Women twice as likely as men to divorce after CEO-level promotion, study finds

A promotion to the C-suite is more likely to result in a divorce for women than their male colleagues, according to a study published in the American Economic Journal.

For the study, Swedish researchers examined data across private businesses with at least 100 employees to analyze how promotions affect the probability of divorce among heterosexual men and women. When comparing the relationship trajectories of candidates who won or lost a bid for a high-level position, the baseline probability of divorce for women doubled, but for men it didn't.

The same is true for women elected to a public office. The trend was also observed among female physicians, members of law enforcement and clergy who achieved major promotions, according to a Business Insider article on the study.

Part of the reason could be post-promotion tension and conflict that sometimes arises when couples experience a significant shift in roles. The shift can create problems, like fewer hours spent together or a change in who takes care of what in the home. 

"It is still seen as quite unusual for men to be the main supportive spouse in someone else's career," study author Johanna Rickne, PhD, told BBC. Dr. Rickne explained when a woman gets a major promotion, husbands often find the transition more difficult than their wives. The labor market is also behind when it comes to gender equality, and "this norm changing is pretty far off," she said.

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