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Women Becoming Breadwinners, Whether They Like it or Not

June 10, 2013
Plain English Version

A new study confirms what many people already know from their own experience. There now are more women working; more women who are the head-of-the-household; and more women who are earning more than their husbands.

No matter who is doing the work, there are differences in rewards. The chart shows that most of the women breadwinners are heading single-parent families. And most are minority women with little education. Their average income is $23,000.

In four out of ten households, married women are the only provider or the main provider. In six out of ten, single women head the family and work. Fifty years ago, fewer than one out of ten households was headed by working mothers, and only two out of ten households were headed by single mothers.

Nobody seems entirely comfortable with these numbers. In married families where the wife earns more (about one out of four), the wife still does more of the housework, not less. Also, married women apparently able to earn more than their husbands tend not to take jobs or delay going to work.

Americans accept the idea that women can earn more than men. As you might expect, younger couples are more accepting of women’s earning power.

Lastly, the large number of minority mothers who are unmarried, poorly educated, and have low-incomes is seen as a problem. There are more of them than ever. However, even now, Americans see these numbers as less of a problem than they were just a few years ago.

Source: The New York Times

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