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What's a Woman Worth?

Date:5 FEB 2010

BARONESS RUTH DEECH Gresham Professor of Law

Imagine three sisters. One is very pretty and marries a national footballer; they have no children and it is a short marriage before she leaves him for an international celebrity. The second sister marries a clergyman and has several children; the marriage ends after 30 years as he is moving into retirement. The third sister never marries; she stays at home and nurses first their mother who has a disability and then their father who has Alzheimer's and dies without making a will. Which of the three sisters will get the windfall: an amount sufficient to keep her in luxury for the rest of her days when her relationship with a man comes to an end? And which one most needs and deserves financial support even of the bare minimum?

The divorce courts are still trying to put women in the position they would have been in had the marriage not ended. If you marry a captain of industry you become one yourself for all time at least as far as the standard of living is...

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