An end to cock tax? Not likely…but women are more economically empowered now

Apparently, according to Jane Shilling at The Telegraph women have moved on from gold digging.

But if anyone thinks that this is an end to cock tax then I have a bridge I can sell you.

I have never been to an Islington dinner party, mainly because I’m nervous of the conversations I might have to endure. Over plates laden with Nigel Slater’s pumpkin laksa, I shudder to imagine the banter that embraces the outrageous cost of educating one’s children or the thrilling rise in London property prices – areas in which I find myself sadly short of conversational roughage.

Then again, the independent peer Baroness Deech, evidently an habituée of such gatherings, suggests that the discourse runs in different channels. According to her, the hot topic for kitchen supps in north London isn’t state versus private or equity release, but d-i-v-o-r-c-e. “Go to an Islington dinner party and say the word divorce,” she remarked recently, “and people will tell you the most horrendous stories.”

Divorce, like people’s operations, does lend itself to horrendous stories. When flesh or emotions are raw and weeping, the narratives tend to come up lengthy and lurid. But what the Baroness really seems to have meant is that it’s the men who will tell you horrendous divorce stories. And on this vivid anecdotal basis, she proposes a change in the law.

Baroness Deech is currently steering a private member’s Bill through the Upper House that would make pre- and post-nuptial agreements binding. The idea is that in future, when couples divorce, the assets they acquire after their wedding should be divided, but that the division should not include whatever the parties brought to the marriage. A jolly sensible idea, you might think, and a boon to the sweet-natured Bertie Wooster type of chap who gets his assets ruthlessly stripped by gold-digging trollops from vaudeville and other low joints.

Do they still exist, these delightful stereotypes? Yes indeed, according to Baroness Deech – though in a slightly different social milieu from that of PG Wodehouse’s Drones Club (or, indeed, the Islington dinner tables or the High Table of St Anne’s College, Oxford, where she was principal for 14 years). Existing divorce legislation, she argues, intimates to young women that financial security lies not in an honest day’s toil, but in marrying a rich man.  

Seems a it out of touch. Especially when pesky little things like facts are presented.

If Baroness Deech’s grasp of the marital affairs of footballers is impressionistic, so too is her sense of the aspirations of young women. The Baroness is 71. She came of age when it was still accepted that wives might expect to exchange their domestic skills for a lifelong meal ticket provided by a working husband.

But if we are admitting anecdotal evidence when it comes to the drafting of legislation, I have to say that I know almost no one from my own, fifty-something generation who embraced that fate, and not a single twenty-something whose life’s ambition it is to be a housewife.

Fortunately, there is no need to rely on anecdote when there are statistics to hand, which show that, far from throwing academic qualifications in the hope of snagging a susceptible booby with a big wad, young women are in a rising majority when it comes to university admissions, and are entering professions such as teaching and the law or becoming doctors or vets.

A recent study by The Economist magazine found that the economic empowerment of women across the developed world was “one of the most remarkable revolutions of the past 50 years… millions of people who were once dependent on men have taken control of their own economic fates”.

There are, of course, excellent reasons for scrutinising divorce law in the light of changing social attitudes. But perhaps the learned figures who frame the legislation by which the rest of us must live our lives should consider getting out more.

Could we be soon seeing reverse cock tax…Adam Parore seemed to score on that front.

 

– The Telegraph

 


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  • The Accountant

    Am I reading between the lines, or is it that now women are joining men in the wealth generation department, they don’t want to be exposed to the “split it down the middle regardless of contribution” rules of the past?

  • ozbob68

    I predict a rise in the future of asset protection mechanisms (like trusts) being adopted by young professional men to secure their assets against divorce raids by partners. I myself have one as a method of protecting my assets in case of ill health or un-intended financial difficulty.

    • IKIDUNOT

      Did so in 1978 when I got married….no need for it (yet…:))

  • cows4me

    We can never seem to find the middle ground, once it was the man that had all the power, increasingly it’s the woman now. Both instances were and are unfair. I don’t think we will ever get it right.

    • Jimmie

      There is of course another option. Instead of marrying/shacking up in a rush (hormone driven) how about spending a bit of time finding someone who you are able to grow old and wrinkly with together.

