In June 1986, Newsweek created an urban legend by reporting that a 40-year-old single woman was “more likely to be killed by a terrorist” than to ever marry. It was only last June — two decades later — that the newsmagazine published a mea culpa, acknowledging it had misinterpreted and misrepresented a study’s findings on the subject.
But it was a column by Maureen Dowd of the New York Times in January 2005 echoing the same theme that prompted Christine B. Whelan to research and write “Why Smart Men Marry Smart Women,” published last fall, to “shatter the myth” that high education and achievement hold back women’s matrimonial and motherhood prospects.
Addressing the monthly Conservative Women’s Network luncheon at the Heritage Foundation on May 18, Miss Whelan said that those she calls “SWANS” — strong women achievers, no spouse — marry at the same rate as other women, just a little bit later in life. In fact, she told the gathering that a new study found that “increased education increases your chances of marriage.”
“Be honest about your achievement,” counseled Miss Whelan, 29, who is engaged to be married next month to a lawyer. “It’s not holding you back.”
“Gentlemen prefer brains,” she added.