Gone are the days of the gender roles associated with breadwinners and homemakers. We must accept that it is not taboo if a woman wants to be the breadwinner of the family. We must accept that women are equally, if not more, capable than men in certain jobs and tasks. We must accept that a man isn’t submissive if he prefers to let his wife provide for the family. We must accept that women are human and can only do so much until her workload will crush her. We must accept that there is a need for change. We must accept that our world is evolving and marriages are not as simple as they were. In 2019, we say goodbye to simplicity and welcome paradoxy.
There is a major distinction between bread sharers and breadwinners. Bread sharers could be defined as husbands who approach their marriages as egalitarians, valuing their spouses work as equally as important as their own. While breadwinners prioritize their career over both his wife’s career and family time. Now, we allow women to make the right choice.
Women have come a long way regarding social and economic status. In the past, women were urged into marriage in order to ensure economic security. Her best chance at survival was to marry, providing for herself was never in the picture. Now, women are prevented from excelling in her work despite her skill levels due to misogyny, both overt and covert.
We still continue to harbor an ambivalence toward successful women. Sure, women gaining success on is alright, but it is not alright when a woman is more successful than a man. Conceivably, this might just explain why women hold lesser than 2% of CEO positions at Fortune 500 companies and only 18% of the seats in Congress. Regardless of the rate of women graduating from college and graduate programs being higher than the rates for men for more than the past 10 years.
Heterosexual couples who both provide for themselves are happier, right until the female partner starts to earn more. This hurts the man’s ego because it is not easy to accept that a woman can do a better job than a man. This results in a dip in marital satisfaction and the chances of a divorce increase.
Many husbands think doing household chores represent a substantial sacrifice. In a piece of the research Breen & Cooke did, the time the spouse contributes in household tasks is one-third of the time that the wife puts in. This ratio remains roughly the same, despite the increase in women having full-time jobs and financial independence. Women still take most responsibility and spend the most time on household tasks. Surely, there can be numerous reasons for this but the main source is parental modeling. Women naturally end up following what happened in their parent’s house, also because it is a norm of society.
This, however, does not represent what husbands believe in. In fact, many men with modern mindsets even believe in equal distribution of labor. These men believe that share the burdens of household responsibilities equally to their wives. On the contrary, male partners are willing to help around the house but still expect the women to manage what goes on and what to do. They still expect women to tell them when they need help and do not naturally help around the house if needed. This, however, does not help the wives at all. They would still have to watch, keep track and assign tasks, which only adds on to the mental load that women normally shoulder. In place of having to deal with the difficulty of the process, women handle both job and household responsibilities. While men don’t naturally consider helping to lessen the workload.
Although, what also needs to be addressed is that men believe that they are needed by custom or tradition to earn money and support their family alone. Gender norms affect the mental health of men too, these norms of masculinity include dominance, self-reliance, femininity, and emotional control. It is how boys are brought up and it was they were taught.
We must break this barrier that suffocates the marriage and reduces the chances of happiness between a husband and wife. Women who are breadwinners in two-parent families seem to counteract for their ‘unusual’ economic role in the family by doing more housework than their husbands, even more in the wives that earn lesser than their husbands. Around 65% of this group of women are single mothers, that have to take care of their kids while still managing to work enough to provide for themselves and their children. Just 37% of this group are married and have a higher income than their partners.
In 2011, the median of the total income in households with higher earning mothers was $80,000, which is way higher than the national median of $57,100 of households with kids and only $23,000 in households with single mothers. Therefore, the median presents that single mothers earn around 25% of what married breadwinner mothers earn.
To conclude, a marriage with equality benefits everyone. Women will have financial independence after years of struggle. Men will not have to stress about the only breadwinner in the house. And most importantly, two income earners only provides more money for the household.
While there are still many people that have a backward mindset and will be resistant to change, one believer can still make a big difference. YOU must be hopeful and give us women the benefit of the doubt.