A study by Law Professor Robin Fretwell Wilson of Washington & Lee University, based on a National Science Foundation survey of more than 100,000 professionals, shows that young female legal professionals have slightly higher divorce rates than their male counterparts.
"Women with legal [...] degrees divorce less often than those with only bachelor's degrees, but are still more likely to divorce or separate than their male counterparts."
Additionally, Prof. Wilson found that female professionals abstain from marriage at double and sometimes nearly triple the rate of men.
For years, the media has extensively chronicled the "opt-out revolution" in which female professionals are exiting the workplace in larger numbers.
Judging from the findings of this study, it seems that the same story repeats itself every year for each new class of newly graduating young professional women. Working in law firms and legal departments, trying to navigate taxing careers in which they have heavily invested, while also realizing personal dreams indeed seems a particularly big challenge for many women.
The study shows that for an important segment of young women professionals, work and family seem like either-or propositions.
Not helping are massive student debt loads, stagnating salaries due to the lingering economic crisis, lengthened promotion cycle, and old-fashioned law firm cultures. All these factors continue to set career and family goals on a collision course for many women.
An interesting study and a reminder that many women have to be and are inventive in finding ways around the gender-specific pressures of our time.
Anita Raghavan, Women M.B.A.s More Likely To Divorce Than Men , The Wall Street Journal.
Debra Cassens Weiss, Women Lawyers Have Higher Divorce Rates, Need Loving Husbands, Researcher Says, Aba Journal.
Robin Fretwell Wilson,Keeping Women in Business (and Family),Washington & Lee Legal Studies Paper No. 2008-34.