According to a recent study by Pew Social Trends, the median income for a family with a woman breadwinner is higher than that of families with a male breadwinner. However, it’s better to be a breadwinner than have no breadwinner at all. Families where husband and wife tied in income had over 10 percent less in family income.
These statistics make for interesting reading, and perhaps there is nothing but positive feelings for working families at this news. However, there are more than a few issues that come with the idea of dual career families.
Is It Good for the Family?
According to the Pew survey, the jury is out on whether this is a positive development. Clearly, it’s a win for equal rights and pay for women, and provides evidence that women breadwinners can be as effective (if not more effective) in earning compared to husbands. However, respondents seem unsure if it is a good thing.
Both men and women found that more women in the workforce has made it much harder in raising children (74 percent) and to keep a marriage together (50 percent). However, 67 percent believe that it does contribute to a more comfortable lifestyle. It’s quite clear that families understand the financial benefits, but struggle over whether it is positive for the family life.
Should Dads Help More?
How about dad? Can’t he take a bigger role with the kids since mom is out-earning dad?
Survey results show again that men and women struggle with replacing mom with dad. Only 8 percent of respondents saw it as a positive for dad to fill in with mom. Moreover, 51 percent thought that the family was better off with mom at home, even though she can make large financial contributions to the family.
Are These Feelings Justified?
Whether you like public opinion or not, these are how people in our day have responded. The big question is “is it justified?”
What I find shocking is that while society has grasped the idea of mom going to work and seems to celebrate the development, men as the stay-at-home parent has not changed at all.
According to a timeline of responses, the number of respondents comfortable with mom at work has increased 5 percentage points over the last 15 years. Yet, only a mere 8 percent of respondents thought families benefit from dad staying home.
I find this situation quite sad. Odds are that when husbands and wives talk about child rearing, it’s mostly a matter of should mom work or not. It’s a two-option decision, when it should be three: mom-at-home, dad-at-home or both working. If a majority of people feel that the family benefits from a parent at home, you would hope more than 8 percent would vote for dad to potentially fill in as a benefit to the family.