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Educated Women Will Doom Us All

Educated Women Will Doom Us All

Last weekend’s Wall Street Journal featured an article titled, “A Good Man Is Getting Even Harder to Find.”

The subheading was “The future of mating looks grim as more educated women compete for fewer eligible males.”

The premise of the article is that, with women earning the majority of bachelor’s and master’s degrees, there are fewer “eligible” husbands for them, eligibility being defined by educational level. (The article assumed and discussed only straight women, by the way.)

The reason, the author claims, is that in choosing partners, “Men are notoriously undiscriminating; women, obviously more refined and sophisticated, are more choosy.”

To buttress this view, the author cites data from a post by the dating app Hinge. Women who use the app concentrate their “likes” among fewer men, while men “like” a broader range of women.

Looks like we’re all doomed. End-of-species stuff, right?

SallieDistressed

(Quick question: Did I look “obviously more refined and sophisticated” just now?)

But, wait, before we all revert to 1954, I have a few questions:

I’ve read and reread the original article from Hinge. The data scientist they interviewed notes that women concentrate their “likes” among fewer men, based on their “attractiveness,” but didn’t define what women find to be attractive. Perhaps it’s physical attractiveness? Or a fun-sounding description of oneself?? Or what the men like to eat (apparently, fried chicken scores high)??? It could be men’s level of education, I guess. But the article doesn’t mention education. Not once.

And the Wall Street Journal (inadvertently? willfully?) ignores the solution that Hinge gives men to overcome women’s “choosiness.” Because Hinge’s data also shows that straight women are attracted to men who meaningfully engage with them. As soon as men form authentic connections with women on the app, that supposed “attractiveness inequality” stops mattering.

Huh. Well, who would have guessed?

(Straight) women like men who engage with them on a meaningful level. Go figure. (But somehow, the Wall Street Journal goes instead with the conclusion that “the future of mating looks grim.”)

This worldview — in which women must hold themselves back from their full potential in order to attract a mate, and in which men must shoulder the disproportionate burden of supporting the family, even if they don’t want to — is pretty regressive.

Perhaps that’s not surprising, given that it comes from the newspaper of record for Wall Street — the investing industry is hardly known for its diversity and its progressiveness.

But I’d ask this: Who is this worldview bad for?

Answer: All of us. And our economy, and our society, and our families. Things that the Wall Street Journal should very much care about.

And maybe — just maybe — women are becoming more educated in an attempt to address the pay gap, which still isn’t closing anytime soon. Maybe we could start talking a little more about income inequality, rather than dwelling on so-called attractiveness inequality. And maybe when we’re more equal there, everything else will fall into place.

In sharp contrast to this look backward, last week Melinda Gates pledged to invest $1 billion ($1 BILLION!!!) to help move the world forward by promoting gender equality. The money will be used to do three crucial things:

  • Dismantle the barriers to women’s professional advancement
  • Fast-track women in sectors with an outsized impact on our society
  • Mobilize shareholders, consumers, and employees to amplify external pressure on companies and organizations in need of reform

I’d rather live in Melinda’s world than the one that the Wall Street Journal seems to mourn. I’d rather my daughter live in that world. I’d rather my son live in that world.

(Full disclosure: Melinda Gates’ Pivotal Ventures is an investor in Ellevest. Further full disclosure: We stan her. Honestly, stark raving fans over here.)

CO-FOUNDER & CEO, ELLEVEST


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