London - Tradition may dictate that men are the chief breadwinners of a relationship but according to new research, that domestic setup is becoming increasingly outdated.
Wives who were better educated than their spouses used to be at greater risk of getting divorced, but husbands today are the first generation not be threatened by women who earn just as much – if not more - than them.
Associate professor of sociology Christine Schwartz at the University of Wisconsin-Madison, who carried out the study, said: “Couples in which both individuals have equal levels of education are now less likely to divorce than those in which husbands have more education than their wives.
“These trends are consistent with a shift away from a breadwinner-homemaker model of marriage toward a more egalitarian model of marriage in which women's status is less threatening to men's gender identity.”
The study published in the journal American Sociological Review and reported in the Telegraph, found that couples married between 2000 and 2004 in which both individuals had the same level of education were about one-third less likely to divorce than those in which men had more academic qualifications.
“Rather than doggedly adhering to norms that wives should have lower status than their husbands, men and women are increasingly forming relationships in which women have the educational advantage - so much so that it is now more common for wives to have more education than their husbands than the reverse pattern,” says Professor Schwartz.
“The relationship between one's educational attainment, marriage formation, and risk of divorce appears to suggest that couples are adapting to the demographic reality that women have more education than men.
“Young people today strongly believe in egalitarian marriage - even if they don't always follow it in practice.”
By contrast, couples married in the 1950s in which both individuals had the same educational attainment were just as likely to divorce as couples in which husbands had more education.
Professor Schwartz added: “Overall, our results speak against fears that women's growing educational advantage over men has had negative effects on marital stability.
“Further, the findings provide an important counterpoint to claims that progress toward gender equality in heterosexual relationships has stalled.”
Women being the bigger breadwinners is a trend that has swept over into celebrity marriages too. Kate Moss, for example, earns an average £4-million a year, according to Forbes, a far greater sum than that of her musician husband Jamie Hince.
Other celebrity couples where the woman earns more than her husband include Sarah Jessica Parker and Matthew Broderick, Nicole Richie and Joel Madden and Anne Hathaway and Adam Schulman. - Daily Mail