Parental roles are changing. The stay at home mother/wife with the hardworking man bringing home the bacon may still exist in some part, but it seems these gender roles are switching. It’s becoming more common for men to stay at home to look after children while their wife/partner heads to work. The earning power of women is on the rise, with many advancing further in their career. As a result they’re not only opting to return to work after becoming a mother, but are also maintaining senior roles.
Recent research by financial services company LV= revealed that women are earning, on average, £14,000 per annum more than men. In fact, the number of female breadwinners has risen from 26% to 41%, proving the growth in the number of women in more senior, powerful positions. Women may have once been happy to accommodate the traditional roles, but for the majority that certainly is being challenged.
Women may have been considered the primary caregivers for some time now, but they are being valued as the primary breadwinners too. Many women are the highest earners, detailing a shift in family dynamics and the development of tradition. This opens up some interesting questions as to the traditional roles parents have been playing for years and what the change actually means to both family and work life.
The change in social attitudes is slowly welcoming the idea that men are more involved in their children’s lives and women are relying on their husbands/partners to manage the parent and child relationship. Whilst traditions ‘tell’ us that men should maintain the breadwinner role, the number of women defying this tradition has escalated.
Not only is this change great for the development of women in work and their roles as senior, key professionals, but it is also great for fathers. This change suggests that a number of men want to be directly involved with the upbringing of their children and are happy to stay at home to do this.
Although this does not apply to every family set-up, one of the reasons for this shift is down to understanding what makes economic sense. Not only could it be argued that this rise is due to the acknowledgment of women (in key roles) in the workplace, but maybe the recession was the catapult that made this all the more apparent – working harder to provide for your family.
Whilst it could be suggested that there was a number of things that enabled women to rise financially and professionally, it is perhaps more important to acknowledge that the breadwinner role is not a switch, but an equaliser, a chance for both men and women to be the breadwinner or the caregiver. This, after all, is what it means to having a fulfilling family life and work-life balance.