TIME Love & Relationships

Why Women Are More Likely to Ask for a Divorce

501870849
Getty Images

A new study suggests women are more likely than men to initiate a divorce in opposite sex relationships, but the same isn't true for non-marital relationships. If men and women were living together without marrying, each gender was equally likely to initiate a breakup

In a presentation to the American Sociological Association, researchers report that women are more likely than men to ask for divorce. But non-marital breakups are more gender neutral.

The results came from an analysis of the aptly named “How Couples Meet and Stay Together” survey, collected from 2,262 adults with opposite sex partners who answered questions about their relationship status between 2009 and 2015. Women initiated 69% of divorces, compared to 31% of men. But if men and women were living together without marrying, each gender was equally likely to initiate a breakup.

Almost all studies to date have shown that women are more likely to ask for divorce, the study’s lead author, Michael Rosenfeld, said in a statement. An associate professor of sociology at Stanford University, Rosenfeld said that social scientists assumed that women’s heightened sensitivities to the ups and downs of relationships would mean they were more likely to leave both marriages and non-marital unions.

But the latest data suggests that perhaps there’s more involved. Women may be responding to the still arcane conventions of spousal roles, which contrast with growing equality in other institutions, such as the workplace. “I think that marriage as an institution has been a little bit slow to catch up with expectations for gender equality. Wives still take their husbands’ surnames, and are sometimes pressured to do so. Husbands still expect their wives to do the bulk of the housework and the bulk of the childcare,” he said in the statement. “On the other hand, I think that non-marital relationships lack the historical baggage and expectations of marriage, which makes the non-marital relationships more flexible and therefore more adaptable to modern expectations … of gender equality.”

TIME portfolio

Closets Full of Dreams: Inside Egypt’s Sexual-Harassment Crisis

“It’s not just about clothing. It’s the idea that there is no freedom for women in general.”

To be a woman in Egypt is to live with the crushing inevitability of sexual harassment. The magnitude of the problem is epidemic, with 99.3% of Egyptian women having been sexually harassed, according to a 2013 U.N. Women report. It’s a society in which, for half the population, just leaving home can be a daily nightmare.

Cairo-based photojournalist Roger Anis decided to confront the issue by making portraits of women next to the clothes they would wear on the streets, if only they felt safe enough. “I’m not facing harassment myself as a man,” he says, “but when your dear friends are facing it, your girlfriend is facing it, or your mother or sister is facing it, you feel so helpless.”

His diptychs pair horrifying stories of harassment and assault with the dream of basic rights for women, reaching beyond sexism to address intersectional themes of racism, ageism, body image, religious tradition, and even the repression of political dissent. Although these issues aren’t exclusive to women, says Anis, women are more likely to be targeted for other forms of discrimination because of their gender.

One of his subjects said she was spat on for wearing colors under her niqab. Another said she was brutally assaulted by a mob in Tahrir Square in 2012. Still others were made to feel unsafe or ashamed in the clothes that they chose or the skin color, age, or weight that they didn’t. “It’s not just about clothing. It’s the idea that there is no freedom for women in general,” says Anis.

Though the causes of sexual harassment are rooted in systemic gender inequity, and not a woman’s behavior or clothing choices, women often feel desperate to protect themselves from the aggressions of men. It’s a matter of doing whatever they can to feel safer, Anis says, though in practice it doesn’t really help. “For me, clothes have nothing to do with harassment,” says Aleya Adel, who appears in one of Anis’ photos. “You will be harassed no matter what you are wearing.”

What drives men to commit the harassment, says Anis, is a combination of factors including political turmoil, poverty, a low standard of education, and religious restrictions. “There will always be people who consider the harasser as a victim of society,” he says. “Egypt is so conservative. It’s not easy for a man and woman to be friends.” But that, he adds, does not absolve men of the responsibility to control themselves and respect women.

Eman Helal, another of Anis’ subjects and a photojournalist in her own right, has done powerful work on sexual harassment in the past. “My work focuses more on the dangers of sexual harassment and how it can end women’s lives,” she says. “Roger’s project shows the oppression Egyptian women face, and how men can interfere with every single detail of women’s personal lives, down to their clothes.”

