New study: what lifestyle choices lead to happiness for women?

Marriage and family
Marriage and family

In preparation for this blog post, I read an article from a far-left source about the decline of women’s happiness.

Excerpt:

As women gain political, economic and social freedoms, one would expect that they should feel even more contented relative to men. But this isn’t so.

The “paradox of declining female happiness” was pointed out by economists Betsey Stevenson and Justin Wolfers, who also happen to share a house and kids. They analyzed the happiness trends of US citizens between 1970 and 2005 and found a surprising result.

Stevenson and Wolfers discovered that American women rated their overall life satisfaction higher than men in the 1970s. Thereafter, women’s happiness scores decreased while men’s scores stayed roughly stable. By the 1990s, women were less happy than men. This relative unhappiness softened after the turn of the century, but men continue to enjoy a higher sense of subjective wellbeing that is at least as high — if not higher — than women’s.

Those 35 years saw advances in American women’s rights and financial power.

Let’s take a look at a recent study that the Daily Wire reported on, to see what really makes women happy:

Despite the onslaught of propaganda telling young girls otherwise, a recent research paper distilling data from over 30 European countries concluded that mothers find homemaking preferable to working full-time.

Doc. PhDr. Dana Hamplová, Ph.D., a senior scientist at the Institute of Sociology, ASCR, and a current representative of the Czech Republic in the International Social Science Program, authored the paper. Addressing Betty Friedan’s narrative in the book The Feminine Mystique, which claims that women are happiest and most fulfilled at work, Hamplová “explores the link between employment and subjective well-being among mothers with children under 3 years of age,” reads the paper’s abstract.

“Analyzing multiple measures of subjective well-being, the paper shows that homemakers are generally happier than full-time workers,” the scientist found.

“Contrary to our expectations, homemaking was positively associated with happiness particularly among mothers who left higher quality employment for childcare. Though some variation across countries exists, it is not linked to the provision of formal childcare, duration of parental leave, or tax system,” Hamplová explains.

[…]”Thus, similarly to several other studies, the ESS [European Social Survey] data do not corroborate Betty Friedan’s idea that domesticity and housekeeping leaves women unhappy and unsatisfied,” she writes. “As all 12 measures of happiness/satisfaction point to the same direction, the conclusion that mothers with younger children tend to be better off if they are not engaged in paid employment seems to be robust.”

We’ve had lots of advancements in women’s power, often coming at the expense of men (i.e. – husband candidates). For example, anti-male schools staffed by feminist administrators and feminist teachers might be great for women, but they don’t produce high-earning men for women to marry. And when women vote to expand government, taxes must increase to pay for all the spending. This reduces even further the pool of men who can take on a wife and family shrinks even more because of the increased tax burden.

This article from the leftist The Atlantic explains:

In the view that has prevailed in American education over the past decade, boys are resented, both as the unfairly privileged sex and as obstacles on the path to gender justice for girls. This perspective is promoted in schools of education, and many a teacher now feels that girls need and deserve special indemnifying consideration.

[…]A review of the facts shows boys, not girls, on the weak side of an education gender gap. The typical boy is a year and a half behind the typical girl in reading and writing; he is less committed to school and less likely to go to college. In 1997 college full-time enrollments were 45 percent male and 55 percent female. The Department of Education predicts that the proportion of boys in college classes will continue to shrink.

Data from the U.S. Department of Education and from several recent university studies show that far from being shy and demoralized, today’s girls outshine boys. They get better grades. They have higher educational aspirations. They follow more-rigorous academic programs and participate in advanced-placement classes at higher rates. According to the National Center for Education Statistics, slightly more girls than boys enroll in high-level math and science courses. Girls, allegedly timorous and lacking in confidence, now outnumber boys in student government, in honor societies, on school newspapers, and in debating clubs. Only in sports are boys ahead, and women’s groups are targeting the sports gap with a vengeance. Girls read more books. They outperform boys on tests for artistic and musical ability. More girls than boys study abroad. More join the Peace Corps. At the same time, more boys than girls are suspended from school. More are held back and more drop out. Boys are three times as likely to receive a diagnosis of attention-deficit hyperactivity disorder. More boys than girls are involved in crime, alcohol, and drugs. Girls attempt suicide more often than boys, but it is boys who more often succeed. In 1997, a typical year, 4,483 young people aged five to twenty-four committed suicide: 701 females and 3,782 males.

