As a group, black women don't yet outearn black men. But college-educated black women do earn more than the median for all black working men - or, for that matter, for all women.
The income gap will likely become more pronounced, as black women continue to enroll in college at a greater rate than their male counterparts. Twenty-five percent of young black males go to college, compared to 35 percent of women.
The difference is evident locally as well. Black women enrolled at the University of Illinois at Chicago outnumber black men by 3 to 1. At Roosevelt University, it's 4 to 1.
An important criticism of studies of sex differences in sexuality and mate preferences is that there appears to be considerable overlap between males and females, and this overlap may be equally or more important than the strongest differences (Bixler 1989). In Buss and Barnes (1986), the trait “kind and understanding” was the top preference for both sexes. Women rated eight traits, including “healthy” and “physically attractive” as more important than “good earning capacity;” men rated three characteristics as more important than “physically attractive” (Bixler 1989). Sex differences also vary in content and magnitude in different phases of relationships. For casual sexual relationships, women are choosy about partners’ IQ and socioeconomic status (SES) and men are relatively indifferent, but both sexes value these traits when asked what they desire in a marriage partner (Kenrick and Keefe 1989, 1992; Kenrick et al. 1990; Thornhill 1989).
A new study in the journal Personal Relationships reveals that women prefer mates who are recognized by their peers for their skills, abilities, and achievements, while not preferring men who use coercive tactics to subordinate their rivals. Indeed, women found dominance strategies of the latter type to be attractive primarily when men used them in the context of male-male athletic competitions.
The theory of social comparison processes suggests that individuals are attracted to each other on the basis of similarity in opinions, abilities, and emotional state. Generalizing further, attraction was hypothesized to be a function of similarity-dissimilarity in economic status. 84 Ss were divided into high and low economic status on the basis of their responses to items dealing with spending money. 3 experimental conditions were devised in which Ss evaluated a stranger on the basis of his or her responses to the economic and some attitudinal items. In 1 condition, low-status Ss responded to a high-status stranger; in a 2nd condition, high-status Ss responded to a low-status stranger; and in a 3rd condition, high- and low-status Ss responded to strangers similar to themselves. As hypothesized, attraction was significantly (p < .001) affected by similarity-dissimilarity of economic status.
Collectively, the results of these studies demonstrate clearly that dominance and prestige are distinct constructs, with very different effects, in the context of women’s mate preferences. Study 1 showed that women preferred targets on whom peers conferred prestig ebased status because of specific knowledge or skills to targets who achieved dominance based status through strategies of force or the threat of force, given equivalent status outcomes. Study 2 further demonstrated that, when dominance and prestige are manipulated independently, women consistently prefer high prestige to low prestige.
This is a really illuminating study. It deflates the stereotypical notion that aggression in and of itself is viewed as a desirable male trait among females, and that all the attendant negative characteristics (being inconsiderate, controlling, brusque) are really positives. In short, nice guys don't finish last if they are recognized and respected for their skills in their field.