In the US, jewellery-store closings were up 11 per cent in 2015. This is partly due to the fact that the US marriage rate fell 16 per cent between 2000 and 2014. Men are no longer buying engagement rings and wedding rings for their intended, because they have no intended – they are not getting married.
Much ink has been split over why millennials are not getting married, but surely this is great news for feminists. We know that feminists view marriage as a patriarchal prison so one assumes the fewer people getting married the better. Not that women are too happy about this prospect considering all the articles bemoaning the lack of marriageable men – but sure when did feminists ever care about what women want? They don’t, so expect the celebrations to be big.
The other reason for the feminists to celebrate, according to this piece is the bold prediction that as women are out-graduating men “at this rate, young women’s wages will overtake men’s by 2020”. The data comes from a 2013 Pew Research report, which notes today’s young women “are the first in modern history” to start their work lives at near parity with men. As we have pointed out repeatedly in the UK, women between 20-30 already out-earn men by a small amount.
So let’s just note that shall we – 2020 is predicted to be Victory Day for the feminists, when women, finally and for the first time in history out-earn men. I doubt this will make the feminists happy – they will have to find other things to moan about to keep themselves in business, but one group who will be celebrating are the marketers.
The marketers are advising brands to change their game, now that it is women who have the resources, “the bottom line is that there’s now a huge population of young women with the means to buy luxury goods once marketed almost exclusively to men.”
This same piece really got me thinking because of the image – the hands of three women clenched around plenty of dollar notes. Brilliant and beautiful, non? But there is a lot going on here for the future of graduate women.
The college gender gap (there are far more women than men graduating college) will result in a number of sub groups. First for some lucky women who do manage to marry their fellow male graduate, a stable and happy life awaits her as part of the elite so well described by Charles Murray in Coming Apart: The State of White America. In short these nearly always married families talk a liberal talk, but in their personal lives they walk a conservative walk.
But not all these graduate men will marry as they ‘have less incentive to settle down because they are in a buyers market’, shrinking the pool of marriageable men even further.
There is a tough choice however, for the ‘surplus’ graduate women who want to marry but are left on the shelf. They must either ‘marry down’ as pointed out by Jon Birger in Date-onomics but I think it is unlikely.
It is not in their nature to do so, and secondly I doubt the men will have them, as they know in their heart of hearts the women believe these men are beneath them.
The knock on effect of this is that these graduate women must now decide whether to have children without getting married. Although many are liberal in outlook the majority will not choose this path. Again, as explained by Charles Murray and indeed Alison Wolf in the XX Factor, only a tiny percentage of graduate women have children out of wedlock.
In sum these marketers are correct – there will be a new generation of high earning women without a husband or children but most certainly with a lot of spare cash in their Birkin handbags. That sure is a revolution but whether it makes for happier women will remain to be seen.