woman bread winnerOne of the quirks of the Great Recession was its inordinate impact on men. Male-dominated industries, such as construction and manufacturing, were among the hardest hit in the downturn, resulting in more men being laid off than women.

For married couples of opposite genders that has resulted in an increasing number of wives becoming the primary breadwinner or returning to the labor market. Research, published recently in the journal, Family Relations, finds that during times of economic distress, wives are more likely to enter the labor force when their husbands stopped working.

"With many of the recent layoffs coming from male-dominated fields, families are relying on wives as breadwinners to a larger extent than during a recent period of relative prosperity," say lead researchers Marybeth Mattingly and Kristin Smith of the Carsey Institute at the University of New Hampshire.

The research suggests that the recent recession accelerated employment trends that have been emerging for several decades and, in turn, highlights changing gender roles in the family, equity in the workplace and work-and-family balance.

It's Fine With Me, Honey

The changing role of women as breadwinners is one Wendy Kaufman has watched emerge and dealt with firsthand as chief executive of Balancing Life's Issues, an Ossining, N.Y.-based provider of seminars that help workers juggle competing demands of work and family life.

A growing number of her clients are men, Kaufman says, noting that during one recent seminar, the men attendees outnumbered women, who traditionally have accounted for the bulk of her clients.

Of the couples with whom Kaufman has worked, most of the husbands don't mind -- in fact, like -- that their wives are now the breadwinners. "They have no problem with it," she says, adding that it's contrary to contemporary societal assumptions. "We thought it would be a stab to the [male] ego," she says.

'It Really Does Mean Redistributing Everything'

In her seminars, Kaufman and her clients spend a lot of time talking about the redistribution of labor at home, she says. Many husbands are unaware of all the effort that goes into making a household run, and wives often do a poor job of delegating the workload.

"They really do let it pile up, to where it becomes like a pressure cooker," she says. Whether the task is caring for a sick child, shopping for food, doing laundry, cooking or cleaning, "it really does mean redistributing everything."

Men whose wives have become breadwinners can do much to help relieve the stress that goes along with swapping roles by simply expressing gratitude for their wives stepping into the breech, Kaufman says.

In addition to making working wives breadwinners or causing more women to reenter the workforce, the Great Recession has also led more women to reconsider whether to leave the workforce once they marry, says Leslie Grossman, co-founder of the Women's Leadership Exchange, a Manhattan-based organization that promotes female entrepreneurship.

Many such women are choosing to continue to work on a freelance basis to maintain business connections -- just in case their husbands should lose their jobs.

Still, Grossman says, given the nation's high jobless rate, many wives looking to return to the world of work may find it more difficult to find employment. "It's extremely tough," she says. "It's easier to come back as freelancer than as a full-time employee in this recession."

And what of the husbands who've been laid off and can't find work? Grossman predicts that many will take a run at starting their own business. It's fine for a little while to kick back and let someone else bring home the bacon, Grossman says, "but there's going to come that point where they're going to be bored."

Then there's always the chance the wife, too, could lose her job. That can be devastating especially if the couple has children who still rely on the financial support of parents. In such a scenario, Grossman says, husbands will be faced with considering whether remaining unemployed doesn't jeopardize the safety of the family.

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Our culture has created the need for 2 jobs. So what does it matter who is the bread winner if you are in love, HAVE GOD, married, have each others back and have the same goals. Without these failure is imminent. Married 25 years and still in awe of my bride! By the way, I make much more than her and she is still the winner!

September 21 2010 at 7:27 AM Report abuse rate up rate down Reply

Sure... breadwinners who probably don't have to pay Sales Tax Hotel Tax School Tax Liquor Tax Luxury Tax Excise Taxes Property Tax Cigarette Tax Medicare Tax Inventory Tax Car Rental Tax Real Estate Tax Well Permit Tax Fuel Permit Tax Inheritance Tax Road Usage Tax CDL license Tax Dog License Tax State Income Tax Food License Tax Vehicle Sales Tax Gross Receipts Tax Social Security Tax Service Charge Tax Fishing License Tax Federal Income Tax Building Permit Tax IRS Interest Charges Hunting License Tax Marriage License Tax Corporate Income Tax Personal Property Tax Accounts Receivable Tax Recreational Vehicle Tax Workers Compensation Tax Watercraft Registration Tax Telephone Usage Charge Tax Telephone Federal Excise Tax Telephone State and Local Tax IRS Penalties (tax on top of tax) State Unemployment Tax (SUTA) Federal Unemployment Tax (FUTA) Telephone Minimum Usage Surcharge Tax Telephone Federal Universal Service FeeTax Gasoline Tax (currently 44.75 cents per gallon) Utility Taxes Vehicle License Registration Tax Telephone Recurring and Nonrecurring Charges Tax Not one of these taxes existed 100 years ago, & our nation was the most prosperous in the world. We had absolutely no national debt, had the largest middle class in the world, and Mom stayed home to raise the kids. We also were A Common Law Country! I have set up a place that the poor and middle class in the country can start to get some of this tax money back. It is our turn to have a piece of the action. Here is my way to get your loot back. Just google EASY STOCK CASH and click the first link. Once you get there, go right to the PENNY STOCK page to see what the rich don't want you to know.

