Washington, May 11: They might be going around with the most good- looking girls, but when it comes finding a wife, men look up to their mums as a role model.
A new study led by Christine Whelan a visiting assistant professor of sociology in the University of Iowa College of Liberal Arts and Sciences has revealed that high-achieving men in their 20s and 30s are more likely to marry a woman whose education level mirrors their mom's.
The investigators found that nearly 80 percent of the high-achieving men whose mothers had college degrees married women with college degrees, and 19 percent of them married women with graduate degrees.
Of men whose moms had graduate degrees, 62 percent tied the knot with graduate degree holders, and 27 percent married women with college degrees.
Moreover, 68 pct of high-achieving men agreed with the statement, "Smart women make better mothers."
"Successful men in their 20s and 30s today are the sons of a pioneering generation of high-achieving career women. Their mothers serve as role models for how a woman can be nurturing and successful at the same time," said Whelan.
"One man I interviewed put it like this: 'If your mother is a success, you don't have any ideas of success and family that exclude a woman from working.' This Mother's Day, I think we should thank those moms for leading the way toward gender equality for a younger generation," she added.
Along with UI graduate student Christie Boxer, Whelan is analysing the data from a Harris Interactive survey of more than 3,700 Americans conducted for her book in January and May 2006.
The January survey included a nationally representative group of 1,629 high-achieving men and women ages 25-40. The May survey involved a nationally representative group of 2,073 adult Americans.
The findings revealed that 72 percent of mothers of high-achieving men worked outside the home after they had children. Among those men, three-quarters agreed or strongly agreed with the statement "Men are more attracted to women who are successful in their careers."
The study also found that men who grew up with working moms were almost twice as likely to marry a woman who makes 50,000 dollars or more per year.
"These young men saw their mothers as smart women who could choose to work outside the home, and now that they're making decisions about what they want in a wife, it seems that they are choosing similar types of women," said Boxer.