When it comes to ending a marriage, the longstanding trend here in the U.S. — dating all the way back to the 1940s — has been that women are more likely than men to initiate a divorce. Given how far society has come since that time in terms of gender equality, one might think that these numbers have balanced out over the ensuing decades, such that men are now just as likely as women to exit an unhappy marriage.
Interestingly enough, a recently released study by researchers at Stanford University reveals that women are still far more likely to pursue a divorce and that their reasons for doing so can still be traced to longstanding views about gender roles.
After analyzing the results of a 2009 to 2015 survey that asked 2,262 adults — both married and unmarried — a series of questions about their relationships, the researchers found that women initiated divorce 69 percent of the time while men initiated divorce just 31 percent of the time.
According to the authors, the reasons for this trend can likely be traced to the fact that despite all of the progress made in gender equality outside of the marital home, the vestiges of traditional spousal roles can still be found inside the marital home and this can prove to be a major source of resentment among women.
In particular, the researchers identified shared responsibilities like housework as becoming a point of contention between spouses.
Indeed, statistics from the U.S. Department of Labor show that while only 20 percent of married men perform daily housework, close to 50 percent of married women perform daily housework.
In light of this reality, family experts indicate that couples must do more than simply pledge to split household responsibilities evenly prior to walking down the aisle. Rather, they must make a concerted effort to maintain an ongoing dialogue about this and other issues so as to avoid a buildup of tensions that culminates in the filing of divorce papers.
If you would like to learn more about the divorce process or divorce-related issues like child custody, please consider speaking with an experienced legal professional as soon as possible.