WHY ISN'T MY DAUGHTER MARRIED? by Patricia Curtis

WHY ISN'T MY DAUGHTER MARRIED?

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KIRKUS REVIEW

A follow-up to the 1986 Harvard-Yale study of declining marriage rates among well-educated women (a.k.a. ""The Spinster Report,"" which led Newsweek to point out that a 40-year-old woman has a better chance of being hit by a terrorist's bullet than of marrying). Designed by Patricia Craig, one of the coauthors of the 1986 study, this new survey looks at the attitudes of never-married women and the pressures they face from society and from their own mothers because of their single status. As Craig points out in an introduction, the Harvard-Yale study assumed that marriage remains a woman's primary goal, even though women enjoy a larger role outside the home than ever before. Is there, Craig wondered, an element of choice in so many women's single status? To find out, she sent out two questionnaires, one for never-married daughters between the ages of 28 and 45 with at least a college education, and one for their mothers. Here, Yale grad student Curtis reports the results, some surprising, of polling the 72 women and 58 mothers: never-married women feel the kind of stigma today that divorced women did in their mothers' generation; as hard as mothers try not to pressure daughters, daughters feel great amounts of pressure from their families to marry. Do young women want to marry? For the most part, they do, but have learned to be happy--with friends, lovers, pets--despite the elusiveness of matrimony. Despite the small polling pool, this study does offer an intriguing--and, for unmarrieds, hopeful--complement to the 1986 report. And readers who dip in will be pleased to find that Curtis has done a fine job of humanizing and interpreting the raw data.

Pub Date: May 7th, 1988
Publisher: HP Books