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Gen Z women value owning a home more than marriage, and it’s about time

September 29, 2023 — 11.50am

Over shared dessert at a pub, Georgia tells me her latest life plans. She’s launching a fashion brand in Paris. Will meet girlfriends after work for cocktails before going home to her apartment.

No partner in the plans, G?

“Kate,” she says. “No. Boys are so much work. You have to look after them.”

Gen Z girls and women are prioritising home ownership over relationships.

Gen Z girls and women are prioritising home ownership over relationships.Credit: Warner Bros

We dig back into our ice cream sundae and I think, as always, Georgia has got it going on. At age eight. In grade three.

Her mum Mia is rapt. “Georgia has always talked about when she can work at Maccas then Mecca to get to Paris and buy a G-Wagon. Very independent.”

Can’t love it enough. And powerhouse little Georgia isn’t alone in putting herself first socially and economically while designing her ideal life, unaided – unhindered? – by a bloke.

According to the latest annual Girlguiding UK survey, which spoke to 2614 girls and women aged between seven and 21, the majority of young girls would rather own their own house than have a husband.

When asked what they would most like to achieve by the age of 30, most participants listed “owning my own house” as their top priority.

Homeownership was prioritised by 52 per cent, while 48 per cent nominated “having a partner or being married”. A “worthwhile job” was most important to 42 per cent and 33 per cent said “having children”.


The “a man is not a financial plan” message was backed this month by Emma Raducanu. In a video for a bank, the 20-year-old US Open champ narrated a reimagining of fairy tales that writes out Prince Charming.

Rather than marrying rich men, Cinderella, Sleeping Beauty and Rapunzel all make a motza from starting business and investing. Says Raducanu, “they’ve used their brains, imagination and good sense to earn enough money to look after themselves.”

Compared to my Gen Xers, this younger generation is so assertive, has so much more strategic self-belief, is so much more educated about sex, gender equality, choices, money, everything.

Actually, that’s not quite true. We were educated but not necessarily taught to have a voice. At 17, we were self-conscious about being seen as bitches or goody goodies or virgins or moles. About our bodies, what we wore and what we said. I certainly left school expecting to be married by 25 (I was, at 24, the oldest bride of the three Halfpenny sisters.)

“At a concert a couple of months ago, it was magical to see teenage girls of all body shapes and sizes wearing whatever they wanted,” one friend says.

“Dressing not for the male gaze but for themselves and the fun of it. They’re like, ‘men are an accessory to my life, they’re not my life.’”

Now younger women believe they can do anything because they see it via that little computer in their hands. They see social norms and gender equality movements evolving, which inspires them to challenge roles, voice opinions, break barriers confidently. Be their own women.

Quick straw poll. I text my niece Ruby, 16. Husband or house? “House. It would be more fulfilling, create a sense of stability and give me independence. I’ve thought about my own home since I was little, creating everything exactly how I like.”

Her sister Lola, 12: “House! I’d buy a dog and be happy and wouldn’t need a husband. I’d much rather work and make my own future.”


Ginger, 17, has worked at a supermarket since she was 14 and has a 2024 gap year lined up in Canada before doing law and international studies at uni.

“House ... der,” says Ginger. “I’m going to be self-made so won’t need someone for financial support.”

She’s inspired by single women on social media who enjoy life without needing a male partner. “So cool. That freedom is what I aspire to. I feel there would be something so liberating about your own space, with pink sheets and the toilet seat down and no smells except candles.”

It’s not an anti-men thing, Ginger says. “Men are awesome. I just don’t need one to live my life.”

Kate Halfpenny is the founder of Bad Mother Media.

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