A documentary by Tinne van Loon and Colette Ghunim called The People’s Girls is also currently in production. But in-depth projects made by women on sexual harassment in Egypt remain scarce. For many female journalists and photographers, the topic simply hits too close to home.

“Some of my male colleagues blame me for caring so much about this subject, as if it’s not normal to pay attention to it,” says Helal. “They assume my interest comes from being a woman who has been harassed. Yes, of course it’s one reason. It’s our right to walk without fear. But they actually don’t think that what happens to us is sexual harassment at all.”

Anis’ work is not only a man’s recognition of the threats women endure, the higher standards to which they are held, and the simple freedoms they are denied, but also a starting point for men in Egypt—and beyond—to see women through a lens of empathy and respect. Karoline Kamel, Anis’ girlfriend, believes the work is especially powerful because it comes from a male perspective and can set an example.

“In a lot of cases, the burden is on women to defend their own rights, and they are accused of being extreme,” she says. “It is more objective to discuss and present the subject from a man who supports women’s rights.”

Kamel, who appears in the project herself, was crucial in helping Anis find other women willing to open up to a male photographer. Many refused to participate, afraid of having their identities publicized. “We are in a society where it’s not appropriate to talk about out dreams and needs in public,” says Kamel. Those who came forward, she adds, were desperate for society to take notice of their suffering, or hoped the project would embolden other women to speak out.

For Anis, Kamel, and Helal, the fight for women’s rights in Egypt continues to be long and hard. But their closets full of dreams have been opened. “I hope that [Anis’] work can help free women from their fears so they can speak about their problems,” says Helal, “but also convince men not to look at us as just bodies, and treat us like we have minds.”

Roger Anis is a photographer based in Cairo, Egypt.

Jen Tse is a photo editor and contributor to TIME LightBox. Follow her on Twitter @jentse and Instagram.

TIME women

How Indian Women Are Reclaiming Their Right to Public Space in Delhi

A flash mob performs during a candlelit vigil protesting violence against women as they mark the second anniversary of the deadly gang rape occurred in New Delhi on Dec. 16, 2014.
Saurabh Das—AP A flash mob performs during a candlelit vigil protesting violence against women as they mark the second anniversary of the deadly gang rape occurred in New Delhi on Dec. 16, 2014.

Women are stretching the existing boundaries of cultural rules that attempt to demarcate a woman’s place in an unequal city

Urban redevelopment in India over recent decades has had particular implications for women. While the economic deregulation of the 1990s opened up new possibilities for work, leisure and relationships, it has also led to new stresses. Cities such as New Delhi have become sites for experimentation, autonomy and aspiration for women. Yet against these images of emancipation can be juxtaposed everyday risks and vulnerabilities.

Contradictions abound in a space that values the woman’s body as a liberalized commodity. Women are under constant scrutiny: for what they wear, how they behave, where they are going, who they are with, at what time of day or night. They are under pressure to conform to familiar boundaries of tradition and class. Challenging these boundaries carries the risk of psycho-social dissonance and assault of various kinds.

Perhaps it is no coincidence that the increasing number of women working in the IT industry – or socializing in bars and restaurants – arose in tandem with the rise of cultural nationalist politics in India. Following the rape and murder of young student Jyoti Singh in New Delhi in December 2012, some held that responsibility for violence against women should be attributed to “western lifestyles”. Public debates have also focused on other forms of the “outsider” as a source of fear and hostility on Delhi’s streets, naming rural migrants a “menace in society”.

Bearer of tradition

Clearly, violence against women in Delhi is not a new phenomenon that has arisen out of economic liberalization and urban redevelopment. Yet the intense focus on the death of Jyoti Singh and subsequent cases is indicative of a cultural shift. This young woman, from a provincial background but “aspirational”, represented what “world class” Delhi was supposed to afford women: safe access to public space and a cosmopolitan lifestyle.

