If you’re a woman anywhere around the world, we can all connect to being asked at least once a question we dread: “When will you get married/settle down?” or something along the lines of “When will it be your turn?” in reference to being married or having children.
According to behavioral scientist Paul Dolan, the traditional measures of happiness that women are often bound to their entire lives are inaccurate. According to surveys that were included in Dolan’s book Happy Ever After women tend to be happier without children or a spouse. These surveys compared levels of happiness for those who were unmarried, married, divorced, separated and widowed. There are also various studies that examine the difference in financial and health elements for women and men who are married. Dolan noted that men showed more health benefits when they got married, while women did not. In the total population, unmarried and childless women are the happiest subgroup from the evidence compared. Dolan even stated, “If you’re a man, you should probably get married; if you’re a woman, don’t bother.”
Middle-aged married women were at higher risk of physical and mental ailments than single middle-aged women. However, many single women feel a negative stigma due to the continued falsity of marriage and children signifying happiness and achievement for women.
While The Guardian article seems to focus primarily on cisgender and heterosexual relationships, it is essential for women to know that they do not have to be married or have children to be happy or be successful. This is especially true in a world that continues to pressure that mentality on women of all ages. No matter how you identify, it is up to you to define your life and you are worthy and more than enough as an individual.