Sadly, women don't rule the world. Far from it. Even getting to equal seems like an uphill battle in most countries. But sometimes, there are islands in the sphere of human interaction where women decide what happens.
Can that happen in dating? Yep. One situation where women certainly have bargaining power is when men outnumber women. A high ratio of men to women means men compete for women, and women can choose their mate.
There are several situations where we find a high gender ratio: some countries (here I mention China), some immigrant communities, college majors, social groups and others. Joshua Angrist and colleagues have studied a variety of immigrant communities in the U.S. and have found five outcomes in their relationships when women have the upper hand:
- There are more marriages. Groups where men outnumber women see their marriage rates go up, compared to groups with even gender ratios.
- Men earn more. As men have to make an effort to gain an edge over potential competitors for women, one area they excel in is income.
- Women tend to work less. Overall, fewer women choose to work outside the home. This suggests that, at least in the communities studied, many women desired to stay at home and raise their families.
- Couples earn more. Women who choose to work earn more on average than working women in gender-even societies. Combined with point three, this means that women won't work for less than a certain salary any more.
- Children born in this environment are better off. After all the above, it's an empirical fact that in societies where men compete for women, parents of young children earn more. Children grow up in wealthier households than in societies where women have less bargaining power.
Bottom line: Bargaining power for women is a pretty good thing. For everyone.