Today, almost half of women employed today in the United States work as their family’s main breadwinner, according to the NBC News- Wall Street Journal poll conducted in 2018. That is a increase of 12 percent in almost two decades. Of that population, 42 percent of them are working mothers juggling their careers, homes and motherhood at the same time. Traditionally, the dynamics in an American household have centered around a man being the main provider for his family and home, while women have struggled to gain equal footing in the workplace alongside their male counterparts. That is no longer the case and women are rapidly emerging as breadwinners in today’s society. Here is what you need to know about the ongoing shift.
Perception Is Changing
One of the key drivers of this change: perception. There is a growing positive association with women working and taking care of their families at the same time. Over 78 percent of Americans now see the idea of working mothers as a positive thing. As the number of working mothers in the workplace grows, so does the accommodation for them. More women are heading to school and graduating with their degrees, willing and motivated to take on the workforce. Studies have even shown that women thrive in the primary breadwinner position. In 2016, Christin Munsch of the University of Connecticut released a study supporting this and linking the emotional and physical stress men may experience to their position as main provider.
Women Are More Proactive With Their Finance
More women are taking matters into their own hands and starting their own businesses. In the Annual State of Women-Owned Businesses Report for 2017, there was 114 percent more women owned businesses than 2 decades ago. With almost 12 million women owned businesses across America, it is clear that women are much more empowered to follow their dreams and build a business that works around their family commitments.
More women are taking control and tracking their financial activities as well. They tend to have higher credit scores and carry less debt than men, based on an analysis of the Survey of Consumer Finances in 2018. In addition, they are taking the lead in their family’s financial planning or are involved to some extent. Only 4 percent of women are not involved in their family’s financial decisions and they are doing this all while being the primary, or in some cases sole, breadwinner of the family.
Support For Working Mothers Is Being Heightened
With the growth in working mothers and females overall in the workplace, more companies (and governments) are jumping aboard to offer support in the workplace. An increasing number of companies not only offer but promote flexible working for women (and men alike), so as to accommodate their family lives and motherhood. In addition, an unprecedented 1 in every 3 American employers now offer paid maternity beyond the required amount and every one of the top 20 largest companies in the country is included.
Regardless of the motivating factors behind the specific choices, we are definitely seeing a change in the role women play in the home, in the workplace and in society. Can women have it all? It is certainly beginning to seem so.