The working wife, long pilloried for putting career before family, has been vindicated. New research suggests that women with jobs are less likely to experience marital problems than those who stay at home.
Far from contributing to marital breakdowns, the working wife is up to 50 per cent less likely to see her marriage fall apart. The research, reported in the Journal of Family Issues, contradicts previous studies, which have blamed rising divorce rates on the increasing number of working wives.
"Wives' economic activity... contributes to the continuing resilience of marriage as a social institution," the study concludes.
Researchers speculated that the reasons for this were likely to be economic. "Wives' full-time employment increases couples' financial resources and may provide a crucial buffer during hard economic times," they say.
Separate new research on single dads has challenged the accepted wisdom that a woman is always the best partner to bring up the children, with growing numbers of new men becoming self-sufficient fathers.
According to an ongoing research programme at the University of Stirling, the new dad is just as equipped as his female counterpart to bring up children single-handedly.
Shona Hamilton, author of the study, presented her initial findings at the annual conference of the British Sociological Association on Friday and described the ways in which men make a seamless transition to single fatherhood.
The Editor: 'You have more to chat about'
Jo Elvin, 36, editor of 'Glamour' magazine, lives in London with her husband Ross Jones, a journalist, and their nine-month-old daughter, Evie.
"Having just had the experience of being on maternity leave, I realised that I missed the interaction with people in the office," said Ms Elvin. "The happier you are as an individual, the more happy you are in a relationship. The more outside stimuli that you have the more you have to chat about."Reuse content