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Successful single female Baby Boomers often don’t receive as much publicity and recognition as their male counterparts. This was especially true before women had the same rights and educational opportunities as men. Women had to fight for these privileges in a male dominated society even though they should have had from the beginning. In some nations they’ve achieved equality with their male peers in most areas, leadership positions and earning power are major exceptions. Many world nations have had women leaders, but until this year there hasn’t been a female confirmed U.S. presidential nominee. Women lag behind in earning power since they make substantially less than men in the U.S. and other countries.
See this website for information on previous years. http://www.aauw.org/research/the-simple-truth-about-the-gender-pay-gap/
Even with more opportunities, single female Boomers haven’t received the status they deserved. They rose to the top of their field on their own without the help of a partner. Like single Boomer men, they devoted themselves to their area of expertise and made significant advances in that and other fields. Some of the single women in the past who’ve made valuable contributions to women’s rights and in other important areas are below. Their names aren’t as well-known as those of influential males, but they’ve earned a place in history due to their many accomplishments.
Susan Brownell Anthony- American social reformer and feminist-played a pivotal role in the women’s suffrage movement-New York state agent for the American Anti-Slavery Society.
Natalie Clifford Barney-American playwright, poet, and novelist
Elizabeth I-Queen of England and Ireland from 1558-1603
Gabrielle Bonheur “Coco” Chanel-French fashion designer of women’s clothes and founder of the Chanel brand
Harriet Martineau-British social theorist and Whig writer who’s often cited as the first female sociologist
Margaret Fuller-American journalist, critic, and women’s rights advocate associated with the American transcendentalism movement
Bettisia Gozzadini-Italian jurist and lecturer at the University of Bologna. She’s thought to be the first woman to have taught at a university.
Jane Addams- American settlement activist/reformer, social worker, public philosopher, sociologist, author, and leader in women’s suffrage and world peace.
Judi Bari-American environmentalist, labor leader, feminist, and the principal organizer of Earth First! campaigns against logging in the ancient redwood forests of Northern California in the 1980s and ’90s.
Jane Austen-English novelist known primarily for her six major novels including “Pride and Prejudice” which interprets, critiques, and explores the dependence of women on marriage in the pursuit of favorable social standing and economic security.
Mother Teresa (also known as Blessed Teresa of Calcutta)-born in Skopje now the modern Republic of Macedonia-A Roman Catholic nun and missionary who founded the Missionaries of Charity.
Emily Brontë and Anne Brontë-Irish authors-Emily’s “Wuthering Heights” and Anne’s “The Tenant of Wildfell Hall” and other works were later accepted as masterpieces of literature. Like many contemporary female writers, they originally published their poems and novels under male pseudonyms.
Single women Baby Boomers continue to make inroads into male-dominated fields without the benefit of marriage. Like male Baby Boomers they may have or had a partner, but their accomplishments were achieved without the social standing that society gives to married people. Some of the women listed below are recognizable, but even in this day of extraordinary media access all over the world, some of them aren’t known to the general public even if they are to other people in their field.
Condoleezza Rice –African-American political scientist, U.S. Secretary of State, and National Security Advisor
Oprah Gail Winfrey-American media proprietor, talk show host, actress, producer, and philanthropist
Lisa Randall-American theoretical physicist, expert on particle physics and cosmology, professor at Harvard
Linda Martín Alcoff-Panamanian philosopher who specializes in epistemology, feminism, race theory, and existentialism
Tori Amos -American singer, songwriter, pianist, and composer
Gloria Jean Watkins (pen name bell hooks)-African-American author, feminist, and social activist
Ninotchka Rosca-Filipina feminist, author, journalist, and human rights activist
Carol Smart-British feminist sociologist and academic at the University of Manchester
Diane Keaton-American film actress, director, producer, and screenwriter
Marriage does have benefits for women when it comes to advancing in their profession and in the eyes of society. Women have often been seen as lacking if they never had a husband. Even now Baby Boomer parents want their daughters to find a “good” man, marry, and raise a family. Ivy Jacobson, in a blog titled “13 Legal Benefits of Marriage” at https://www.theknot.com/content/benefits-of-marriage, said there was a long list of benefits that marriage brings a woman.
