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Chinese Women Favor Men with Potential, Not Qualifications

In a world that abounds in opportunities, women say an ideal husband should boast career development potential and preferably a decent income, but not necessarily very high qualifications.

Psychologists with the elite Beijing University have found that a man's schooling does not matter as much to young women as it did in the 1980s, as most women believe that a man with potential makes a better partner, regardless of his education.

Prof. Qian Mingyi and colleagues made a comparative study recently on 131 classified ads put up by "lonely heart women" in " Women of China" between 1985 and 2000.

The monthly magazine was first published in 1958 to focus on women's affairs.

Some 73 percent of the women who posted ads in 1985 said explicitly they wanted to marry men with higher education, whereas only 29 percent still did so in 2000.

In 2000, 65 percent of the women expected potential partners to be successful in their career, as against 42 percent in 1985.

This change in expectations, according to Prof. Qian, showed that high qualifications do not necessarily guarantee good pay and career success.

"It's natural for women to prefer men with greater capacity and higher social status," said the professor. "From the evolutionary point of view, men with better social and economic conditions are more likely to ensure the well-being of their offspring."

Classified ads for lonely hearts have helped several million people find matches since they appeared in Chinese newspapers and magazines in 1981.

Despite a drop in the number of advertisers in recent years, Prof. Qian found that more women are willing to post ads in their search for "Mr. Right".

The well-educated, who were traditionally considered low- profile intellectuals trying to stay away from public sight, were also searching for partners through ads + 46 percent of all the women who put up ads on "Women of China" in 2000 were college graduates, according to Qian.

The professor found that single parents were taking up a larger percentage of the advertisers, from 14 percent in 1985 to 44 percent in 2000.

"Classified ads are no more a reserve for the never-married," said Prof. Qian, "divorced and widowed people are also pinning their hopes on ads to start a new life."

(Xinhua News Agency  December 29, 2003)


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