Opinion

Published

How the rise of the female breadwinner will benefit both genders

5 Mins

Based on 2009 Bureau of Labour Statistic figures, “almost 40 per cent of US working wives now out-earn their husbands,” said Mundy. And the US in’t the only nation to feel the change. A new study from VoucherCodesPro.co.uk has discovered women are the breadwinners in 56 per cent of homes across the UK. The women in those households are earning an average of £3,500 than their male partners.

But while Mundy explained that “most of the expert readers who had seen the manuscript [of her book] didn’t believe the statistics”, the slice of wives taking home more than their husbands has steadily been on the rise since 1987. This, she explained, was primarily because more women than men were getting undergraduate and postgrad degrees.

George Charles from VoucherCodesPro, said: “There’s always a stigma that the male is the main earner of households, which is of course an extremely traditional and outdated way of thinking. The fact is, though, that times are changing and it is commonplace for women to take over the role of main breadwinner.

“Our results show this and also show the benefit of having a degree. More women in our study had degrees than men, with more women also being the breadwinner. This points towards a trend of employers searching for and rewarding candidates with degrees.”

Another title of Mundy’s book could have allegedly been “The Big Flip”. She uses the phrase to explain her theories on how in 2025 more than half of the earners-in-chief in households will be women.

Furthermore, Mundy explained that the role-reversal will ultimately benefit both genders. Women will have “the bargaining power they need to usher in a new age of fairness, complete the revolution, and push us past the unhappy days of the so-called second shift, when so many men and women were mired in arguments over equity that always seemed to boil down to laundry and dishes.” 

Meanwhile, men will “craft a broader definition of masculinity, one that includes domestication but also more time spent on manly pursuits: hunting, fishing, and extreme fitness.” Which will be just fine for women because they’ll come to “accept the breadwoman role,” Mundy predicts, and choose spouses who exhibit “supportiveness (a glass of wine waiting at the end of the day, a chance to unburden), parenting skills, and domestic achievements.”

However, Mundy believes that women are actually lagging behind men in adjusting on the personal front. She called it a “challenge” for young women to rewrite their mating scripts in an era where men are less educated. “Sometimes, if women have a husband who is lower key and happy at home, they feel like they haven’t landed the marriage partner they were supposed to land,” she said. She wrote that she was “astonished at how many female breadwinners worried that their husbands felt emasculated by having to ask them for money.

“Why should your husband have to ask you for money?” she asked. “Your earnings should go in a common account…Repeat after me: You are a provider. So act like one.”

One thing is clear, however. Mundy explained that the women she interviewed were “reluctant to really hold their breadwinning status over their partners’ heads in the way that would be a flip of patriarchal behaviour, to go home and just feel like they could do nothing. The women were really appreciative of husbands who were attentive to their welfare. They didn’t take it for granted.” 

Mundy did suggest though that despite the current scene being lousy for both sexes, she was fed up with the “relentless parade of negativity” whenever the topic turns to women earning more than men. “I mean, how could it not be good for women to have more financial resources and to be more empowered?” she asked. “I mean, how could that be a bad thing?”

Concerned with issues surrounding gender diversity in business? Don’t miss the Real Business First Women programme:

Drawing on years of the First Women movement and the phenomenal network of pioneering women the Awards has created, this programme features The First Women Awards and The First Women Summit  designed to educate, mentor and inspire women in all levels of business.

Share this story

How Sports Direct scored an own goal with a bit of nepotism
Life is richer when you’re organised – so why is it so difficult to be?
Send this to a friend