Decline in the marriage

OCR G672

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  • Created on: 29-05-12 19:53
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Identity and explain two reasons for the decline in the marriage over the past 30
One reason for the decline in marriages would be the changing social attitudes to
Sharpe (2001) found that that young people now see marriage as `a choice rather
than a necessity'; they are aware of the `pitfalls' of marriage.
Weeks (1991) argued that the `sexual revolution' since the 1950s which stressed
the importance of pleasure and sexual satisfaction has made unmarried sexual
relationships socially acceptable, thus reducing pressure on people to marry.
It is argued that such attitudes have come about due to secularisation: the
weakening influence of the Christian Churches in the UK. The British Social Attitudes
Survey shows it is become increasingly acceptable to detach sex, child-bearing and
child-rearing from marriage.
Cohabitation or staying single are no longer `Stigmatised' and is increasingly
becoming an attractive alternative to marriage as society becomes more
Another reason for the decline in marriages would be the changing role of the
Females' increased educational achievements and particular laws have improved
women's opportunities in employment, and therefore their giving them much
greater independence than before.
Laws such as the 1975 Equal Pay Act meant that women were now receiving the
same amount of pay as the opposite sex and therefore marriage was no longer an
economic necessity for women in a good market position.
Such attitudes reflect what Wilkinson (1994) refers to as the 'gender-quake'
whereby young females are becoming increasingly independent causing a shift in
priorities from family to career.


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