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Bye Bye Bridget Jones?

The stigma around singledom is undergoing a steady revolution  with 30-somethings feeling less pressure to be in  a relationship (only 21%  admit to feeling pressure to get a partner) and 28% feeling pressure to get engaged or married. Only 58% of women would be disappointed if they didn’t  marry, which signifies a shift away from traditional relationship dynamics and the rise of independence. 

 And outside of marriage, there are fewer 30-year-old women in a relationship than a decade ago, with 38% currently in a relationship versus 46% 10 years ago. This is in line with figures released by the Office for National Statistics that show the number of women aged 30-44 who aren’t living in a couple and have never married rose by almost 15% between 2002 and 2020. 


There are several reasons for the about-turn of the Bridget Jones narrative. This is a group increasingly more educated, high-earning and financially independent than their male peers. Yes, the gender pay gap is still alive and kicking – research from the Fawcett Society estimates another 27 years of disparity – but analysis from Sky News shows a narrowing, with women earning 89p for every £1 that a man earns. Here’s hoping that an 18-year-old woman entering the workforce today sees the gap’s final demise within her career lifetime. 


When it comes to education, The Telegraph reports that girls continue to outperform boys at GCSEs and A-Levels, with more than half (53.6%) of girls continuing into higher education, v 40.2% of boys. So  what we’re left with is a large cohort of highly educated and (almost) equally paid women prioritising self-growth over finding Mr or Mrs Right. 


“I’m  much happier since I stopped dating on apps. I’d  rather take life as it comes and be  happy alone than be treated like shit by guys who aren’t  good enough for me.” – Women at 30 interview. 


So  what does this mean for the future? From confident singledom to running a marathon or leaving an unhealthy relationship, brands need to align their storytelling with the moments this generation is striving for and help them make it as much of a milestone moment as announcing an engagement once was.  


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