Greater gender equality leads to divorce. Women’s increased earning power leads to divorce. Men shouldering the burden of household chores leads to lower marital satisfaction and increased risk of divorce.
These are just a few examples of handwringing in the popular press about why women, and to a lesser extent men, are choosing divorce over what seem to be perfectly good marriages. It used to be that a woman would stick with her husband unless he was abusing her or cheating on her. Nowadays, women leave perfectly kind, helpful husbands for reasons that seem mysterious.
There are many theories floating around about why greater gender equality have not put an end to divorce in America. Underlying most of these theories is an acknowledgment that expectations about marriage have changed. Prior to the late 20th century, it was difficult for women to prosper financially, express their sexuality or have children outside of…
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