A 1993 UK report suggests that as women grow older, their chances for marrying decrease, despite the fact there are more single men (divorced, widowed or never married) than single women (of all ages, except those in their late forties). The report found that men, particularly those previously married, tended to look for partners at least 10 year younger than themselves. A 1991 census cited there were 390,000 unattached women aged 40-44 to every 228,000 men aged 45-49 in the UK.
Stereotypes about unmarried women may be generated by men and other women who are intimidated by signs of female independence, which need not be threatening at all. In turn, such stereotypes may force single women into feelings of shame and obligation to eventually marry.