It’s official, Middle East men aren’t sexist!
“Marry pretty women or ugly ones. Short ones or tall ones. Blondes or brunettes. Just, whatever you do, don’t marry a woman with a career.” So said Michael Noer, Executive News Editor of Forbes.com, in a recent article that argued that men were unhappier in marriages in which women earned more than US$30,000 a year.
Thankfully, Middle East men are more appreciative of a career woman’s virtues, according to a study by the Middle East’s number one job site, Bayt.com, which challenges popular Middle East male stereotypes.
In an August online poll, Bayt.com asked visitors whether marrying a career woman was a mistake. More than 60 per cent of the 760 respondents gave a resounding vote of confidence to working women, while less than a third said that career women made a poor choice of partner because they were ‘never at home’.
Michael Noer’s opinion piece provoked a storm of controversy when it appeared this summer, and ultimately an apology from the magazine’s editor-in-chief, Steve Forbes.
Noer used statistics to support his arguments, but career women around the globe were far from impressed. In a rebuttal on the Forbes website, Forbes employee Elizabeth Corcoran raged: “Note to guys: Start by going to the gym. Then try some new music. Or a book. Or a movie. Keep connected to the rest of the world. You’ll win, and so will your marriage.”
According to Bayt.com, Middle East men do not share Noer’s views (although they might need Corcoran’s advice) and are even happy to earn less than their partner. When asked in a September Bayt.com poll ‘Would it bother you if your wife earned more than you?’, 64.1 per cent of the 832 people polled answered ‘Not at all’.
Only 18 per cent felt it was still their role to be the family’s main breadwinner, and 17.8 per cent said they might not like their partner earning more than them but they would not admit it.
Bayt.com’s Mona Ataya, Vice President for Marketing, said: “It’s refreshing to see that men in this region are more progressive than many people think, especially outside the Middle East - and they clearly have a mature attitude towards the workplace. Either that or they don’t mind women doing all the work!”