Could a Lack of Men Drive Women to Focus on Career?
5 months ago
Feeling "unattractive" can push women too, university researchers find
The idea that "having it all"—a husband, career, income, and kids—can mean ultimate happiness for a woman has been debated, denounced and defended by many but, according to a new study, it's a woman's impression of her own eligibility, as well as the availability of eligible men, that can influence her definition of what having it "all" means, too.
Upon examining the ratio of single men to single women in every U.S. state, Dr. Kristina Durante, assistant professor of marketing at University of Texas, found that the less abundant bachelors were—or even appeared to be (for the purposes of the study, researchers led female college students participating in the study to believe such simply by having them read one or two news articles on the student population)—the more women were likely to delay life as a wife and mother, and pursue high-paying jobs.
Additionally, Durante found that if women self-identified as "less desirable to men," they were more likely to embark on an ambitious career path.
"Most women don’t realize it, but an important factor in a woman’s career choice is how easy or difficult it is to find a husband,” said Durante. “When a woman’s dating prospects look bleak, as is the case when there are few available men, she is much more likely to delay starting a family and instead seek a career.”
For women's career commitment to be dependent on how worthy and attractive they feel (or, are to men) may sound disheartening, but Dr. Fran Walfish doesn't doubt that it's true.
"Libido, or sexual urge, drives the human-being," said Walfish. "It is the gasoline that drives us. If there is no hope felt on the part of the woman in pursuit of acquiring a man, then she must direct those urges toward something that will pay off. For many, it is their work and careers."