Women are now bringing home the bacon and cooking it too.
New data from Pew Research revealed that in almost half of the opposite-sex marriages in the US, women are making at least or more money than their husbands. Most interestingly, Black women are leading the charge in this new marital dynamic.
According to an analysis of the report by Bloomberg, in straight marriages where both spouses make roughly the same amount, Black women are more likely to earn more than their husbands. This is a sharp turn, seeing that just 50 years ago four in five households relied primarily on the man’s income, according to the findings.
While this information signals a step in the right direction toward narrowing the racial/gender wealth gap, it may not be indicative of equal treatment at home.
“Nearly one-third of wives earn roughly the same amount as their husbands, while the woman is the primary or sole breadwinner in 16% of marriages,” the report said. “In egalitarian and breadwinner wife marriages, husbands spend considerably more time on leisure activities than wives. Husbands in egalitarian marriages spend about 3.5 hours more per week on leisure activities than wives do. Wives in these marriages spend roughly 2 hours more per week on caregiving than husbands do and about 2.5 hours more on housework. In marriages where wives are the primary earners, husbands’ leisure time increases significantly (compared with egalitarian marriages), while the time they spend on caregiving and housework stays about the same.”
As Bloomberg pointed out, egalitarian marriages usually see women spending nearly 12 hours per week on caregiving and housework, compared to about seven hours for their male partners.
“This is a double-edged sword,” said Misty Heggeness, an economist at the University of Kansas in an interview with Bloomberg. “Women are continuing to go out in the formal labor market and contribute in that way, and are still bearing all of the load and responsibility that disproportionately falls on them.”
The rise in wife-led households is largely attributed to them being allowed to enter the workforce and earn advanced degrees, factors that were largely domestically prohibited less than 100 years ago.
“The labor market changes have been such that because women are getting more educated than men, they are finally ‘making it’ in greater numbers,” said Marianne Bertrand, an economist at the University of Chicago Booth School of Business in an interview with Bloomberg.