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Women in Science Shouldn't Marry Economists

Since most women in the sciences and quantitative fields fit a recent definition of "career women" in Forbes Magazine, you'll be interested to learn that Forbes editor Michael Noer suggests men avoid marrying a career woman.

The internet is afire with the controversy of Noer's editorial, originally published Tuesday. In it, he uses social science to support his basic argument, which is that career women are more likely to divorce than homemakers. Apparently, men are simply passive objects in marriage. Sorry, guys.

I'm delighted, though, to have Noer's advice on this point, since I, as a career woman (that is, a university-level educated woman who works 35 or more hours a week out of the home, making more than $30,000 annually) am always interested in hearing what the "experts" advise for my male peers. Let's see what we can learn today.

According to Noer, "successful men... are attracted to women with similar goals and aspirations." Well! This is good news. Last I'd heard, men were intimidated by successful women. It's hard to keep track, I'll admit, but thanks to the crack reporting of folks like Noer and Maureen Dowd, it can be done.

Noer goes on to point out that the value of a marriage is lower for both partners if they both work outside the home. Thus, he concludes, in order to make the marriage valuable, someone should stay home, and it goes without saying that "someone" should be the wife. Great! What else can I expect from marriage?

Well, to keep the marriage valuable to me, all the family income should come from my husband, which should keep me from leaving him for any frivolous reason, since I won't be financially independent. And since I'll be working at home, I won't have much chance to meet other men who might catch my wandering eye and convince me that my cavemanhusband might not be the best match for me. Never mind that the same data that suggests that I will be more likely to wander if I'm highly educated and self-supporting also tells me that my potential husband is similarly more likely to do so, if he matches the same categories of education and income. I suppose if I'm a housewife, that's simply my burden to bear, as tradition dictates.

On the bright side, Noer does point out that correlation and causation are not the same thing, which warms the cockles of this data geek's heart. Still, though, it sure does sound like he's confused on that point. It sounds like Noer could use a bit of remedial training in the quantitative fields, himself.