In 2011, David Willetts (UK Un

In 2011, David Willetts (UK Universities Minister) caused a
minor political disturbance when he claimed that if workingclass men were
failing in the competition for jobs and university places, it was largely due
to the advancement of women. In his ‘feminism trumped egalitarianism’ thesis he
clearly links low rates of class-related social mobility to the transformation
of the gendered labour market: One of the things that happened over that period
was that the entirely admirable transformation of opportunities for women meant
that with a lot of the expansion of education in the 1960s, 70s and 80s, the
first beneficiaries were the daughters of middle-class families who had
previously been excluded from educational opportunities . . . And if you put
that with what is called ‘assortative mating’ – that well-educated women marry
well-educated men – this transformation of opportunities for women ended up
magnifying social divides. It is delicate territory because it is not a bad
thing that women had these opportunities, but it widened the gap in household
incomes because you suddenly had two-earner couples, both of whom were
well-educated, compared with often workless households where nobody was educated.

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