From The New York Times:
Five or six years ago, my mother and I sat in a darkened theater talking about a couple we knew. The wife was an executive with Ivy League degrees. The husband had some nebulous part-time job, but mostly he stayed home with the kids. What, I wondered, does he have that’s attractive to her? There was a pause. Sperm, my mother replied. Today, that conversation is as obsolete as “The Feminine Mystique.” For one, as The New York Times recently reported, more women are having children without marrying. In 2009 more than half of all births to women under 30 occurred outside marriage — an institution that is losing popularity in historic proportions.
Male underemployment, the surge in women’s economic fortunes and the decline in marriage swirled into a meme in 2010, when an article in The Atlantic asked, “What if the modern, postindustrial economy is simply more congenial to women?” The next year, the magazine ran a long essay in which the writer observed that the pool of those considered “traditionally ‘marriageable’ men” — the highly educated, the financially secure — was “radically shrinking.” This is the terrain Liza Mundy strides into in her ambitious new book, “The Richer Sex.” Mundy predicts that women’s economic rise above men, which she calls “The Big Flip” — one of several cutesy terms she uses, along with “breadwomen,” her word for female breadwinners — will benefit everyone. “Women’s earnings will bring about a new liberation for women but also for men,” she writes. “More women will marry down; more men will marry up.” (Sounds like something that happened on “Downton Abbey.”)