For the last three decades women have outpaced men in graduating from college in the United States. With women drastically outnumbering men in their age groups, it is having a tremendous impact on dating and relationships as most people prefer to marry equally educated partners. But it is becoming increasingly difficult for women to find eligible marriage partners. According to an American Council of Education report published in January of 2010, Undergraduate enrollment and degree distribution is 43% male and 57% female; however, women account for 60% of graduate school enrollment. So what does this gender gap mean for women who have attained graduate degrees? Has getting a higher education sabotaged their chances of finding a suitable husband?
The majority of my girlfriends (myself included) who have yet to be married, have obtained graduate degrees and have found finding “Mr. Right” to be a challenge. While several of them are open-minded and will date a guy at almost any academic level, many of them feel having an advanced degree puts them at a disadvantage when dating. They believe their degree intimidates men and makes them feel insecure. Rather than being seen as a strong teammate and companion, men see it as a threat to their manhood and would rather date someone who is not as educated. One of my girlfriends in particular hates for a guy to know in the beginning of a relationship that she has a doctorate degree and says, “It’s better for me to have a STD than a PHD. At least a guy knows what to do with a STD. He’ll say, ok well we can do some things, but maybe not everything. But a girl with a PHD, he doesn’t know what to do with that.”
As a woman who has many highly educated and open-minded male friends, I decided to ask them about this. Did they truly feel threatened by a woman who had an advanced degree? While some said, “No” and thought of it as an asset to the relationship, one man even stating, “Not only do I prefer to be with someone who is intelligent but she’s going to be the mother of my children. She’s going to be our children’s first teacher.” Others agreed it did intimidate them. Another man stating, “Yea, she’s going to expect more and demand more. I’m not down for all of that.”
What do you think? Does a woman’s education have an effect on her marital status? How much of a role does a person’s educational level play in your decision to seriously date or marry them?