What men and women wanted in marriage in 1939 compared to now

Narjas Zatat@Narjas_Zatat
Sunday 09 October 2016 13:45
(Picture: manifeesto/istock)

The societal expectations for marriage differ depending on cultural and historical markers.

For example, Elizabethan England valued virginity in women and wealth in men as characteristics of prospective spouses.

Data collected and compared by Max Roser on Our World in Data gives some indication about the different expectations men and women have for marriage.

Roser used data from surveys by Christie F. Boxer to compare the importance of traits like education and intelligence for spouses from 1939 and 2008.

The table below outlines his results:

Picture: Max Roser(Neilson Barnard)

Picture: Max Roser(Picture: Max Roser)

For men and women of the 21st century, ‘mutual attraction – love’ rose in the ranks from fourth (women) and fifth (men) to first place.

For women, education and intelligence went from 11th in 1939 to fourth, sociability went from 12th to sixth and good looks jumped from 14th to eighth.

Men placed more importance on their spouse wanting children (from seventh to fourth place), and both education and sociability slid into the top ten (fifth and sixth respectively).

Modern men and women place little importance on chastity and in both cases went from being in 10th place to last.

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