The Social Science Research Centre Berlin (WZB) asked 2,000 men and women in 2007 on their life plans. Last year, 211 of these men and 290 of the women were re-visited to see what had changed.
The most recent study, published in Brigitte magazine, found that more than two thirds of men expected their partner to be financially independent. In 2007, only half found this important.
“Blonde, cute and quiet no longer cuts it,” said Brigitte Huber, editor-in-chief of the magazine. “A man wants a woman who he can show off in public. A clever woman is the new status symbol for a man.”
Seventy-six percent of men said having a partner without a job was out of the question, while 45 percent said they wanted a woman who earned a serious amount of money.
Yet men not only said they wanted a career woman, but also a partner that wanted to have children. Just a third of men said they would be willing to take a career break to help with a newborn, so this meant shifting responsibility to the mother.
Jutta Allmendinger, who led the study, said: “Smart is the new sexy.” She added that women were increasingly delaying having a family and putting a career first. “Children are an add-on” she told newspaper the Süddeutsche Zeitung.
Results from the study five years ago showed that 92 percent of women said they wanted children. Five years later, only 42 percent of these women have actually had children, with many saying they were too worried that it would negatively affect their career.
These concerns are reflected in Germany’s birth rate which is one of the lowest in Europe.
Over 80 percent of women said that they thought they would regret not having children in the future. But half said they could imagine having none at all.