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Sunday, December 2, 2012

Who brings home the bacon?

In movies, on TV, and in the reality of the past several centuries, women went to college to find wealthy husbands, at least in the majority of cases. Baring college, women would seek out men who earned "good livings" to support them.

That traditional stereotype, based on statistical fact, has reversed itself, according to a study reported on NPR's Morning Edition this morning. Follows is the start of the story, with full audio and trascript available on the NPR web site. The full story includes a link a download, with charts, statistics and charts from the Pew Research Center.

We found that increasingly, women are more likely to marry husbands who have lower education levels than they do and lower income levels than they do.

It is important to note that the study used 1970 and 2007, both years prior to recessions that may have skewed the numbers. During 2008 and 2009 the "great recession" saw, for the first time in US History, more male primary bread-earners lose their jobs than lower level paying jobs for men and women.

Adjusted incomes have not risen with the cost of living over the same period studied, so the need for two income families has drastically increased. With this change women have entered the work place in large numbers, bringing their skills, talents and ambitions into the economic mix. An intesting side note is that in doing so, women entering the work force may have contributed to keeping pay scale growth below increased costs of living.

Commission jobs have seen commission levels drop. International competition and other factors have deceased profit margins. There are many other factors to study in looking at the broader issue of why it is women now earn, on the average, more than their spouse, and why women are seeing and earning college degrees in larger numbers.

A summary of the NPR story follows:

January 19, 2010

The joke used to be that some women went to college to get their M.R.S. — that is, a husband. In sheer economic terms, marriage was long the best way for a woman to get ahead. But a study by the Pew Research Center finds that there's been a role reversal when it comes to men, women and the economics of marriage.

The study compares marriages in 2007 with those in 1970, when few wives worked — and it's no wonder why. Until 1964, a woman could legally be fired when she got married. Even a woman with a college degree likely made less than a man with a high-school diploma.

Many more women are now working, and in a greater variety of jobs. Add to that the decline of gender discrimination, and women's median wages have risen sharply in recent decades even as men's have remained stagnant or fallen. 

On top of this — for the first time ever among those age 44 and younger —- more women than men have college degrees.

"Now, women have a completely different point of view," Coontz says. "They say overwhelmingly — 87 percent — that it's more important to have a man who can communicate well, who can be intimate and who will share the housework than to have someone who makes more money than you do."


Jessica Pacheco said...

I guess since these women can provide for themselves now they don't need a man to bring in money. They would just like to be satisfied emotionally. It's interesting to see how our gender roles have changed so much.




Anonymous said...


COM 101

Anonymous said...

Where is my b...h. Better have my money!
John Allen

Anonymous said...

Society is moving forward. Women are able to have better life than before.

-Junyi Zhu

Anonymous said...

I’m glad to know that I live at a time where a women isn’t just seen as a house wife, but as a women full of intelligence and talents as well with the capacity of doing everything a man can do.
-Janneth Leon
com 101

Anoshe Abbasi said...

Its okay that women have become stronger and more financially stable without a man,but on the downfall it has made men a bit out of their normal role i think for example women pick up the tab now i think its totaly out of wack.

Jason S. said...

This is one change I am glad to see. This can put some stain on the couple in regards to duties, but then the couple just needs to find a solution.