It was only a few decades ago that many women viewed higher education mainly as a way of finding a husband—earning the ol’ M.R.S. degree, as it was called. Times have changed considerably since then, so it sounds more than a little odd to hear Helen Fraser, the chief executive of the UK’s Girls’ Day School Trust, say she believes that schools should be teaching girls how to find husbands. But before you freak out and start setting undergarments on fire, you should know that she’s actually proposing that we educate girls about how to find a supportive partner who can help them realize the dream of having a fulfilling career and a family at the same time. Sounds kind of smart, actually.
Fraser, who is 63 and was formerly the managing director of Penguin Books, said she began thinking about this idea after she learned that Facebook’s Sheryl Sandberg had said, “The most important career choice you’ll make is who you marry.” Fraser believes that if girls want to have it all—meaning, in this case, a successful career, a marriage, and children—they are going to need to pick the right person to help them accomplish it. Sure, we all kind of know that in theory, but we’re not necessarily as directed in that department as we are in educating ourselves and finding a profession. But Fraser says we should be just as “ambitious” in our relationships as we are in our careers. Huh.