      That way you don’t have to worry about divorce divvying up, hurting the kids, arguing over who gets the dog, and the associated mental/emotional pain that goes with it.

      Your kids will grow up happy and balanced, and when you are old and half senile you can both look after each other and your grandkids can come around sit on your knee and hear all your old stories for the 10th time.

      Then when one of you finally fall off the perch then you can leave your stuff to the other and then dish it out to the kids when the 2nd one finally kicks the bucket.

      I know there are plenty of scenarios where divorce is necessary but not inevitable – just gotta think before you stink when choosing who ya gona live with.

      • Excitedly awaiting Whodunnit

        I think too many people have taken this new disposable world we live in to mean all things are disposable. If its broken dont try to fix it just chuck it out and get another one. A simple way to stumble though life but you achieve nothing and dont grow as a person.

  • Radvad

    Yes, divide the assets gained during the marriage but with a deduction for rent and food if there has been unequal contribution.

  • Aucky

    I don’t believe that the traditional means of wealth creation have been totally abandoned by the fairer sex. I still see as many trophy brides as ever driving their Mercedes sports around the leafy suburbs or dropping off their offspring at Kings Prep before heading for coffee with the girls and a session at the Remuera Racquets Club.

    • conwaycaptain

      Session at the Remuera Rackets Club??? With the bunky young coach??

    • caochladh

      I recall the first chapel service of the year at Kings Prep was very well attended, primarily to see who had “upgraded” to a prettier, younger version over the holiday’s.

  • Katie Smith

    I am an ‘economically empowered women’. I love it, great not to have to depend on anyone else for things I need and want. There’s a downside to this as well though. In our blended family of five kids, I was not only pulling in an income about 75% of his, I was also the primary caregiver and did the vast majority of work around the home. My gripes as an ‘economically empowered women’ – 1. For paid work, on average for the same role (we were in similar roles) I got 80% because for some reason females are paid less (that explains most of the income difference above) and 2. I also did the majority of non economic stuff which seems to count for zip.

    Perhaps time to start thinking about the dynamics of the changing role of women in the home and the impact on guys. Doesn’t seem to be a great deal from where I sit – get paid less for the same stuff at work and do most the none paid stuff at home as well! Seems to me some of the younger generation (under 30s) seem to get it in terms of better sharing of the role of both work and home. The days of women leeching of men are well gone with the exception of a minority. Time to move the conversation on me thinks.

    PS. and yes learnt my lesson, and no I’m certainly not the only economically empowered women who is also primary slave around the home :)

    • Wendy

      Yes, as usual no one seems to recognize or put any value on the work that is done in the home by “housewives” or working women. A mans contribution is easy to quantify, but how do you quantify the value of child rearing, cooking, cleaning, washing, ironing, gardening, school runs, the “mum taxi”, budgeting and general planning of household logistics?

      • BlitzkriegNZ

        I did all that ‘woman’s work’ at home because my ex was useless, booted that slag out (for other reasons) now it’s 50/50 working as a team with the new one, how it should be. Not all guys are hopeless around the house.

        • Wendy

          No, I know you are right. But a true 50/50 split is still pretty uncommon.

          • Excitedly awaiting Whodunnit

            I guess it depends on how you apportion duties and what value you have on them. Also what works for one couple probably wont work for another.

      • Excitedly awaiting Whodunnit

        Id suggest if the man (or woman) in the relationship isnt doing their share then either a chat bout sharing responsibilities or some with holding of “other duties” is in order.

        I’m the other side of the equation. I earn 60% of what the missus does (She went to uni while I worked – we did it hard for 5 years to get her through – my turn is coming but waited 20 years), but I do probably 75% of the household stuff (dinner, cleaning, firewood, spider killing etc). It works for us as I am home earlier due to my hours so dinners etc arent an issue. We are partners in everything and make decisions jointly (well the big stuff not silly crap like what’s for dinner), sure I earn less but I make up for it with the practical things I can do to save $$$ around the house (jack of all trades).

  • Disinfectant

    Mt other half wanted a pre-nup’. No problem. Then I presented her with mine. That’s when things got tricky. Said she hadn’t expected that.

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