This the ages of 35-50, and holding a

This article is a study
on why professional women do not marry. The study was conducted in Turkey, which
was, largely, a single male breadwinner homemaker society. However, over the
last two decades, more women have been gaining access to education and positions
in the workforce. As a result, Turkey is seeing a decline in marriage rates,
rise in divorce and the age of first marriage is rising, which is the very
definition of the modernity theory. Although we see these modern changes, they
are confined to a small group of women who are from somewhat affluent families
or families that are stern about education.

In selecting participants
for this study the author used what is referred to as the “snowball method”.
This basically means that the author selected participants for interviews among
her peers. Participants had to meet 3 pre-determined criteria before they were
interviewed. The criteria was being single and never married, between the ages
of 35-50, and holding a bachelor degree. Twenty women were selected: 7 ranged
from 35-39, 9 from 40-45, and 4 from 46-50. The participants were interviewed
for 2-3 hours each and asked the same questions concerning what their reasons
we for not getting married.

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“Compared to the general
population of women, the respondents in the study were likely to be highly
educated, professionals in full-time employment, earning higher income.” (Celik

came to 3 main reasons that professional women in Turkey are not getting
married. First, was not being able to find a good marriage partner within what
is referred to as the marrying age. The marrying age, or ideal age to be
married, is between 20 and 30 years old. With more access to education, longer
spans of education and more opportunities for employment, the women found that
the short interval of the “marrying age” came and went so quickly that many of
them didn’t even notice it had gone by. Celik also finds that many of the women
believed that selecting a potential mate becomes more difficult at older ages,
especially among educated women, because selectivity and expectations are

“Expectations rise as
people get older and higher expectations further consolidate selectivity. When
a woman has her own profession or business, her expectations of prospective
partners rise accordingly.” (Celik 2017)

The second reason Celik found for professional women
remaining unmarried, was that they insist on equal foot in marriage. Turkey, as
a society, is still grasping on to a breadwinner – homemaker mentality, which
is a basis for gender inequality. Therefore educated and professional women are
hard pressed to exchange household chores and rearing of children for the “economic
and individual freedom” (Celik 2017) they have found. They are in search of
what the author refers to as an “equalitarian marriage”, or egalitarian. This
means that both parties work and take of the household, it is a relationship
built on equal power and shared duties.

Lastly, Celik states a desire for a spouse with higher
economic and social status as the final reason professional women are not
getting married. As they age and become more educated, more financially stable
and acquire certain items on their own they are finder it hard to marry someone
who is not equally matched or higher, which makes it difficult to find a match.

“Well educated
professional women with some material wealth state that they do not need
husbands, especially as they get older. They have self-confidence deriving from
the ability to do anything they want, economic freedom, and the adaptation that
living single brings.” (Celik 2017).

In the consideration of all these reason Celik
concludes that:

study suggests that long years of education and opportunities for professional employment
may mark ‘not getting married’ as an alternative way of life.” (Celik 2017)

In conclusion, I was not surprised at all by Celik’s
conclusion. Turkey is somewhat behind the curve when it comes to modernity and
feminist theory in comparison to the US. The issue that did surprise me was
that even in the face of women becoming more educated, holding more place in
the workplace etc., that bread winner homemaker mentality still has a pretty
tight grasp on their society. What I learned was more about the mentality of
people in different cultures than it was about family. Here in the U.S. I think
we are well into the 2nd modernity. It is no longer shocking so see
a single unmarried, never married, not interested in marrying, or divorced
highly educated and professional woman. She may have children or she may not.
She may be cohabitating or she may not. She may even be in a same sex
relationship. But whatever the circumstances it’s not shocking and it’s becoming
more and more normal, everyday.


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