Such attacks highlight the contradictions held within the body of the woman. She must embody the progressive city but also remain the bearer of tradition measured by skirt lengths. The presence of young professional women in Delhi’s public spaces may be desirable to legitimate claims of “global city” status. However, in reality, this access is conditional and based on maintaining a cultural order inflected by a moral discourse of respectability.

As writers such as Shilpa Phadke argue, women must manufacture purpose in order to access the city, they cannot just “loiter”. Much of this purpose is non-sexualised conduct such as engaging in family activities or shopping in the new mega-malls.

Women navigate the city “giving back” through aggressive language, evading stares, reclaiming spaces such as rooftops and parks. They seek safety in numbers, knowing when to wrap a scarf more tightly around their head or cover their knees when sitting. These appear to be everyday skills to cope with the city and to manage its discomfort.

While in these actions women may appear fragile, they are in fact asserting a place in Delhi, especially when reassured by anonymity or the protection afforded by socio-economic capacity such as owning a car. This is an understanding of Delhi opposed to the computer-generated images of independent, happy women in new condominiums that look down from advertising hoardings throughout the city.

Clearly, women are not necessarily timid or immobile in the face of Delhi’s aggression. They are taking part in producing space and seeking out pleasure. There are limits, but these limits can be stretched. Roaming may be curtailed for some who have to remain in the line of sight of home, and choices restricted at times by the pressures of respectability. Yet, women have the capacity to generate ambiguity through their presence, disrupting cultural rules that attempt to demarcate a woman’s place in an unequal city.

This article originally appeared on The ConversationThe Conversation

TIME Ideas hosts the world's leading voices, providing commentary and expertise on the most compelling events in news, society, and culture. We welcome outside contributions. To submit a piece, email ideas@time.com.

TIME celebrity

This Is What Chris Pratt Thinks Gender Equality Should Look Like

Chris Pratt at the premiere of 'Jurassic World' in Hollywood on June 9, 2015.
Jason LaVeris—FilmMagic/Getty Images Chris Pratt at the premiere of 'Jurassic World' in Hollywood on June 9, 2015.

"Objectify men as often as we objectify women"

Chris Pratt’s star has risen as his physique transformed from the less-than-toned Andy Dwyer of Parks and Recreation to Star-Lord’s superhero six-pack, and he doesn’t have a problem with that connection.

In a new interview, Pratt admits his new physique played a “huge part” in landing his leading roles in blockbuster films like Jurassic World and Guardians of the Galaxy.

“It was a huge part of how my career has shifted is based on the way that I look, on the way that I’ve shaped my body to look,” he told Radio 4’s Front Row, adding that he feels “totally” objectified now.

“But I think it’s OK, I don’t feel appalled by it,” he went on. “I think it’s appalling that for a long time only women were objectified, but I think if we really want to really advocate for equality, it’s important to not objectify women less, but objectify men as often as we objectify women.”

Pratt added, “There are a lot of beautiful women who got careers out of it, and I’m using it to my advantage. And at the end of the day, our bodies are objects. We’re just big bags of flesh and blood and meat and organs that God gives us to drive around.”

He also said the decision to transform his body wasn’t a “calculated” one, but it’s certainly one that’s paid off – to the tune of that $500 million opening weekend for Jurassic World.

Pratt has spoken about his body transformation throughout the Jurassic World press tour. In the July issue of Men’s Health U.K., Pratt said his weight – which once ballooned toward 300 pounds –raised some big health concerns.

“I was impotent, fatigued, emotionally depressed. I had real health issues that were affecting me in a major way,” Pratt said. “It’s bad for your heart, your skin, your system, your spirit.”

Listen to Pratt discuss his body in the interview clip below.

This article originally appeared on EW.com

Download TIME’s mobile app for iOS to have your world explained wherever you go

TIME World

These 8 World Leaders Are Taking Major Steps Towards Gender Equality

From closing the pay gap to implementing board quotas to requiring all soldiers to take violence prevention courses, here's how 8 world leaders are embracing HeforShe

UN Women’s “He for She” initiative is in full swing, and on Thursday nine world leaders announced major steps they are taking to bring their countries to full gender equality. Each has pledged to champion HeForShe in their individual nations, and has outlined specific actions they’ll take towards ensuring equal opportunities for women.

