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Totally New Information: Women Can Be Breadwinners & Men Can Be Stay-At-Home Dads

Totally New Information: Women Can Be Breadwinners & Men Can Be Stay-At-Home Dads

The days of a woman in an apron cooking and cleaning while watching after the children at home all day while her husband heads out the door to the office are long gone.

A study from the Pew Research Center found that 40 percent of mothers are now the family breadwinners and that’s not all. In addition to increasingly working outside the home, the study found that 15 percent of married mothers actually out-earn their husbands (which is particularly notable considering the gender wage gap).

Why are women excelling in the workplace?

There are many factors, but of course education plays a huge role and the study also found that 61% of husbands and wives in dual-earner households have similar education levels. Mothers are better educated than their spouses in 23% of cases.

Unfortunately, while the study had some great gender stereotype shattering moments, there were also some pitfalls.

  • 30% of those surveyed think it’s better if men earn more
  • Half of those surveyed thought that a mother working outside the home is bad for marriages
  • Half of those surveyed felt it was better if mothers stayed home with young children

It is these traditional notions that will continue to make it hard for women to “lean in” as Sheryl Sandberg notes in her much discussed book, even if they are the breadwinner of their household.

The study isn’t the only place that gender stereotypes have been reinforced. In fact, in much of the coverage of the study these sexist ideas have rung true.

Not so surprisingly Fox News contributor Erick Erickson had the following to day about the study:

When you look at biology, when you look at the natural world, the roles of a male and a female in society and in other animals, the male typically is the dominant role.

This naturally leaves women to take on a submissive role which would make it impossible for them to actually be providing for their families in such high numbers,  right? (Wrong! In case you didn’t get my sarcasm.)

As essay in this weekend’s New York Times weighed in on the study as well, noting that social norms which call for men to bring home the bacon are old fashioned and troubling. Yes, agreed! So, what can we do about it?  Well, companies should make it easier for women to work part-time or from home of course. Wait…

I am all for flexible work schedules to make it easier for families to raise their children while making a living, but why is it that women need to squash their career ambitions to make their husbands happier (and feel less insecure) at home?  That’s not a solution for dissolving these sexist gender norms. It only enforces them even more.

Women shouldn’t be made to feel guilty for choosing to have a career, especially if it is necessary for their family’s sustainability. On the flip side, women who have the option to stay at home shouldn’t be made to feel that this choice is not valid. Just because it doesn’t bring in a paycheck, it doesn’t mean it isn’t work. Same goes for stay-at-home dads.

We as a society need to recognize that raising children and managing a home is valuable work – just as valuable as being the family breadwinner – and that it can be done well by a woman or man. Until we recognize that we will never truly be equal.

What do you think?


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11:11AM PDT on Jul 11, 2013

Halee M.
“A gentle reminder to all:

A "working-mother' is actually an oxymoron.

You can't do both simultaneously.

During most waking hours, you 'work' while someone else 'mothers' your child.”

well you see Hallee, another “ gentle reminder”; a mother is still a mother even when her children are in school or being babysat.


who died and left you dictator and chief?

3:00PM PDT on Jun 16, 2013



7:57PM PDT on Jun 14, 2013


9:40AM PDT on Jun 12, 2013


6:20AM PDT on Jun 11, 2013

Thank you Ximena, for Sharing this!

6:16PM PDT on Jun 10, 2013


2:19PM PDT on Jun 10, 2013

look to history, women did it ALL in matriarchal tribes. its only "modern" to try to keep women down. but I guess history is defined by men.

8:10AM PDT on Jun 7, 2013

Why I totally agree with Mr. Erick Erickson. As long as we are still required to hunt for our meat, fight off neighboring tribes, do heavy labor to survive, it is imperative that men be the breadwinners.
But strangely enough, this doesn't exist any longer. Making money to support yourself and your family isn't dependent upon musculature or hormones. All commentators like Erickson succeed in reasoning is that he's either not very intelligent or he's not very honest.

And I whole heartedly agree with many posters here. Being a Mom or Dad is the most important job in the world. And being a homemaker is a job. When of the moronic things of today economic barbaric capitalism is the concept that only people who make money are worth anything. The more you make the more important you are. In reality, the most important people in the world make either nothing or very little. One of my problems with capitalism.

7:49AM PDT on Jun 7, 2013

As a stay-at-home mom, I've been saying the same thing for YEARS! Yes, it IS in fact a real job, and yes, we DO deserve some recognition for it! It is nonstop, with sleep being the only "time off" we get. No sick leave, no weekends off, no vacation time-hell, we don't even get bathroom breaks because that's when somebody bangs on the door needing your attention NOW (usually for something that can wait until you get out). And forget husbands taking over-if mine was left in charge of the house (which has happened when I'm sick), the place would look like a bomb hit it, and NOTHING would be done. Nope, I definitely can't die first-the results would be disastrous!

Lynn S, that same rule regarding housework should apply to households where there is a stay-at-home parent too! Just because one of the parents is raising the kids doesn't mean s/he should get saddled with all the housework! I speak from experience on that one-if I had a dollar for every time I was stuck cleaning up the place (after spending all day doing just that, only to have them trash it up again) while my husband and kids are doing something FUN, I'd be a rich woman! Even as I type, I'm trying to get my six-year-old to pick up her toys and stuff that's all over the living room, and it is an uphill battle! And no, I'm NOT helping her-she is old enough to pick up her own things, and I am TIRED of picking up after everybody. I didn't make the mess, so why should I pick it up?

Can you tell summer vacat

9:45PM PDT on Jun 6, 2013

I was a stay at home Mom for 15 years. I have 3 children. I did volunteer at the elementary school for ten of those years. I went back to work when my youngest was in grade four. One reason was that we were sinking financially, and the other was that I was in fear of losing my mind. And by that I mean I am an intelligent person and was getting no outlet. All three of my children are very successful and balanced. I think I made the right choice for our family.

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