Dr Berkay Özcan, from the London School of Economics and Political Science (LSE) published a new research claiming that an increased risk of divorce pushes women to work longer hours outside the home. The research that was published in the latest issue of European Economic Review shows that for every percent of the risk of marital breakdown women tend to work an extra 12 minutes per week.

As Dr Özcan stated: “We see that women who are at a higher risk of divorce significantly increase how much they work. And it isn’t that women working outside the home are more likely to get divorced. Rather, faced with a rising probability of divorce, women work more, whether they ultimately separate or not. They are working as a form of insurance in case of divorce or in anticipation of it.”

Dr Özcan and his co-researchers (Drs Olivier Bargain, Libertad González, and Claire Keane) used the legalization of divorce in Ireland in 1996 in order to gather information for their research. Indeed, they noticed that non-religious married women increased their work time outside the home by around 18%, compared to religious married women. In specific, non-religious women were 34 % more likely to divorce, whereas religious women were only 7% more prone to leave their husbands, after the legalization of divorce in Ireland.

In addition, research findings indicated that women’s increased work outside the home was not compensated by either a decrease in time spent with their children or an increase in childcare by fathers.

On the other hand, the research did not prove any connection between men increasing their work hours and the elevated risk of divorce.

Family Law in Ireland has changed dramatically in 1995 with the passing of the Divorce referendum which lifted the ban on divorce. Currently, one of every six Irish marriages is estimated to end in divorce, while divorce rates keep on increasing.