researchers hypothesize several reasons for the increased divorce rate among women who experience career advancement. They speculate that the increase is due to the fact that in a marriage where the man’s career is prioritized that a woman’s promotion would be more unexpected, that the promotion causes increased due to a need to renegotiate responsibilities and tasks in the home, or that women will leave relationships that are not flexible and that do not support her career related aspirations.
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