More Women Becoming Breadwinners Across the Globe


According to a study by the Pew Research Center, women earn more than men in 23 percent of United States households. That nearly one-quarter represents 5.1 million married "Breadwinner Moms". Moreover, women are now the leading or solo breadwinners in 40 percent of US households, compared to 1960, when that figure was only 11 percent.

In the United Kingdom the percentages appear to be relatively high as well. According to a new report from the Institute for Public Policy Research (IPPR), more than 2.2 million working mothers are now the primary 'breadwinners'* in their households---almost one-third of all working mothers with dependent children now provide the main source of income for their families.

Not surprisingly, the study also found that mothers with degrees were more likely to be breadwinners than lower skilled mothers. Over one-third of mothers with a degree ¬level qualification earned more than their partner, compared to just over a quarter of mothers without a degree. IPPR is a think-tank based in the United Kingdom that promotes forward-thinking government policy.

The IPPR warned that working mothers still face “significant barriers” to entering and remaining in work. These obstacles include "a lack of flexible work opportunities, unaffordable childcare and gendered parental leave entitlements"---similar to the issues faced in the US and elsewhere. 

According to statistics from Robert Half, around 83 percent of women, returning to work from maternity leave, now move into part-time and/or flexible working roles.  Almost three-quarters of the HR professionals responding reported that they had already implemented flexible working arrangements as a means to retaining new mothers, and 13 percent more intend to do so.

Spanish Demographer Albert Esteve tells us that the majority of women in France, Hungary, Israel, Portugal, Brazil, Belarus, Mongolia, and Colombia---to name a few---now marry men with less schooling than they have. With higher and higher percentages of women graduating from colleges and universities with undergraduate and graduate degrees worldwide, we expect these percentages to continue to rise across the globe. The challenge will be for employers, particularly in patriarchal counties like those in Latin America and the Middle East to embrace this New Normal.

* They either earn more than their partners, or represent the sole income for their households. 

Herman Trend Alerts are written by Joyce Gioia, a Strategic Business Futurist, Certified Management Consultant, author, and  
professional speaker.


Joyce Gioia is a Strategic Business Futurist concentrating on workforce and workplace trends. Joyce is President and CEO of The Herman Group, a firm serving a wide range corporate, trade association and governmental clients on an international basis.

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