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More women are breadwinners. Now what?

There's been lots of hoopla over the last week about the increase of working mothers who bring home a fatter paycheck than their husband. It started when Pew Research Center released findings that mothers are now the sole or primary provider in 40% of households with children, up from just 11% in 1960.

That's a big shift in household dynamics!

What exactly does that mean? More women are out-earning their husbands but has that really changed anything at home or at work? I think it means that most of us are struggling even harder to find sanity in our lives, to balance our personal and professional commitments and stay sane.  That work life balance struggle can put a giant strain on our home lives -- if we let it.

Pew found the public is conflicted about whether this increase in female breadwinners is a good thing, applauding the economic benefits, but also voicing concerns about the impact on children and marriage. 

However, it has become more expected for married women to join the work force. The employment rate of married mothers with children has increased from 37% in 1968 to 65% in 2011. Yes, most mothers today work. 

The thing is as a nation, we're not so sure this is a good thing. About three-quarters of adults (74%) say the increasing number of women working for pay has made it harder for parents to raise children, and half say that it has made it harder for marriages to be successful. Couples in which the wife earns more report less satisfaction with their marriage and higher rates of divorce. 

At the same time, two-thirds say it has made it easier for families to earn enough money to live comfortably. 

Here's where the problem lies: If moms are making an increasing contributions to the family income, men must make increasing contributions to the family sanity -- that means pitching in at home with the kids. Most men get this. But not all men, and certainly not all bosses. The researchers found that when women earn more, they also tend to do more work around the house. How long can this continue?

What's the next step for our nation's families? Will the roles at home change? Will workplaces become more accommodating? Will we see the trend reverse? Let's hear your thoughts!

Comments

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Mayo

It seems surprising that a woman making a large salary would spend more time at housekeeping rather than hire someone to clean. I wonder about that statistic. It's just not plausible.

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