Letter: Love the one you're with

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The Independent Online
What rubbish Joan Smith writes about marriage. An American commentator recently described Pride and Prejudice as about "finance and romance". How true, and how little has changed.

Women remain economically disadvantaged compared to men. Men benefit in relationships from services which would otherwise have to be paid for: sex, housekeeper, accountant, childminder, personal trainer, social secretary - men pay only belatedly on divorce. The reason cohabitees split up more readily is not because they want to experiment sexually but because the richer partner (usually the man) can escape scot-free.

Bleak maybe, but true. When women earn as much as men in secure jobs with proper advancement free from the steady vindictive drip of prejudice that drives out so many we can truly say that marriage is dead.

Until then the fate of increasing numbers of women is either chronic insecurity in a string of "free" relationships or the sweated job and offensive ministrations of the DSS. Joan Smith and others like her do not represent reality for the vast and increasing army of impoverished women.

Josie Edwards

London N10

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