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Thread: Career women turn against easy divorce

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    Career women turn against easy divorce

    22-01-2006 - Roger Dobson and Holly Watt - sunday times


    THIRTY years ago educated women were at the forefront of feminist demands for liberal divorce laws. Now, however, new research from America has found their attitudes have been transformed and that the situation is likely to be echoed in Britain. According to the researchers, women with university degrees are the social group most likely to believe divorce should be made more difficult.

    At the opposite end of the social spectrum, conservative views towards marriage that prevailed in the 1970s have softened and it is now the least educated members of society who are most likely to have liberal attitudes to divorce. Researchers believe the change may have come about because many witnessed the damage caused by divorce in their parents‚ generation.

    The belief of graduate women that divorce should be made more difficult may also be influenced by a perception that family breakdown among poor families is to blame for much of the growth in crime and yobbish behaviour.

    The polarisation suggested by the findings was predicted 11 years ago by the sociologist Charles Murray in an article in The Sunday Times. He called the phenomenon „New Victorians and New Rabble", meaning that one part of society, affluent and well-educated, „will edge back towards traditional morality while a large portion of what used to be the British working class goes the way of the American underclass". Steven Martin, assistant professor of sociology at the University of Maryland, who led the new study, said: „Highly educated women in the 1970s were the most likely to say divorce should be made easier.

    They now say divorce should be made more difficult. Women who had not completed high school education have moved from being essentially neutral to having the least restrictive attitudes toward divorce.

    Experts believe the situation is likely to be similar in Britain, where divorce rates have quadrupled since 1970 and about 40% of marriages break up. London divorce lawyer Vanessa Lloyd-Platt, who has been practising for 30 years, said there was increasing social pressure for women to have successful personal lives. „There used to be a stigma but women‚s lib said, ŒBe free, you don‚t need a man. Let‚s get a divorce.‚ But very slowly there‚s been this move towards women staying at home, women looking after the children and all these women are giving up work,‰ she said. Chris Lovelock, 38, who lives in Southfields, southwest London, with her husband Julian and young son and daughter , said she detected increasingly conservative attitudes to marriage among her age group. „It (divorce) used to be acceptable because you get to a certain point in your life when things get harder and people just give up on the marriage," said Lovelock, a former IT consultant who now stays at home to look after the children. „People try harder now, because it seems giving up is copping out. Just because you don't see eye to eye for a bit doesn't mean you should just give up. Kimberly Fortier confounded predictions that her marriage to Stephen Quinn would break up after a very public affair with David Blunkett, the former cabinet minister.

    To signal the strength of their marriage, she is now known by her husband's surname. The new attitudes to divorce were drawn from an annual survey which since 1970 has questioned samples of 5,000 women aged 25-39. Respondents were asked if divorce should be made easier, more difficult or left the same. The researchers then charted the attitudes of women to divorce over 30 years according to socioeconomic class. In 1970-9, an average of 36% of women graduates said divorce should be made more difficult. In 2000-4, by contrast, the proportion had risen to 61%. Between the 1970s and 1990s there was also a 33% fall in the divorce rate for graduates in the first 10 years of marriage.

    Anastasia de Waal, the head of family and education at Civitas, the social policy think tank, said: „In the 1970s affluent women wanted to be able to feel that they could get divorced, while today women no longer think marriage and shackles are one and the same." Reforms in the early 1970s to allow „no-fault" divorces were hailed as one of the triumphs of the feminist movement, allowing thousands of women to escape claustrophobic marriages. Germaine Greer, the feminist writer and academic, wrote: „The illusion of stable family life was built on the silence of suffering women, who lived on what their husbands thought fit to give them."
    "If we were going to stand in darkness, best we stand in a darkness we had made ourselves.” ― Douglas Coupland, Shampoo Planet

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    Re: Career women turn against easy divorce

    more women with good careers and less divorce

    this is great news what more can you ask for

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    Re: Career women turn against easy divorce

    Quote Originally Posted by JoyceSS
    more women with good careers and less divorce

    this is great news what more can you ask for
    More children?
    "I do not know what horrified me most at that time: the economic misery of my companions, their moral and ethical coarseness, or the low level of their intellectual development." Adolf Hitler, Mein Kampf

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    Arrow Re: Career women turn against easy divorce

    I'll second that Jennifer. And I'll add; more stay at home mums too. Divorce rates may look like they'll begin to decline soon, but family stability is reliant on more than just couples staying together. Family structures need to ensure parental time, parental attention and security for children too. Divided families can be created in more ways than one I'm afraid.

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