Breadwinning Moms: Are Women Going to Overtake Men as the Leading Family Providers?

Oct 14, 2013

By Aneesha Jhingan

Many modern women have rejected the sweetly subservient June Cleaver housewife role over the past several decades. They are not only working outside of the home, but they are also moving beyond the stereotypical secretarial and teaching positions embracing all types of jobs. Women today make up almost half of the U.S. workforce, according to a 2013 Pew Research Center study. In fact, the study revealed that mothers are now the primary (or sole) source of income for 40 percent of American households with children under 18 years of age.

Men, on the other hand, have been taking on a greater share of house and family responsibilities. More businesses are adapting to men’s changing role by offering paternity leave, and an increasing share of men are staying at home to help take care of the kids. The New York Times (2013) reported that the number of stay-at-home dads has doubled over the past decade. A 2013 study by Boston College found that most fathers do not value being the breadwinner of the family more than giving their children emotional support and being involved in the children’s lives.

Despite changing spousal roles, Americans’ perceptions of these changes are not all positive. The majority of Americans, according to Pew Research Center data, view mothers’ greater presence in the workplace as an obstacle to having a successful marriage and raising children. Fox News contributor Erick Erickson even remarked that “having mom as a primary breadwinner is bad for kids and bad for marriage.” Most people, however, continue to believe that working mothers make for a more comfortable life and support the concept of a breadwinning wife.

The infographic below provides more data on the breadwinning moms of America and the public perception of the trend.

Please reference the visual for a full source list.

Breadwinning Moms: Are Women Going to Overtake Men as the Leading Family Providers?

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