July 25, 2011 07:22
More and more women in their late 30s and early 40s marry younger men. Out of 40,389 women aged between 35 and 44 who got married last year, 14,154 or 35 percent tied the knot with younger men.
Dr. Yoo Hee-jung of the Korean Women's Development Institute said the reason is that an increasing number of women no longer depend on a husband financially. "More and more women are less restricted by age and look for the type of man they like." Nor are younger men averse to marrying older women who earn more money and lead more sophisticated and materially comfortable lives. "These days, women put a lot of effort into staying young, and they don't seem to look much older than their younger partners. TV series and films now show such couples more often, and there seems to be a growing social acceptance of unconventional partnerships," Yoo said.
The long years they spend in education tend to push up the proportion of single women. According to Chosun Ilbo analysis of the 2010 Census, 30.4 percent of women with master's degree and 36.1 percent of women with PhDs between 30 and 39 were single, a much greater proportion than the 25.7 percent among women who merely completed primary school.
Among women between 30 and 34, two out of three with a master's degree and one in two PhD holders were unmarried. Men in the same age bracket with a higher educational background were much more likely to be married.
A staffer with a matchmaking company said, "Women tend to look for men who are more qualified than they are in at least one of their own set of criteria such as education, wealth and family background. But men in their mid-30s or older want women who are at least four or five years younger, so it's difficult to match men and women in that age group."
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