To the great delight of the vast majority of men, it appears the days of women setting their sights on marrying ‘above themselves’ are over.
The attractions of the Mr Darcys of this world are waning as women become better educated and better paid, research has found.
Indeed modern women could hardly be further from the likes of Pride and Prejudice’s Elizabeth Bennet and her scheming to net Mr Darcy – not just the man she loved but, crucially, a wealthy aristocrat.
Going out of fashion? Research by the IPPR thinktank has shown that more brides are now 'marrying down' than 'marrying up'
Analysing how female aspirations have changed over the past 50 years the researchers found women in their late twenties and early thirties are increasingly marrying ‘beneath themselves’ by opting for men of lower social classes.
The study by the Institute for Public Policy Research adds weight to the idea that today’s economically independent women are freer to marry for love rather than to further themselves.
The think-tank says the proportion of those ‘marrying down’ – such as the Queen’s granddaughter Zara Phillips who is now wed to former England rugby player Mike Tindall – has exceeded those ‘marrying up’ for the first time. The study found 28 per cent of women born between 1976 and 1981 married men who were less educated and worse paid than them. In 1958, the figure was 23 per cent.
Of the women born between 1976 and 1981, only 16 per cent married up and more than half (56 per cent) married someone of the same class, defined by the IPPR as someone in a similar occupation.
Guy Ritchie may have noble ancestors, but Madonna, born into a working class family, had the economic means to marry for love
In 1958, 39 per cent married someone of the same class and 38 per cent married up.
The research also showed that while attitudes towards marrying across social class have changed, those towards age have become more entrenched.
Most women marry men who are older than them and are more likely to do so than those of previous generations.
Richard Darlington of the IPPR said: ‘In the 60s, women working in highly segregated offices in junior clerical roles fell in love with men in senior positions and “married the boss”.
‘By the 70s and 80s, women had moved into more senior positions themselves and were marrying men in similar professional categories. By the 90s, the toy boy phenomenon was at its height and by the noughties age was no longer a social taboo.
‘Women are still marrying older men from the same social class as themselves, but for the first time, the proportion marrying down is higher than the proportion marrying up, and one in five women are now marrying men who are seven or more years older than them.’
Official figures last week showed 52 per cent of women aged 17-30 went into higher education compared with 42 per cent of men.
Breaking ranks: Princess Anne's daughter Zara Phillips, pictured at her wedding to Mark Tindall, is one of a growing number of brides to choose a husband from a lower social class
Read more: http://www.dailymail.co.uk/news/article-2126787/Why-more-women-marrying-down.html#ixzz1rVgmj3Rx