A new study released by the Families and Work Institute (2009) reveals that 26% of women in dual-income households are now earning more than their husbands. In the New York Times' Motherlode blog (2009), Lisa Belkin focuses on a change in motherhood's impact on career ambition: in 1992, the presence of children reduced a woman's desire for more work responsibility by 18%; in 2008, the gap was 3%.
Changes were apparent in the fatherhood role as well. Over the three decades studied, 59% of men in 2008 experienced "some or a lot" of work-life conflict, compared to just 35% in 1977. Women's work-life conflict over the same period was stable: 41% in 1977 and 45% in 2008. The increase in men's work-conflict is probably due to increased parental investment: 31% of women in 2008 said their husbands took at least equal responsibility for parenting: "Interestingly, 49% of men reported taking as much or more responsibility for the children as their wives, indicating a perception gap."
So, one of the reasons I started writing DB in the first place is because I felt like I had three views of gender: living as a woman, living as a man, and as an outsider to the whole damn game. In no part of my life is this more apparent to me than in discussions of parenting, which feel like they come up a lot: this post makes three this week that end up coming down to "women can has babies." This feels like a tangent, but I really want to express a little self-disgust here: manhood and womanhood are more than fertility. Or are they? Does my sterility make me as much of an outsider as my tripartite perspective?
Returning to the Family and Work Institute's results, I have to say that I am disappointed that I don't see a way to compare their findings with single-income households. In fact, I'm not seeing a good way on the U.S. Census site to separate single-earner families from single-person households. Anyone else want to take a stab at what percentage of couples are getting by on one income?
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