The announcements are part of UN Women’s IMPACT 10x10x10 initiative, where 10 heads of state, 10 CEOs, and 10 university presidents commit to taking tangible steps to achieve gender equality, as part of the HeForShe movement that actress Emma Watson announced at the UN last year.

Here are some of the main commitments from 8 heads of state from around the world– the final two leaders will be announced at a later date.

Sauli Niinistö, President of Finland, has vowed to decrease violence against women by 5% over the next five years, partly by requiring all soldiers in the Finnish Defense Forces to learn about aggression control and violence prevention. Since Finland has universal male conscription, that means that almost all young men in Finland will be required to complete an education program on violence against women.

Sigmundur Davíð Gunnlaugsson, Prime Minister of Iceland, has committed to eliminating the gender pay gap in Iceland by 2022: currently, women are paid 6-18% less than men. The government will achieve this by conducting major audits of all companies in Iceland, to ensure that women are being paid fairly. Gunnlaugsson’s administration will also sponsor major reports on the status of women in media in Iceland, in order to achieve parity by 2020, and has pledged to make 1 in 5 Icelandic men commit to supporting HeforShe principals by 2016.

Joko Widodo, President of Indonesia, is pushing a to make the Indonesian parliament 30% female (up from 17%.) The government plans to promote more women to senior leadership positions, mandate gender training for all government institutions, and study trends in female voting and women who run for political office. Widodo also pledges to extend national health insurance coverage to reproductive and maternal health care, and improve sexual health services around the country. He also wants to fight violence against women, by launching a nationwide survey in 2016 that could help the government make targeted interventions to help the 3-4 million Indonesian women who face violence ever year. And, providing women migrant workers with financial literacy training is just one way they help give them more independence.

Shinzo Abe, Prime Minister of Japan, is unrolling major reforms to support more women in the workforce. Abe is proposing a bill that would require all public sector institutions and companies with more than 301 employees to demonstrate concrete action plans to increase the representation of women. He’s also increasing nursery school capacity, and enhancing family leave policies. Japan is also leveraging $3 billion in international aid to enhance peace and security and ending sexual violence abroad.

Arthur Peter Mutharika, President of Malawi, is committing to fully ending child marriage in Malawi. Currently, about half of girls in Malawi are married before they turn 18– the government just passed a new law to address this problem, and Mutharika commits to fully implementing this law by creating new local marriage courts and improving marriage registration. Malawi is also making major steps towards economic empowerment of women, by requiring all commercial banks to develop lending options just for women by 2016, in order to increase the number of women accessing credit by 30%.

Klaus Iohannis, President of Romania, is launching a new nationwide analysis of violence against women, to make sure agencies and public institutions have the data they need to inform policy that could protect victims. Based on the data they find, Iohannis plans to create emergency shelters in every region of the country. Romania is also creating two entirely new professions — Expert in Gender Equality and Gender Equality Technician — to implement gender equality strategies, and 70% of Romanian public institutions are required to employ one by 2020.

Paul Kagame, President of Rwanda, is pledging to make sure women have equal access to technology and increase girls’ enrollment in tech fields. Currently, women represent only 20% of employees in the tech sector, and only 35% of women own mobile phones (compared to almost half of men.) Kagame also wants to get more girls enrolled in technical and vocational training programs by launching a national mentorship and career guidance program to encourage girls to take science and technology courses, aiming at 50% of eligible girls enrolled by 2020. Currently, only about 18% of eligible girls are enrolled. Rwanda is also rolling out an initiative to end gender-based violence, by building One Stop Centers all over the country to provide medical, legal, and psychological support to victims, part of what they call a “zero tolerance policy” towards sexual violence.

Stefan Löfvén, Prime Minister of Sweden, says Sweden already has a feminist government, but that more men need to stand up for gender equality. He promises to get more women into the workforce (64% of Swedish women are employed full time, compared to 69% of Swedish men) and close the wage gap– currently, Swedish women make only 87 cents for every dollar a man makes. Sweden has achieved a remarkable level of gender equality in government, but women are still under-represented in business and academia. The government has set a target that boards of top Swedish companies must be 40% female by 2017– if that goal isn’t met, the government will start implementing a quota.

