Study: Women Are Successful When Men Are Scarce

A study conducted by researchers at the University of Minnesota and the University of Texas at San Antonio found that when there are fewer single men, the percentage of women in high-paying careers increases.

Turns out, one way to help women be successful is to keep them away from men.

A study conducted by the University of Minnesota and the University of Texas at San Antonio (UTSA) found that when men are scarce, women delay having children and instead pursue high-paying careers. Findings of the study were released Monday.

“Most women don't realize it, but an important factor in a woman's career choice is how easy or difficult it is to find a husband,” Kristina Durante, assistant professor of marketing at the UTSA College of Business, said in a statement. “When a woman's dating prospects look bleak-as is the case when there are few available men-she is much more likely to delay starting a family and instead seek a career.”

The study's researchers examined the ratio of single men to single women in each U.S. state and in Washington, D.C., and found that as bachelors became scarce, the percentage of women in high-paying careers increased. Women in such careers also have fewer kids when they finally decide to start a family, the study found.

Researchers also discovered that when women attending college are led to believe that there are fewer men than women on campus, they become more motivated to pursue ambitious careers rather than start a family.

“A scarcity of men leads women to invest in their careers because they realize it will be difficult to settle down and start a family,” Vlad Griskevicius, a coauthor of the study and assistant professor of marketing at the University of Minnesota's Carlson School of Management, said in a statement. “In fact, the strongest effects were found for women who are least likely to secure a mate.”

But the irony is that it only gets harder for women to find husbands as they become more educated and earn higher salaries, according to Durante.

“This is because a woman's mating standards keep increasing as she becomes more educated and wealthy, which further decreases the number of suitable mates,” Durante said. “More than ever before, modern women are increasingly forced to make tough choices, such as choosing briefcase over baby.”

A recent report produced by St. Catherine University and the Minnesota Women's Economic Roundtable found that out of 808 board seats that were available in 2011 at the state's 100 largest public companies, women held only 115.