http://observer.guardian.co.uk/uk_news/story/0,6903,1066298,00.html

 

Teenage girls just want to marry and stay home

Amelia Hill
Sunday October 19, 2003
The Observer


Their grandmothers fought for the vote, their mothers battled to have it all, but the upcoming generation of girls have decided to turn the clock back and just want stay at home with their babies.

According to a survey of 5,000-plus teenage girls, their main ambition is to complete university then return to the homestead - whether their partners like it or not.

More than nine out of 10 of the girls believe it should be up to their husbands to provide for them, with 97 per cent disagreeing with the statement 'It doesn't matter who is the main earner, as long as we are happy.'

More than 90 per cent of those polled for CosmoGirl magazine's November issue believe it is the man's role to provide the household's money, with 85 per cent maintaining they would rather rely on their partner for financial support than be a successful, independent woman.

Instead of making a career for themselves, girls today plan to be married by the age of 25 - three years below the current national average of 28.2 years old.

And although 43 per cent of those questioned believe they should continue with their education until they have achieved a university degree, one in four say getting married is their number one priority in life.

The supposedly super-modern, 'fun comes first' teenage generation has proved to be remarkably traditional in every area of their beliefs, with over 50 per cent saying they would not dream of having children before seeing a ring on their finger.

The desire to have children is kicking in earlier too, with the girls taking their 'ticking biological clock' cue from role models such as Kate Moss, Posh Spice and Reese Witherspoon and wanting to have their first child in their twenties.

On average, teenage girls plan to have their first child at 26 and most plan to have one or two more children over the following four years, The national average now is 1.64 children per couple.

'This is so unsurprising,' said agony aunt and author Claire Rayner. 'The majority of girls have no glamorous future and nothing very special to look forward to. All they can hope for is their own man and their own baby - like their mothers and their grandmothers before them.

'This survey doesn't indicate that the battles of feminism have been lost,' she added. 'Feminism was never opposed to marriage or children. On the contrary, feminism was about equal opportunities for women to do what they wanted to do, when they wanted to do it, which is exactly what these girls are choosing to do.'