Read more: Twitter, Vodafone and Georgetown University All Commit to Gender Equality

TIME feminism

Twitter, Vodafone, and Georgetown University All Commit to Gender Equality

Big companies like Twitter and Vodafone and major universities like Georgetown and Oxford have all pledged to take concrete steps towards gender equality as part of the final installment of UNWomen’s IMPACT 10x10x10 initiative, released Thursday. The initiative is part of the HeForShe movement unveiled by Emma Watson at the UN last fall, designed to encourage 10 CEOs, 10 University Presidents, and 10 world leaders to commit to advancing the cause of women’s equality.

Last month we listed 5 CEOs and 5 university presidents who are committing to HeForShe policies- here are the rest:

Adam Bain, president of Twitter, is committing to help HeForShe mobilize a third of all men to fight for gender equality. A major supporter of Girls Who Code, Twitter is aiming to reach 300 students a year to teach them crucial tech skills. Currently women make up only 10% of technical roles at Twitter and 30% of employees overall, but the company is committing to transparency as they aim towards gender parity.

Antony Jenkins, CEO of Barclays, is pledging to provide 2.5 million women around the world with tailored financial programming, which would expand access to credit, teach financial literacy skills, and help more women become business owners. Barclays also aims to increase the representation of women in senior leadership positions to 26% by 2018 and exceed 30% for women on boards by 2020.

Dominic Barton, managing director of McKinsey & Company, is aiming to increase the representation of women in consulting roles to 40% by 2020. Today, 30% of new hires are women– Barton wants women to make up 50% of undergraduate recruits by 2020. And the company will continue to invest in research that examines the link between gender diversity and profitability.

Jean Pascal Tricoire, CEO of Schneider Electric, has already developed a thorough process to ensure salary equity in Schneider’s France office, but he aims to expand that process to reach 85% of global employees by 2017. Tricoire is also committing to expanding female representation at every level in the company– he wants women to make up 40% of new hires, 33% of the management committee, and 35% of senior positions by 2017.

Vittorio Colao, CEO of Vodafone, has made a bold promise to educate refugee girls, providing online education to 3 million young refugees by 2020. Vodafone also pledges to make sure women hold 30% of middle and senior management positions.

And here are the newest University commitments:

John J. DeGioia, president of Georgetown University, pledges to advance gender equality through the research compiled by Georgetown’s Institute for Women, Peace & Security, which will soon unveil a new study on women’s political participation in ending conflict. Georgetown also recently implemented a new on-campus education program to help students and faculty identify harassment and sexual misconduct.

Andrew Hamilton, vice chancellor of Oxford University, has already committed to achieving 30% female representation among professors, up from 19% today. But as part of his HeForShe pledge, Oxford aims to have 30% of all university leadership positions occupied by women by 2020. Oxford is also doubling down on campus safety by expanding the ‘Good Lad’ workshops, which teach men from Oxford sports teams and social clubs about consent, peer pressure, and responsibility.

Dr. Marco Antonio Zago, president of the University of São Paulo, wants the University to be a leader in addressing violence against women– that’s why he’s implementing a zero-tolerance policy for on-campus violence, and partnering with the University of Buenos Aires and the Autonomous University of Mexico for a joint campaign to re-orient their collective 850,000 students towards healthy gender norms. The University is also establishing an Interdisciplinary Research Program to study how to make cities safer for women.

Frédéric Mion, president of Sciences Po, promises to achieve 40% representation of both genders across all senior leadership positions by 2020, as well as launching new programs that empower men to embrace their responsibilities as husbands and fathers. Mion is also expanding the legally-mandated maternity interviews which help new parents balance work and parenting to all parents (not just mothers,) aims to have 90% of eligible men take paternity leave by 2017.

Samuel L. Stanley, Jr., president of Stony Brook University, aims to close the gender gap in graduation rates– currently, women graduate at a rate 15% higher than their male counterparts, yet over 56% of incoming freshmen are men. The university also aims to increase representation of women in each freshman class by 6%. And through their Center for the Study of Men and Masculinities, Stony Brook University plans to make HeForShe a mainstream initiative across the SUNY network, which could reach almost half a million students.

