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."

Start your day with The Independent, sign up for daily news emails
Voices
Barn owls are among species that could be affected
charity appeal
News
Sarah Silverman (middle) with sister Reform Rabbi Susan Silverman (right) and sister actress Laura Silverman (left) at Jerusalem's Western Wall for feminist Hanuka candle-lighting ceremony
peopleControversial comedian stages pro-equality Hanukkah lighting during a protest at Jerusalem's Wailing Wall
Arts and Entertainment
The Bach Choir has been crowned the inaugural winner of Sky Arts’ show The Great Culture Quiz
arts + ents140-year-old choir declared winner of Sky Arts' 'The Great Culture Quiz'
Sport
After another poor series in Sri Lanka, Alastair Cook claimed all players go through a lean period
cricketEoin Morgan reportedly to take over ODI captaincy
PROMOTED VIDEO
Have you tried new the Independent Digital Edition apps?
ebooks
ebooksA year of political gossip, levity and intrigue from the sharpest pen in Westminster
Latest stories from i100
Have you tried new the Independent Digital Edition apps?
Independent Dating
and  

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

iJobs Job Widget
iJobs General

Recruitment Genius: Finance Director

£65000 - £80000 per annum: Recruitment Genius: Finance Director required to jo...

Recruitment Genius: Medico-Legal Assistant

£15000 - £25000 per annum: Recruitment Genius: This is a unique opportunity fo...

Ashdown Group: (PHP / Python) - Global Media firm

£50000 per annum + 26 days holiday,pension: Ashdown Group: A highly successful...

The Jenrick Group: Quality Inspector

£27000 per annum + pension + holidays: The Jenrick Group: A Quality Technician...

Day In a Page

Homeless Veterans appeal: 'You look for someone who's an inspiration and try to be like them'

Homeless Veterans appeal

In 2010, Sgt Gary Jamieson stepped on an IED in Afghanistan and lost his legs and an arm. He reveals what, and who, helped him to make a remarkable recovery
Could cannabis oil reverse the effects of cancer?

Could cannabis oil reverse effects of cancer?

As a film following six patients receiving the controversial treatment is released, Kate Hilpern uncovers a very slippery issue
The Interview movie review: You can't see Seth Rogen and James Franco's Kim Jong Un assassination film, but you can read about it here

The Interview movie review

You can't see Seth Rogen and James Franco's Kim Jong Un assassination film, but you can read about it here
Serial mania has propelled podcasts into the cultural mainstream

How podcasts became mainstream

People have consumed gripping armchair investigation Serial with a relish typically reserved for box-set binges
Jesus Christ has become an unlikely pin-up for hipster marketing companies

Jesus Christ has become an unlikely pin-up

Kevin Lee Light, aka "Jesus", is the newest client of creative agency Mother while rival agency Anomaly has launched Sexy Jesus, depicting the Messiah in a series of Athena-style poses
Rosetta space mission voted most important scientific breakthrough of 2014

A memorable year for science – if not for mice

The most important scientific breakthroughs of 2014
Christmas cocktails to make you merry: From eggnog to Brown Betty and Rum Bumpo

Christmas cocktails to make you merry

Mulled wine is an essential seasonal treat. But now drinkers are rediscovering other traditional festive tipples. Angela Clutton raises a glass to Christmas cocktails
5 best activity trackers

Fitness technology: 5 best activity trackers

Up the ante in your regimen and change the habits of a lifetime with this wearable tech
Paul Scholes column: It's a little-known fact, but I have played one of the seven dwarves

Paul Scholes column

It's a little-known fact, but I have played one of the seven dwarves
Fifa's travelling circus once again steals limelight from real stars

Fifa's travelling circus once again steals limelight from real stars

Club World Cup kicked into the long grass by the continued farce surrounding Blatter, Garcia, Russia and Qatar
Frank Warren column: 2014 – boxing is back and winning new fans

Frank Warren: Boxing is back and winning new fans

2014 proves it's now one of sport's biggest hitters again
Jeb Bush vs Hillary Clinton: The power dynamics of the two first families

Jeb Bush vs Hillary Clinton

Karen Tumulty explores the power dynamics of the two first families
Stockholm is rivalling Silicon Valley with a hotbed of technology start-ups

Stockholm is rivalling Silicon Valley

The Swedish capital is home to two of the most popular video games in the world, as well as thousands of technology start-ups worth hundreds of millions of pounds – and it's all happened since 2009
Did Japanese workers really get their symbols mixed up and display Santa on a crucifix?

Crucified Santa: Urban myth refuses to die

The story goes that Japanese store workers created a life-size effigy of a smiling "Father Kurisumasu" attached to a facsimile of Our Lord's final instrument of torture
Jennifer Saunders and Kate Moss join David Walliams on set for TV adaptation of The Boy in the Dress

The Boy in the Dress: On set with the stars

Walliams' story about a boy who goes to school in a dress will be shown this Christmas