updated 23 Oct 2012, 03:32
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Sun, Apr 22, 2012
The New Paper
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6 in 10 Muslim women grads marry down
by Benson Ang

SINGAPORE - Those involved in the dating scene have had their say.

But what do the numbers tell us?

About 25 per cent of graduate brides got hitched to non-graduate grooms in non-Muslim marriages in 2010, according figures from the Department of Statistics.

That same year, 57 per cent of graduate brides married non-graduate grooms in Muslim marriages.

Psychology professor Norman Li from the Singapore Management University (SMU) told The New Paper that Muslim women could be more willing to marry men who are less-educated than them due to the gender ratio of Muslim graduates.

Prof Li did a study last year that found that the top criterion Singaporean women look for in a potential husband is social status, whereas men go for looks first.

He told TNP that the tendency for women to marry "up" has been supported by mate preference research across various cultures and periods.

"There are social or cultural elements to this," he said.

"But there are also evolutionary underpinnings, too."

He explained that ancestral women who mated with men with higher social status or more resources had children who were more likely to survive.

He said: "Even though male resources may not be as important today as in the past, the female preference for a resourceful partner is still present."


Associate Professor Kirpal Singh, who teaches English literature at SMU and has commented on social issues, said his observation was that society was still old-fashioned, especially when it came to social status.

He added: "(This is) a pity though, because love should transcend these (categories)."

"While there are some graduates who are willing and even happy to date and marry non-graduates, the general principle is still (to) marry someone of your own educational level," he said.

This article was first published in The New Paper.

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