Monday, September 20, 2021

College-educated women marrying later

In the not so distant past it might have been the norm for me and my friends to possibly be walking down the aisle saying, “I do” before our careers were even started.

But the millennials are now focusing on themselves, their careers and getting married later in life.

Later-in-life marriages specifically benefit women who, while single, have the opportunity to advance in their careers, thus having higher salaries as well as valuable attributes.

“Women who are in the work force for a long time while single learn to be independent,” said Olivia O’Donnell, professor of political science. “They learn to value their accomplishments and what they bring to the marketplace.”

She also said young, married women in the work force are less likely to ask for raises or to leave a position they are not happy in due to the fact that they have another person, and maybe children, that they feel they need to provide for.

“Young singles in the marketplace have less to lose,” O’Donnell said. “They can work extra hours and jump from job to job since they have the flexibility and mobility to do so, which is important when being considered for promotions.”

An article in The Atlantic notes that college-educated women who married after age 30 made 56 percent more than college-educated women who married before age 20.

Economic reasons may also be at play when it comes to women marrying later in life.

O’Donnell, who married at the age of 34, said women no longer marry in order to be protected by their husbands. Instead they find someone they love and are compatible with.

Women want to be economically independent and work hard to be able to be just that, working toward their careers as well as promotions and higher salaries while young and single.

When a woman gets married, however, her assets combine with her spouse. A Marie Claire article, published in August of last year, points out that finances are likely to be high if married young because piles of student debt, on both ends, would need attention.

“The modern woman wants to stand on her own two feet and have her own bank account in order before she starts sharing with someone else,” the article states.

However, cohabiting among couples that are not married has gone from five million couples in 2006 to eight million in 2014, according to the Census Bureau, keeping rent and utility costs low.

PSUC senior Courtney Burdowski, 22, said she couldn’t imagine getting married anytime in the near future.

“I plan on attending medical school after graduation,” she said. “And hopefully having a steady job and finances before I get married.”

Not only are women getting married later in life, they are also waiting to have children. The average age of a woman when they give birth to their first child is 30.

Though some women may be fortunate enough to receive paid maternity leave, this isn’t the case in all states. A lot of companies don’t offer paid leave for new mothers, which most people can’t afford.

“Not a lot of people now can be stay-at-home parents,” O’Donnell said. “Very few families can survive on one income because of taxes, healthcare, mortgages and even transportation and food.”

However, she said that women are lucky to be able to embrace both lifestyles: that of the mom and the career-oriented woman.

Women are no longer in such a rush to get married as they have been in the past, as they are more career-orientated and independent.

O’Donnell believes that marriages are more about choice and being with someone who is your equal today than they were years ago.

Email Tawnee Bradham at tawnee.bradham@cardinalpointsonline.com.

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