Read more: These 8 World Leaders Are Taking Major Steps Towards Gender Equality

 

 

 

 

TIME Amazon

A Woman Is Doing This Important Amazon Job for the First Time

It's the role of Jeff Bezos's personal "shadow" at the company

Amazon CEO Jeff Bezos recently named Maria Renz to the position of technical adviser to the CEO.

That’s a fancy title for what, according to Re/code, is basically the job of Bezos’s shadow. It’s a coveted, high-ranking role at the e-commerce giant, and one that has never before been filled by a woman.

Re/code reports that Renz is a 15-year veteran of the Seattle company, and was formerly CEO of Quidsi, parent company of Amazon-owned Diapers.com. She replaces Bezos’s previous shadow Jay Marine, who will now lead Amazon Instant Video’s efforts in Europe.

Bezos’s move comes at a time when many companies have been under increasing pressure for lack of diversity in their workforces—especially technology giants. A mere 51 of Fortune 1000 companies have female CEOs. And at the end of last year, when the Sony hack resulted in a slew of leaked documents, one of the biggest storylines to result was that a female studio president was making nearly $1 million less in salary than her male co-president.

TIME Internet

New Google Doodle Honors Pioneering Seismologist Inge Lehmann

“You should know how many incompetent men I had to compete with — in vain"

Inge Lehmann, who discovered that earth has both an inner and outer core, should be inspiration for any young woman with dreams of becoming a scientist, and on Wednesday Google honored the pioneering seismologist’s 127th birthday with a new animated Doodle.

Lehmann, born on May 13, 1888, made her discovery by analyzing P-waves (primary waves), a high velocity seismic wave that is the first to be recorded by seismographs because it travels through the earth’s core more quickly.

In 1929 Lehmann was studying a large earthquake near New Zealand and observed that some P-waves seemed to bounce off a boundary. This caused a higher frequency of seismic activity within a “shadow zone.” She attributed the phenomenon to an inner core made of different materials. Proven correct, the shadow zone today called the “Lehmann Discontinuity.”

Lehmann was educated at a progressive school that valued equal treatment between genders. But when her professional career took off she often faced discrimination for being a woman, once being quoted as saying, “You should know how many incompetent men I had to compete with — in vain.”

Be that as it may, the pioneering scientist left her mark by making one of the most important seismological discoveries of all time.

She died on Feb. 21, 1993, at the age of 105.

TIME Vatican

Pope Francis Calls for Equal Pay for Women and Men

He says gender-based pay disparities are "pure scandal"

Pope Francis expressed support for equal pay for men and women on Wednesday, calling income disparities “pure scandal.”

Speaking during his weekly general audience, Francis asked that Christians “become more demanding” about achieving gender equality, according to the National Catholic Reporter.

“Why is it expected that women must earn less than men?” he asked the crowd at St. Peter’s Square. “No! They have the same rights. The disparity is a pure scandal.”

The Pope emphasized that concern for women’s equality isn’t at odds with concern for declining marriage rates around the world, a shift he said Christians needed to reflect on “with great seriousness.”

“Many consider that the change occurring in these last decades may have been set in motion by women’s emancipation,” he said. But Francis called that idea “an insult” and “a form of chauvinism that always wants to control the woman.”

[NCR]

TIME Emma Watson

Emma Watson Wants to Know How You’re Advancing Gender Equality

Yes, you

In honor of International Women’s Day, actress and U.N. Women Goodwill Ambassador Emma Watson is taking part in a Q&A session Sunday about achieving gender equality around the world.

She’d like you to be there too: on Monday, Watson asked her London-area fans to describe, in 500 words or less, the work they’ve done to promote gender equality or their experience with inequality, for a chance to attend the event in person. The submission deadline has since closed, but the whole thing will be live streamed on Facebook for anyone who didn’t make the cut.

Your browser is out of date. Please update your browser at http://update.microsoft.com