Debunking the Happier Housewife Theory?
posted by Sheri

A few weeks ago, John Tierney of the NYT decided, per a new study, that today's women are happier if they are taken care of financially. LA Times columnist Charlotte Allen used the same study to determine women are happier in more traditional marriages.

This week Caryl Rivers and Rosalind C. Barnett, authors of Same Difference: How Gender Myths Are Hurting Our Relationships, Our Children, and Our Jobs, debunk this idea in "Women Happier as Homemakers? Time to Recheck Data."

Here's a bit:

Over the past 15 years, some 20 studies have looked at the association between women's employment and earnings and their marital happiness.

These studies have involved different samples of people and different methods of arriving at results. But they all tell the same story: Employed women are as happy (and perhaps happier) in their marriages as non-employed women and having an income generally improves a woman's marital happiness.

And a bit more:

Overall, the picture of who is—and who isn't—happily married is very complex. Both women in paid employment and traditional homemakers may have good marriages or bad ones. But the simple scenario sketched out by the Virginia study just doesn't tell us much.

Hmmm, could it be that this marital study is flawed because, once again, no one includes the husbands as part of the marital equation? And what about asking what would make these women's lives easier and happier? Is marital happiness really a question of traditional vs. untraditional marriage alone or, in part, about living in a society that doesn't support families?

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