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Declining Female Happiness

Lots has been written in the past few days about this recent study of women’s happiness.  In short, women are unhappier today than they were in the 1970’s.  A portion of the abstract after the break:

By many objective measures the lives of women in the United States have improved over the past 35 years, yet we show that measures of subjective well-being indicate that women’s happiness has declined both absolutely and relative to men. The paradox of women’s declining relative well-being is found across various datasets, measures of subjective well-being, and is pervasive across demographic groups and industrialized countries. Relative declines in female happiness have eroded a gender gap in happiness in which women in the 1970s typically reported higher subjective well-being than did men.

I’m curious as to why this is happening.  I doubt it’s because women are in the workplace – that’s been occurring for a long time.  (Even the godly wife from Proverbs 31 had a job!)  I would also be interested to know if the study was controlled for women who work (I suspect that it was) – but not curious enough to pay for the study!

My first thought was that it was due to materialism in modern society – but women’s happiness is declining relative to men, and men are subject to the same materialism.  More likely, we’ve blurred the distinctions between men and women in all aspects of life – work, home, even church – and failed to notice that men and women are different (though though they are made equally).

Anyone else have an idea?

Categories: John's Blogs
  1. mikewittmer
    May 25, 2009 at 10:39 am

    I don’t know if this is relevant at all, but this is a generalization that I’ve noticed from watching my daughter, who then opened my eyes to observe other women. Women seem to derive a big chunk of their happiness and well-being from men (being admired by them), than men seem to do from women. This is just an observation, and it may even be wrong, and it may have no bearing, but it’s something I’ve noticed.

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