When I was single in my early 20s there were plenty of fish in the sea. When I was single again in my late 20s all the fish had been caught or had migrated to other shores. I began to think pretty seriously about New Zealand’s man drought - what it meant for me, and what it means for our country.
I ended up finding a wonderful guy but that experience of being single stayed with me, and I decided to write an article that explored the more serious side of the man drought - a topic that’s typically been covered in a pretty light-hearted fashion.
As I researched the story it became clear that there’s an intellectual man drought within the physical man drought. Women are flocking to universities in much higher numbers than men, and are finding it hard to find similarly-educated partners.
The rise in education across the board, along with the trend of ‘assortative mating’ (whereby like partners with like) is also contributing to inequality in New Zealand, as people who are well-educated tend to earn higher incomes.
After a couple of false starts and with enormous thanks to co-author Russell Blackstock, who transformed the article and upped its relevancy by tying it into The Bachelor, the article was published in the Herald on Sunday today!
This is the first article I’ve ever had published in a newspaper. Huge thanks to everyone who helped me out by agreeing to be interviewed, providing industry advice or reading my endless drafts.
You can read the full article here: Intellectual man drought foils search for Mr Right.
2023 Burns fellow Kathryn van Beek has an MA from Victoria University Wellington - Te Herenga Waka’s International Institute of Modern Letters. She is a winner of the Mindfood Short Story Competition and the Headland Prize. Her collection of short stories, Pet, is available as a podcast, and her work has also appeared in Overland, takahē, Newsroom, and the Sunday Star-Times. She lives in UNESCO City of Literature Ōtepoti Dunedin with her two rescue cats.