In societies with patriarchal foundations, women have always been encouraged to use their youth and beauty to find a husband with resources rather than use their intelligence and skills to command resources of their own. It is only now, and that too in developed societies, that women have both the opportunities and sanction to become successful themselves rather than merely latch onto successful partners. And yet many women still believe that in the end landing a rich husband pays off more slogging at a job yourself – and here are a few reasons why.$MM-DATING3-OPTIN$
Division of labor
While educational and economic opportunities have expanded considerably for women, changes in social and gender equations have not been able to keep pace, especially in newly developed societies. Girls may be given the same education as boys and women encouraged to work alongside men, but women are still primarily responsible for managing a home and children. It is this stress of juggling a home and a career that wreaks havoc on the emotional and physical well-being of women to the extent that they are – in absence of proper support network like parents – unable to keep both and are forced to give up one in the end. Seeing these hassles of working and married women, many single women take the decision not to venture into such stormy waters at all – they believe that if they focus on a single sphere of life they can better off – thus looking for a rich husband ensures material resources as well as a life of comfort while she can concentrate on looking after the house and kinds. This arrangement is the most common in the world and has all the sound economic backing of division of labor. These women approach the position of a home-maker as a professional and are able to give their best to their ‘job’, for which they are suitably compensated by rich husbands and the ample resources at their disposal.
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Bringing up kids
The oldest reason in the world why the female sex continues to look for a mate with sufficient resources is survival of the offspring. In primitive times, women looked for mates, like the best hunter, with whom her children would have the best chance of survival and success. And while things are no longer as they were during the birth of civilization, many women still prefer to settle down with rich partners so as to have and bring up children without the least financial difficulty. Single mothers who have to earn a living as well as take care of kids know the kind of stress that results from such a situation and many women wish to avoid that by looking for a rich husband at the outset. It is only when a woman is at their peak of her physical and emotional health that she can best give birth to and take care of babies and as the wife of a rich husband, she has the best chances for doing so.
A life of comfort
Even when having and bringing up kids is not part of the equation, many women still prefer marrying a rich husband rather than working as a professional herself. Even in these times of female emancipation and larger-than-ever participation of women in the labor force, the fact that women want to marry successful partners comes as no surprise. A 2011 article in The Daily Telegraph1 mentions a report researched at the London School of Economics and published by the Centre for Policy Studies, according to which women are more determined than ever to bag a partner who will improve their financial prospects. These women would only be too happy to turn a deaf ear to notions of gender equality and chuck a high-flying career, if it meant a rich partner meeting their every need and comfort. Apparently in the 1940s, 20 per cent of British women “married up.” By the 1990s that had climbed to 38 per cent, with a similar pattern in Europe, the US and Australia. And even though this includes problematic terms like ‘marrying up’ and could be equally explained by social mobility, there seems no disputing the general wish that “women continue to use marriage as an alternative or supplement to their employment careers,” according to the report’s author, Catherine Hakim, a senior research fellow in sociology.
Women looking for rich husbands as a way of bettering their own financial situation are nothing new – traditionally patriarchy has taught women to use their youth and beauty to snag a rich mate instead of using their own skills to become financially independent. What eventually brought women around to the latter position was the realization that the job of a homemaker came with its own pitfalls. For one, the husband could well be a capricious employer – while today he may lavish resources on his wife, tomorrow he may take a fancy to another woman and channel his resources elsewhere. This especially became relevant with the passage of time when the wife would lose her youth and beauty – her chief bargaining chips in the marriage – while the husband’s resources would remain the same, indeed even increase. This form of arrangement put the wife as risk of being redundant that she could only escape by using her children with the husband as leverage. Also since her husband was her only provider, she was forced to endure all forms of ill-treatment ranging from emotional and domestic abuse to physical and sexual violence. Another drawback of the arrangement was that in event of the husband losing his life, health or earning power, the wife and the whole family were thrown at the mercy of extended family members or the wife was forced to take up socially unacceptable means of livelihood – like a domestic maid or a prostitute. Even though this would the only way to fend for the family, eventually they ended up as social outcasts.
It was chiefly to avoid such exigencies that women gradually found it wiser to use their own skills and earn their own livelihood instead of looking for a rich partner. Modern society however has devised many laws for protection of women’s rights even when they are home-makers, stay-at-home moms and do not command financial resources of their own. Today most legal systems of a civil society have laws for providing alimony, child support for women from broken marriages and even offer shelter as well as financial help to those who have been left by their husbands. Even more elaborate safeguards are built into progressive legal systems for the protection of women’s rights. All this has made women feel much safer and they now know that if treated badly by their husbands, they can take recourse to the law. This is another reason why women despite being skilled themselves are looking to settle with rich partners instead of joining the public workforce.