The Telegraph
Since 1st March, 1999
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Break up' No problem at 40-plus
- Husbands low on priority list, kids’ future more important

London, Sept. 25: Most women over 40 worry more about their children’s future and breast cancer than breaking up with their husbands, says research.

Increased earning power, self-confidence and feelings of independence among 40-something women mean they are less concerned about relationships with men.

The research, among more than 7,000 women, comes after official figures showed marriage rates at an eight-year low, with many women choosing cohabitation or a single life.

Michael Noer wrote in the US business bible Forbes magazine last month that marrying a “career woman”, presumably one in her mid-30s or early 40s, was a sure route to misery and divorce, sparking a storm of protest that he was “bloodboilingly misogynistic”.

According to today’s research, by Woman & Home magazine, a third of women over the age of 40 are the main income earners in their homes.

Along with financial clout, they make major decisions such as choosing where to invest, which school or college is best and which car to buy. While women make only 52 per cent of all new car purchases themselves, they influence 85 per cent of them.

Advertising agencies said “everybody under the sun” was targeting these women.

Rita Clifton, the chairman of the global brand consultancy Interbrand, said: “There has been a radical change over the last 10 years. Women over 40 have money, power, they don’t look like their mothers any more.

“Madonna, and (the actresses) Kristin Scott Thomas and Rene Russo are regarded as female icons. Women with children early in life have a ‘second coming’ in their forties. They blossom.

“Those who left having children until later are kept useful and become more energetic because of them.”

Richard Morris, of DDB London, the advertising agency, said many products, such as TV sports channels, were sold to men, but it was women who decided whether they should have them.

“Until the women say yes to allowing them into the home, men don’t get to make the choice of supplier or package. This effect has been dubbed ‘the female handbrake’, and the holy grail is to find ways of lifting it.”

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