It’s important to note that women are not victims here, they are actually the ones who created the shortage of men who could earn enough money to support a family, and allow them to stay home with their children. Their “advancements in power” came at a cost: they undermined the system that produced men who were capable of handling the financial demands of a family where the wife can raise her own children.

Look at this study of how women have voted to expand government and therefore raise taxes on working men for social programs that replace husbands:

This paper examines the growth of government during this century as a result of giving women the right to vote. Using cross‐sectional time‐series data for 1870–1940, we examine state government expenditures and revenue as well as voting by U.S. House and Senate state delegations and the passage of a wide range of different state laws. Suffrage coincided with immediate increases in state government expenditures and revenue and more liberal voting patterns for federal representatives, and these effects continued growing over time as more women took advantage of the franchise. Contrary to many recent suggestions, the gender gap is not something that has arisen since the 1970s, and it helps explain why American government started growing when it did.

Bigger government means higher taxes means men earn less money, after taxes. How are you supposed to keep your wife home to watch over the little ones when taxes are higher? You can’t.

5 thoughts on “New study: what lifestyle choices lead to happiness for women?”

  1. Yes you can keep her home when taxes are higher, you just have to sacrifice lifestyle. God didn’t say he wouldn’t take care of you if your wife wasn’t working for another man outside the home. It just ends up with being a task in prioritization.

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    1. This sounds fine until “lifestyle” impacts Christian priorities, e.g. a stay at home mom, homeschooling, Christian schools, apologetics materials, charitable giving for apologetics events, etc.

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  2. Random observations:
    My wife (who has a doctorate and works only part-time, although she took three years off after she gave birth to our oldest kid) follows a lot of homeschooling/stay-at-home blogs. She observed to me last night that a lot of the stay-at-home moms don’t have significant education (i.e., advanced degrees, and some even lack college education). Some of them are locked into being SAHM’s because they can’t find jobs that allow for “mommy hours.”

    I do think each *Christian* couple has to prayerfully consider their talents and how they might glorify God and how to be wise stewards with what they have (as well as taking into consideration the seasons of life).

    Let me unload that a bit:
    – different people have different talents: and of course, we can develop different talents over the course of our lives. God wants us to be good stewards of our talents.
    – how they might glorify God: for some people, having a lesser standard of living allows them to advance God’s kingdom better. I know of a Christian pastor (Rev. Nick Granitsas of Revere, MA: which is not a well-to-do city) — it’s lower-class. He has three biological kids and as of about a decade ago, he had adopted 32 additional kids

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  3. (oops, apologies, feel free to edit)
    Nick and his family don’t have luxury vacations and they don’t buy themselves new cars. Their vacations tend to be “go to stay at a family member’s house.” And fortunately for Nick, some of his family members have observed his dedication to honor God and family members (one is car salesman) have bought him new cars or stuff.
    – different seasons:
    When I was on my church’s Nominating Committee (which was the committee that identified and vetted new and existing elders and other elected officials such as Treasurer), I talked with one man who had two teenage sons (13, 15). He did not sense God’s calling at that time to serve as an elder (he was serving on a different committee); he wanted to be there for his two sons and be engaged in their lives. I totally respect that. A few years ago, I observed he was serving as elder and as of this year, he is serving as the chairman of the elder board.
    When we have kids, this is a season to have a different kind of ministry: to instruct and to nurture our kids.
    On a different thought, most men (and especially Christian men) that I know understand that work can be stressful. Christian men know that this is because of the Fall, it was foretold: (sections of Genesis 3:17-19)
    …cursed is the ground because of you;
    in pain you shall eat of it all the days of your life;
    thorns and thistles it shall bring forth for you;
    and you shall eat the plants of the field.
    By the sweat of your face
    you shall eat bread…

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  4. I know for my wife she had a harder time bringing home thoughts of work. That may be more common for women too.

    I can work and when I am not working I don’t spend time concerned about work things will get done the next time I get to it I try to follow the proverb concept of not worrying about tomorrow because you don’t know what the day will bring.

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