Declining female happiness

An interesting paper was published recently that outlines what appears to be a long trend tracking alongside many female advancements: a decline in overall female happiness. The whole paper can be read here but I will extract the salient point:

By  most  objective  measures  the  lives  of  women  in  the  United  States  have  improved dramatically  over  the  past  35  years.    Moreover,  women  believe  that  their  lives  are  better;  in  recent polls  asking  about  changes  in  the  status  of  women  over  the  past  25  or  50  years,  around  four  in  five adults  state  that  the  overall  status  of  women  in  the  U.S.  has  gotten  better  (and  the  remaining respondents  break  two-for-one  towards “stayed  the  same” over “worse”). Additionally,  the  1999 Virginia  Slims  Poll  found  that  72%  of  women  believe  that “women  having  more  choices  in  society today  gives  women  more  opportunities  to  be  happy” while  only  39%  thought  that  having  more  choices “makes  life  more  complicated  for  women.”   Finally,  women  today  are  more  likely  than  men  to  believe that  their  opportunities  to  succeed  exceed  those  of  their  parents.

Yet  trends  in  self-reported  subjective  well-being  indicate  that  women  are  less  happy  today than  they  were  in  the  1970s.    This  finding  of  a  decline  in  women’s  well-being,  both  absolutely  and relatively  to  that  of  men,  raises  questions  about  whether  modern  social  constructs  have  made  women worse  off,  or  alternatively  about  the  interpretability  of  subjective  well-being  data  analyzed  over  long-time  periods.    In  1974,  Richard  Easterlin  pointed  to  a  related  puzzle—as  countries  got  wealthier  there was  little  evidence  that  their  populations  got  happier,  despite  the  existence  of  a  robust  relationship between  income  and  well-being  in  both  individual  data  and  across  countries.

The panacea that Feminism promised, while being socially rewarding for some, has not manifested itself in an increase in female happiness, but rather, a decline. Men and women are different, despite what the social engineers that tell us otherwise. Men and women have complementary roles and dispositions yet the egalitarians will continue to experiment with the lives of women until their relative happiness pales in comparison to what it once was. It has almost become axiomatic that if an academic posits great improvements through radical changes, they have generally been proven wrong over time. Let this decline in female happiness serve as Exhibit A.

-Liberatus

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