For Immediate Release
Contact: Virginia Rutter / Framingham State University Sociology
email@example.com / 206 375 4139
CCF PRESS ADVISORY: It Got Better! Data show gender revolution’s benefits to families
August 25, 2015 / Austin, TX: A briefing report by University of Maryland demographer Frances Goldscheider, prepared for the Council on Contemporary Families, summarizes new research suggesting that women’s fight for equality, which initially destabilized family life, now represents the best way forward for family well-being. The new brief, Gender Revolution and the Restabilization of Family Life, is being circulated in time for August 26, Women’s Equality Day.
Three recent eras, profiled in the report, illustrate how times have changed:
Pre-1970s: The Bad Old Good Ol’ Days. Think Mad Men–right before women gained parity with men in higher education, and when women had few options to support themselves outside marriage and few rights within marriage. Even most unhappy marriages were “stable” because people had few alternatives.
From the 1970s until the early 2000s: An Awkward Transition. In this time, women were changing their expectations and options–but men were not catching up. The result was conflict, disappointment, and unhappiness. Research suggested that women who pursued higher education or careers found it hard to get or stay married; marital partners who shared earning or housework had less sex; and all sorts of other things that said: Go back! The Gender Revolution will hurt you.
Since the 2000s: Equality Works! Goldscheider reports that among couples and in countries that have made the most progress toward gender equality, family life has restabilized. Research reveals declining divorce rates, improved sex lives, and greater satisfaction among married couples that share earning, housework, and parenting. Extending gender equality may even be the best hope for halting the fertility decline that has occurred since women entered the workforce. (To wit, another new, cross-national study showed that when parents’ life satisfaction declines after a first birth—often the consequence of low levels of support–this depresses the chances of having more children.) Read the CCF report to learn more about the times when It Got Better.
This CCF report builds upon Goldscheider’s recent Population and Development Review article and other new research. Stephanie Coontz, CCF’s Director of Research and Education, noted, “Goldscheider’s brief adds to the accumulating evidence that many of the problems families face today exist not because feminism has gone too far but because it has not yet gone far enough. Men, women, and children will benefit if we complete the gender revolution — making it easier for women to integrate work and family life and for men to ‘lean in’ at home.”
This trend is not going away: This weekend in Chicago, CCF senior scholar Dan Carlson also presented on how women’s equality now leads to more stability in marriages, among those contracted from the 1990s to the present. Read about his American Sociological Association meeting presentation about the sex lives of couples who share childcare, and see related evidence about housework, sex, and the stabilizing effects of equality.
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Contact: Stephanie Coontz, CCF Director of Research and Public Education and Professor of History and Family Studies at The Evergreen State College firstname.lastname@example.org; cell 360-556-9223.
The Council on Contemporary Families, based at the University of Texas-Austin, is a nonprofit, nonpartisan organization of family researchers and practitioners that seeks to further a national understanding of how America’s families are changing and what is known about the strengths and weaknesses of different family forms and various family interventions.
The Council helps keep journalists informed of notable work on family-related issues via the CCF Network. To join the CCF Network, or for further media assistance, please contact Stephanie Coontz, Director of Research and Public Education, at email@example.com, cell 360-556-9223.
Follow: @CCF_Families and https://www.facebook.com/contemporaryfamilies
DATE: August 25, 2015