Women delaying marriage for career

A growing number of Greeks are postponing marriage to pursue careers, according to experts who told Sunday’s Kathimerini that changing role models and more job opportunities for women are contributing to lower birthrates. Recent figures from Eurostat, the statistical arm of the European Union, showed that there were 4.63 marriages in Greece for every 1,000 people in 2004 versus 8.45 in 1975. Women are walking down the aisle for the first time at the age of 27.7 (2003 data) compared to age 23.6 in 1975. Byron Kotzamanis, a demography professor at the University of Thessaly, said growth in the services industry as well as a rise in household incomes and better education among women have contributed to the change in family patterns. «People’s ambitions are more personalized and this has led to a lower rating of marriage and the emergence of new forms of co-habitation that are more flexible and less constraining,» he said. Figures show that about a third of people under the age of 30 live at home due to a lack of personal financial stability. Psychologist Maria Lasithiotakis said that Greek men are also contributing to the current demographic equation as they say they are often not ready for marriage before age 35 and have difficulty in coming to terms with women in their new role. «We have an interaction of factors (from both sexes) which contributes to delays in marriages,» she added.