The role of breadwinner in the household has historically been occupied by the male. In the past, it really wasn’t even much of a question of who made more money in the household. It was the man, and that was the beginning and end of the debate. The only question might have been whether or not the woman even worked outside the house at all.
Well, times have changed. A recent analysis reported by the Pew Research Center shares some findings that reveal that the number of women that are now breadwinners is no longer insignificant. According to the findings, 40% of households with kids (under 18) have a breadwinner mom.
What thoughts come to mind when you read this? Is it surprise? Does this give you positive vibes, or negative ones?
I think this is the type of thing that most everyone has an opinion on, whether or not they want to admit it or even realize it. Sure, one way to look at it is to say “so what?” Certainly a valid response, but I think underlying a “who cares” opinion is a real view on this with either a positive edge or a negative one. Some people will be slightly brightened by this and see it as a good thing, and others will see this as a not so good thing for society.
Digging deeper into what was reported, these moms can be segmented into 2 groups: single mothers (63% of the total), and married mothers (37% of the total). Additionally, in terms of the latter group – married mothers – many more of them are working these days than in the past. Specifically, 65% in 2011 versus 37% in 1968. That’s quite an increase, no question about it.
This has been reported across the web, and I’ve taken a quick look at a few write-ups to get a sense of the sentiment of commenters. Interestingly, I noticed a high level of negative comments toward this. Sure, there were some people making what appeared to be “shock value” type comments, but these findings didn’t exactly seem to have been met with applause.
What do I think about this?
Well, I think this is very positive. I’ve expressed this before, when I’ve said that “stereotypes suck” as we talked about working mothers and double standards. As if there was something inherently selfish about a mother that works full-time, which I disagree with. Also, the idea that there is something wrong with non-breadwinner father or stay-at-home dad is short-sighted in my view.
What I like is that there is opportunity for people to do what they want to do. Growing up, my mother worked. Not when I was very young though – she stayed home until I was a bit older, then transitioned to full-time work. This is probably why I don’t see why gender roles should preclude either person from working full-time or even taking on breadwinner duties. Whatever works for each household should be fine, right?
As a protective parent of a school-age daughter, I especially like to see equal opportunities available for females. Not sure if it took being a Dad to fully come to this point of view (I’d like to think not), but here I am. I’d like to see her be able to do whatever she wants to when she grows up.
So, the general sentiment that there is something wrong with a picture of women taking on financial responsibility is one that I shy away from.
It’s a hot-button topic for many, but I’m curious of what others think of this.
My Questions for You
What is your opinion on this?
If you had to choose one way to characterize this – positive or negative – which would it be. Again if we can go beyond “doesn’t matter” or “who cares”, we can dig deeper to at least share our sentiment either way.
Do you feel that this represents progress in our society, or a breakdown of accepted norms?