In the 1950s, only one out of three women were participating in the workforce, which meant the other two either maintained the household for their husbands or acted as stay-at-home mothers for their children.
The percentage has dramatically risen as working mothers are the standard, with over 70% of mothers working a fulltime position in 2018. It makes people wonder what happens when women start climbing the career ladders over their husbands?
The punishment of promotions for married women
According to a study from the American Economic Association, researchers found that the probability for divorce doubles for women after a promotion, but stays the same for men. When analyzing why the probability increases, experts suggested a few possible explanations:
- Increased tension surrounding family – Even in progressive countries like Sweden, women are still expected to be the primary caregiver for their children. If a woman starts prioritizing her career, she will likely experience additional tension between her and her co-parent.
- A reversal in gender roles – The research also suggested that there could be more conflict if a woman becomes the primary breadwinner for the household due to societal expectations for men. Household chores and parental duties may shift more towards the husband if the wife is at work.
- Expectations set for hard-working spouses – An interesting theory was men might find it more difficult to be with high-performing wives versus women married to high-performing men. Researchers couldn’t say this was proven because the study didn’t account for who initiated the divorce.
While these factors could explain the increasing chances of divorce, it’s also possible that these women may not have the right partner for their lifestyle. The study suggests that women tend to marry older men who start with more money and grow resentful as their partner starts to surpass them.
In these cases, it might be best for women to end the relationship and find a partner who supports their ambition and career goals because your significant other should lift you up, not tear you down.