Working women more likely to seek divorce

They are powerful and influential in the workplace, so they are not going to take any nonsense at home. Working women are more than three times more likely to be divorced than their stay-at-home counterparts, research published this week reveals.

Furthermore, the longer hours women work, the more likely they are to be divorced.

"Our findings suggest that there is something about wives' work that increases the divorce risk," say the researchers who will report their findings in the Oxford-based European Sociological Review.

Why going out to work should lead to a broken marriage is a mystery. But one possibility is that a financially-independent woman is better placed to walk out if she is unhappy, said Marilyn Stowe, one of the UK's leading divorce lawyers.

"I have noticed that if a woman goes out to work she is more likely to instigate divorce proceedings," she said. "The reason is that they are able to do it."

She added that working women have greater confidence in their ability to start again - to make new friends and find a new partner.

"You suggest going out to work to a woman who has been at home for 15 years and their response is often that of horror," she said.

With both partners increasingly going out to work to make ends meet, the findings could help explain the rising divorce rate.

The number of divorces in the UK rose in 2003 by 3.7 per cent to 166,700, the third successive annual increase.

The researchers from Vrije University in Amsterdam have other theories. They suggest that despite the increase in the number of working women, and the emergence of the "new man", wives are still under pressure to be home-makers.

"The wife's work could therefore lead to conflicts and competition, or threaten the husband's role as main provider," says the report. Another possibility is that men feel more able to divorce a financially-independent wife.

The research, based on a database of more than 2,000 people, including 1,000 divorced women, involved looking at working hours before and after divorce and quizzing the women about whether or not they anticipated their divorce. The research includes divorced women who did and who did not remarry.

"Women who work full-time have a higher risk of divorce," the researchers concluded. "Compared to non-working women, those with a full-time job have a 29 per cent higher odds of divorce. Women who work more hours are found to have a higher divorce risk."

To check that the results weren't due to women working because they were planning to divorce, the researchers asked the women how much or how little they had expected their divorce.

The results show that overall, full-time working women have a higher chance of getting divorced than non-working women.

Virginia Ironside, The Independent's agony aunt, suggested that women who go out to work have a better psychological support system.

"If you stay at home you don't have anything to judge your situation by," she said. "If you're working you can share experiences with other people and see what's going on in a visible way. You're less inclined to put up with something that you might put up with otherwise."

A model of a Neanderthal man on display at the National Museum of Prehistory in Dordogne, France
Richard Dawkins dedicated his book 'The Greatest Show on Earth' to Josh Timonen
newsThat's Richard Dawkins on babies with Down Syndrome
Arts and Entertainment
Eye of the beholder? 'Concrete lasagne' Preston bus station
architectureWhich monstrosities should be nominated for the Dead Prize?
Have you tried new the Independent Digital Edition apps?
ebooksAn evocation of the conflict through the eyes of those who lived through it
Dinosaurs Unleashed at the Eden Project
Arts and Entertainment
Life and Style
This month marks the 20th anniversary of the first online sale
techDespite a host of other online auction sites and fierce competition from Amazon, eBay is still the most popular e-commerce site in the UK
Travel Shop
the manor
Up to 70% off luxury travel
on city breaks Find out more
Up to 70% off luxury travel
on chic beach resorts Find out more
sardina foodie
Up to 70% off luxury travel
on country retreats Find out more
Have you tried new the Independent Digital Edition apps?
Independent Dating

By clicking 'Search' you
are agreeing to our
Terms of Use.

iJobs Job Widget
iJobs General

Quantitative Analyst (Financial Services, Graduate, SQL, VBA)

£45000 per annum: Harrington Starr: Quantitative Analyst (Financial Services, ...

Application Support Engineer (C++, .NET, VB, Perl, Bash, SQL)

Negotiable: Harrington Starr: Application Support Engineer (C++, .NET, VB, Per...

C# .NET Software Developer (Client-Side, SQL, VB6, WinForms)

Negotiable: Harrington Starr: C# .NET Software Developer (Client-Side, SQL, VB...

C# Developer (Genetic Algorithms, .NET 4.5, TDD, SQL, AI)

£40000 - £60000 per annum + Benefits + Bonus: Harrington Starr: C# Developer (...

Day In a Page

Middle East crisis: We know all too much about the cruelty of Isis – but all too little about who they are

We know all too much about the cruelty of Isis – but all too little about who they are

Now Obama has seen the next US reporter to be threatened with beheading, will he blink, asks Robert Fisk
Neanderthals lived alongside humans for centuries, latest study shows

Final resting place of our Neanderthal neighbours revealed

Bones dated to 40,000 years ago show species may have died out in Belgium species co-existed
Scottish independence: The new Scots who hold fate of the UK in their hands

The new Scots who hold fate of the UK in their hands

Scotland’s immigrants are as passionate about the future of their adopted nation as anyone else
Britain's ugliest buildings: Which monstrosities should be nominated for the Dead Prize?

Blight club: Britain's ugliest buildings

Following the architect Cameron Sinclair's introduction of the Dead Prize, an award for ugly buildings, John Rentoul reflects on some of the biggest blots on the UK landscape
eBay's enduring appeal: Online auction site is still the UK's most popular e-commerce retailer

eBay's enduring appeal

The online auction site is still the UK's most popular e-commerce site
Culture Minister Ed Vaizey: ‘lack of ethnic minority and black faces on TV is weird’

'Lack of ethnic minority and black faces on TV is weird'

Culture Minister Ed Vaizey calls for immediate action to address the problem
Artist Olafur Eliasson's latest large-scale works are inspired by the paintings of JMW Turner

Magic circles: Artist Olafur Eliasson

Eliasson's works will go alongside a new exhibition of JMW Turner at Tate Britain. He tells Jay Merrick why the paintings of his hero are ripe for reinvention
Josephine Dickinson: 'A cochlear implant helped me to discover a new world of sound'

Josephine Dickinson: 'How I discovered a new world of sound'

After going deaf as a child, musician and poet Josephine Dickinson made do with a hearing aid for five decades. Then she had a cochlear implant - and everything changed
Greggs Google fail: Was the bakery's response to its logo mishap a stroke of marketing genius?

Greggs gives lesson in crisis management

After a mishap with their logo, high street staple Greggs went viral this week. But, as Simon Usborne discovers, their social media response was anything but half baked
Matthew McConaughey has been singing the praises of bumbags (shame he doesn't know how to wear one)

Matthew McConaughey sings the praises of bumbags

Shame he doesn't know how to wear one. Harriet Walker explains the dos and don'ts of fanny packs
7 best quadcopters and drones

Flying fun: 7 best quadcopters and drones

From state of the art devices with stabilised cameras to mini gadgets that can soar around the home, we take some flying objects for a spin
Joey Barton: ‘I’ve been guilty of getting a bit irate’

Joey Barton: ‘I’ve been guilty of getting a bit irate’

The midfielder returned to the Premier League after two years last weekend. The controversial character had much to discuss after his first game back
Andy Murray: I quit while I’m ahead too often

Andy Murray: I quit while I’m ahead too often

British No 1 knows his consistency as well as his fitness needs working on as he prepares for the US Open after a ‘very, very up and down’ year
Ferguson: In the heartlands of America, a descent into madness

A descent into madness in America's heartlands

David Usborne arrived in Ferguson, Missouri to be greeted by a scene more redolent of Gaza and Afghanistan
BBC’s filming of raid at Sir Cliff’s home ‘may be result of corruption’

BBC faces corruption allegation over its Sir Cliff police raid coverage

Reporter’s relationship with police under scrutiny as DG is summoned by MPs to explain extensive live broadcast of swoop on singer’s home