November 10, 2011 08:36
The percentage of Korean women who are as highly educated or more so than their husbands is growing, breaking down the traditional pecking order between couples.
Prof. Kim Kyung-keun of Korea University and Prof. Park Hyun-joon of the University of Pennsylvania analyzed some 4 million marriages on a database of first married couples registered from 1993 to 2009.
They found that in 1993, there were 77.4 percent of couples where the husband was more highly educated, but in 2007 this had dwindled to 54.3 percent. The proportion of couples where the wife was more highly educated rose from 6 percent to 10.5 percent over the same period.
The research team said the reason was that academic achievement increased much faster among women during the period. In 1993, a mere 30 percent of all married women and 45 percent of all married men were college-educated. But that rose to 69 percent of women and 70.5 percent of men, so they ended up almost level.
The team also found that smaller numbers of men and women with the same level of education tended to marry each other. In 1993, the chance of men and women finding a marriage partner with the same educational level was 5.7 times higher than the chances that they would find a partner with a different education level. But that dwindled to 3.6 times in 2007.
The team said the reasons were that women had more opportunities in jobs and education, boosting their economic power; the status of a higher education dwindled as more people went to university; and people set less store by their partner's education.
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