- Marital Tax Deduction-They can transfer an unlimited amount of assets to their spouse at any time, free from tax. This includes leaving assets in their estate to their spouse without estate or gift tax subjection.
- Filing Taxes Jointly may be beneficial.
- Social Security Benefits-If they’re married at least 10 years and didn’t qualify for their own Social Security benefits, they can receive their spouse’s benefits at 62 years old or any age if caring for a child younger than 16 or one who’s disabled. They can also potentially receive Medicare, disability, veterans, military, and pension plan benefits through their spouse.
- Prenuptial Agreement Benefits-It’s presumed under the law that when two people get married, they’re creating an economic partnership, so if the woman spends a substantial amount of time raising children, in a prenuptial agreement the assets may be divided fairly between the spouses should the marriage end.
- IRA Benefits-An Individual Retirement Account- A deceased spouse’s IRA can be rolled over into the other spouse’s or married people can contribute to a spousal IRA, an account that lets an employed spouse contribute to an unemployed spouse’s retirement account.
- Legal Decision-Making Benefits-Married people can have the status as next-of-kin for hospital visits, which grants them the ability to make medical decisions in the event their spouse becomes sick or disabled. They also have the legal right to sue for wrongful death of a spouse and to have decision-making power with respect to whether a deceased partner will be cremated or not and where to bury them.
- Inheritance Benefits-A spouse can inherit an entire estate without tax consequences. If there’s no will, a spouse still has inheritance rights when the other spouse dies.
- Health Insurance Benefits-married people can usually get on your spouse’s health insurance at a family rate.
- Leave Benefits-Employers will usually give a spouse family leave if their spouse is sick or bereavement leave if their spouse or someone in your spouse’s immediate family passes away.
The author’s recommendation is that all of these items need to be substantiated by a person’s accountant or attorney.
It’s only been a few years since the Gay and Lesbian community has had the right to marry and was allowed to access the benefits offered to their straight counterparts. Hopefully, the future will hold even more benefits for that community.
There are many reasons why the single state has its payoffs. In the article “No ‘Advantage For Women’ In Marriage, Men Better Off” at http://www.rense.com/general33/advan.htm the author reviewed a study by The One Plus One Marriage and Partnership Research organization, a government–funded group. Its findings, which are based on the answers of more than 2,000 divorced couples, found women had to make a greater adjustment to marriage than men. “The greater part of the husband’s day will continue to be spent much as it was before his marriage, whereas this is rarely so for the wife,” said Penny Mansfield, director of One Plus One. “If she continues to work, she is likely to have to combine the job of housewife with that of full-time worker. This in itself may be a source of stress because she will have less opportunity for relaxation.” She said that for married women who didn’t work “the absence of colleagues, workmates and the loss of an independent income will require varying degrees of adaptation which may all contribute to a sense of increasing isolation in women.”
Sarah Knapton, science editor for The Telegraph, wrote in the her article “Marriage is more beneficial for men than women, study shows” (http://www.telegraph.co.uk/science/2016/03/14/marriage-is-more-beneficial-for-men-than-women-study-shows/ ) “Landmark research by University College London, the London School of Economics and The London School of Hygiene and Tropical Medicine found that single women do not suffer the same negative health effects as unmarried men…In fact, middle aged women who had never married had virtually the same chance of developing metabolic syndrome – a combination of diabetes, high blood pressure and obesity – as married women.” “Not marrying or cohabiting is less detrimental among woman than men,” said Dr. George Ploubidis, a population health scientist at the UCL Institute of Education.
In previous blogs, I’ve documented why Boomer women prefer to remain single. To many women the advantages of single life are more important than financial gains marriage may offer. Throughout history, single females have made significant contributions to our world. It’s time they attain the status they deserve.
Continue the adventure!