A new change is just around the corner, and soon it may be women bringing home the bacon instead of men (they actually have been for a long time but it’s becoming more apparent now). A new book by Liza Mundy, entitled The Richer Sex, analyzes how this role reversal has come to pass and the consequences,both good and bad, of this switch-a-roo.
It was once rare to see a women who was the sole bread winner in her family. Fifty years ago, men surveyed preferred women who possessed domestic skills, rather than personal financial prowess. If a woman was supporting her family, she was most likely living in poverty and was forced to work because her husband was unable to employment. Nowadays, however, this trend has reversed and women in middle and upper class households are entering higher paying and more prestigious positions.
What’s the reason for this fairly sudden change in gender roles within the workplace and at home? Multiple factors have converged in the last twenty years, making it possible, the the norm for women to work in higher paying and quality position, and be seen as primary financial supporters in their households. In the past two to three decades, women have entered colleges around the country in droves. Currently, it’s normal for women to outnumber their male counterparts on college campuses. Also, in the 1980s, women began to achieve equal pay (close to it) and higher positions, previously reserved for the opposite sex.
In addition to women’s positions increasing over the past three decades, the recession has greatly boosted our presence in the workforce and our financial responsibilities at home. It’s been reported that 75 percent of the jobs lost between 2007 and 2009, due to the recession, were lost by men. The increasing numbers of men losing their positions, although sad, leaves space available for women to full these positions. And although women have been making substantial gains in the workforce for some time now, the current economic times make their efforts and their positions that much more evident.
But if you think the “glass ceiling” has finally shattered, think again. On average, women working full time still only make about 80 cents to every man’s dollar, in all fields. The fear is then, that if women are increasingly becoming the sole bread winners in their families, they will have to support their household with less pay.
Although there is mixed opinion (in the female ranks) about whether or not women should be expected to support their families financially, men are increasingly sharing their attitudes about women’s roles. Statistics show that more and more men are wanting to settle down and spend quality time with their family and children, and are even willing to stay at home to raise their children while their wives work full time. Also, many men are seeking women who are highly educated and whose financial potential is equal or more than their own.