Saturday, January 23, 2010

Finding Mr. Right: The Education Gap Is A Problem For LDS Women Too

Finding the right person is a problem in today's world. It doesn't matter if you're LDS or not. There have been so many changes in today's world that has made dating more difficult, confusing and frustrating.
However, the biggest change in our society today is having a huge effect on women inside and outside of the Church. What is it this change? It is the growing education gap between men and women.
The education gap results in a simple problem for women: Well-educated women inside or outside the Church can't find enough equally or better-educated men to marry.
This problem isn’t new. It has been known for a long time now.
However, a recent survey has given us fresh new data to remind us of how this problem is still with us today and how its changed the dating scene. Women are having to adjust to the fact that women are becoming better educated than men.
A Pew Research Center report released this week explains that the
"reshuffling of marriage patterns from 1970 to 2007 has occurred during a period when women's gains relative to men's have altered the demographic characteristics of potential mates. Among U.S.-born 30- to 44-year-olds, women now are the majority both of college graduates and those who have some college education but not a degree."
Richard Whitmere, in his op-ed column for the Wall Street Journal reports that:
today nearly 58% of all bachelor's degrees and 62% of associate's degrees are earned by women."
The Education Gap And Marriage
The result of more women earning college degrees than men is cause for the radical shift in the ratio of educated husbands and educated wives. The Pew Research report demonstrates how radical this change has become:
“In 1970, 28% of wives in this age range had husbands who were better educated than they were, outnumbering the 20% whose husbands had less education. By 2007, these patterns had reversed: 19% of wives had husbands with more education, versus 28% whose husbands had less education. In the remaining couples -- about half in 1970 and 2007 -- spouses have similar education levels.”
The Education Gap Is Changing The Gender Role In Marriage 
The Pew Research report also shows that the education gap is also having impact on the gender roles that take place within a marriage:
only 4% of husbands had wives who brought home more income than they did in 1970, a share that rose to 22% in 2007
The recent downturn in the U.S. Economy is solidifying the gender role changes in marriages with with men losing jobs more often than women:
"Males accounted for about 75% of the 2008 decline in employment among prime-working-age individuals (U.S. Bureau of Labor Statistics, 2009). Women are moving toward a new milestone in which they constitute half of all the employed. Their share increased from 46.5% in December 2007 to 47.4% in December 2009."
President Hinckley Speaks Out On The Growing Education Gap
As a result of the Pew Research report, I think its important to review what President Hinckley has said about this problem because it appears to be a problem within the Church too. President Hinkley, in the Priesthood session of the October 2006 General Conference points out that the education gap doesn’t begin in college but high school:
"Elder Rolfe Kerr, Commissioner of Church Education, advises me that in the United States nearly 73 percent of young women graduate from high school, compared to 65 percent of young men. Young men are more likely to drop out of school than young women."
The Prophet explained at the time that the college education gap among men and women will continue in the future:
"In 1950, 70 percent of those enrolled in college were males, and 30 percent were females; by 2010 projections estimate 40 percent will be males, and 60 percent will be females."
It is now 2010.

As a result of this growing trend, the Prophet rebuked the men of the Church for falling behind in education:
"It is plainly evident from these statistics that young women are exceeding young men in pursuing educational programs. And so I say to you young men, rise up and discipline yourself to take advantage of educational opportunities. Do you wish to marry a girl whose education has been far superior to your own?"
After his rebuke, President Hinkley ends with the important advice that husbands and wives to be equally educated:
"We speak of being “equally yoked.” That applies, I think, to the matter of education."
I think its important that both men and women ought to pursue the highest degree of education they can.
But the men of the Church have a lot of catching up to do

1 comment:

Christa Jeanne said...

Amen, amen and amen! It's really disheartening when I've got more education and career experience under my belt than pretty much all of my dating prospects. Sometimes I feel like a snob for not being jazzed at the thought of dating someone still in school, but I am just in such a different place in life! It seems like the guys who have it together in this regard also tend to get snatched up quickly.