For about 50 years radical feminists have been telling women that they don’t need men – let alone marry one – and the motherhood thing? “Well, you’ll be healthier and happier with a high-powered career.” Every dedicated feminist would probably tell you: “If in the end you decide you just have to have a family, make sure you think long and hard because bearing and rearing children is one of the main reasons why, over the centuries, women have been oppressed.”
Demographers at the Centres for Population Studies, London School of Hygiene & Tropical Medicine* are telling a different story, however. It turns out that if a woman wants to live a long and healthy life there are three things that she will want to consider.
1. Get Married.
2. Bear at least one child.
3. Stay married.
“Women divorced within the last ten years had the highest mortality relative to women in long-term first marriages. Mortality was also raised among other divorced women, all widows, the never-married and the currently remarried who had previously been divorced…”
The researchers also identified “evidence for both protection and selection effects” of marriage. Yes, those who would be most inclined to marry are more likely to have developed longevity-fostering habits and traits, but there is evidence that marriage itself bestows a protective effect upon men and women. The combination of marital protection and marital selection bestows a huge advantage in terms of longevity.
In addition, childbearing emerges as a significant predictor of longevity for women, but it appears that there may be a “sweet spot” in terms of number of children. Given the physiological strain of childbearing, it not entirely surprising that “women who had had five or more births had raised risks of mortality and of long-term illness in 1991 and 2001.” Yet, women who have never given birth “had raised mortality risks and women who had only one birth had raised odds of long-term illness in 1991.”
When you add this study to an already existing large body of research that points to the importance of marriage for women, it makes you wonder how the feminist’s distortions about what is good for women continue to make the rounds.
*Data collected in 1991 and 2001 for approximately 75,000 English and Welsh men and women ages 69 to 71.
Emily M. D. Grundy and Cecilia Tomassini, “Marital History, Health and Mortality among Older Men and Women in England and Wales,” BMC Public Health 10 (September 15, 201): Pg. 554)