The dating gap: why the odds are stacked against female graduates finding a like-minded man
From The Guardian 10. November 2015
here were, says Cat, perhaps one or two male students on her English degree. It was the same, she noticed, on her friends’ courses. “There were a lot of girls at my university,” she says. “You would look around tutorials or lectures and there would be one or two token guys.” While there are some degrees, particularly in science and engineering subjects, that are overwhelmingly filled with male students, the general trend in many countries is for more women to go to university than men. How great to have so many clever, educated young women spilling out every year, but there could be negative consequences, as a new book, Date-onomics, points out: there may not be enough educated men to go around.
It’s hard to write about this without sounding like you believe young women must place finding a husband above forging a successful career (I don’t), or you believe more men should be admitted to university at the expense of women to plug the husband gap (I don’t), or that marrying someone with a lower level of education is a terrible thing (I don’t believe that either). But, as the business journalist Jon Birger relates in his book Date-onomics, if an educated woman wants to form a long-term partnership with a man of similar education, the numbers are stacked against her.
Cat, who works in social media and graduated last year, says of her group of female friends, “only one of them has a boyfriend and [the others are] all really attractive, fun girls, clever, educated, and can’t find a boyfriend. It’s really odd.” She thinks it has a lot to do with dating apps such as Tinder, “where everyone’s thinking there’s something better around the corner”. But it could just be a numbers game, she says (though Birger will say these two things are linked). “Maybe because there is more choice of girls than there ever was, it’s more difficult to find a guy because the pool is smaller.”
Birger had started noticing that he was around far more single women than men. “It struck me as odd because the women seemed to have a lot more going for them [than some men he knew in relationships], which is my way of saying they were better looking and better company,” he says over the phone from New York. “This was also true of my own circle of friends outside of work – I knew a lot of single women, and my wife and I used to try to play matchmaker, but it got to a point where we didn’t know any single men any more. I wanted to figure out why.” His book (“normally I write about much more boring stuff like the stock market and energy”) set out to find out what was going on.