September 21 2010 at 5:19 AM Report abuse +1 rate up rate down Reply

In all the years of my marriage I never once asked, or have seen my wife's paychecks. I always tried to make sure I had something left over after all the bills were paid. Many times my wife took me on a vacation "We" couldn't afford. The truth of the matter is no matter who is the "alleged bread winner" woman make 85% of all spending choices in the home. My beloved drives a gorgeous MB, I own a pick up truck and hummer. The moment snow falls on the ground I never see the hummer, and the MB doesn't see daylight till spring. Footnote...... My wife never insisted on an MB till she found my secret accounts while I contemplating semi retirement. I told her like an idiot. Now we live on my money only, and our children get to keep her income. Am I annoyed..."Hell Yes" Will I put my foot down and stop it....Why open a fight I know can have no winners ......Life is always what you make it.................................................................................. Miss Wendy REAL men NEVER ever do laundry... End of conversation. We don't vacuum behind the couch either unless pre warned their will be a final exam.

September 20 2010 at 6:15 PM Report abuse +1 rate up rate down Reply

Have fun girls. Let us know if you truely gained anything from the experience that the womens lib movement pushed you into.

September 20 2010 at 5:21 PM Report abuse rate up rate down Reply

Its great Iam drinking lattes and catching up on my Soaps

September 20 2010 at 4:01 PM Report abuse rate up rate down Reply

"U.S. Recession Ended in June 2009' ---- I guess employers did not get the memo to start hiring.

September 20 2010 at 3:07 PM Report abuse +2 rate up rate down Reply
Big John

The women in this country have got exactly what they wanted. Rejoice and enjoy it and by the way, pay the bills!

September 20 2010 at 3:04 PM Report abuse +3 rate up rate down Reply

I have always worked and don't plan to stop until retirement. I thank the Lord I have been blessed and able to have work during this entire mess. Hopefully we all will be working before too long and we can start to pay down this massive debt. By paying off private and goverment debt, both will be healthy once again allowing us to invest in our future.

September 20 2010 at 2:46 PM Report abuse +3 rate up rate down Reply
1 reply to tevroc143's comment
Robert & Lisa

I hope I can work until I die like my father. Wear out instead of rusting out is what he always said. The more we produce, the less poverty there will be.

September 21 2010 at 7:27 AM Report abuse rate up rate down Reply

Subject: Get your facts right! Some people don't want to know the truth! The day the Democrats took over was not January 22nd 2009 -- it was actually January 3rd 2007. The day the Democrats took over the House of Representatives & Senate, the start of the 110th Congress. The Democratic Party controlled a majority in both chambers for the first time since the end of the 103rd Congress in 1995. "For those of you who are listening to the liberals propagating the fallacy that everything is "Bush's Fault," think about this: January 3rd, 2007 was the day the Democrats took over the Senate and the Congress: At the time: The DOW Jones closed at 12,621.77 The GDP for the previous quarter was 3.5% The Unemployment rate was 4.6% George Bush's Economic policies SET A RECORD of 52 STRAIGHT MONTHS of JOB CREATION! http://www.ontheiss/ ues.org/celeb/ George_W_ _Bush_Jobs. htm Remember the day. January 3rd, 2007 was the day that Barney Frank took over the House Financial Services Committee and Chris Dodd took over the Senate Banking Committee. The economic meltdown that happened 15 months later was in what part of the economy? BANKING AND FINANCIAL SERVICES! THANK YOU DEMOCRATS for taking us from 13,000 DOW, 3.5 GDP and 4.6% Unemployment to this CRISIS by (among MANY other things) dumping 5-6 TRILLION Dollars of toxic loans on the economy from YOUR Fannie Mae and Freddie Mac FIASCOS! (BTW: Bush asked Congress 17 TIMES to stop Fannie & Freddie - starting in 2001 because it was financially risky for the US economy). And who took the THIRD highest pay-off from Fannie Mae AND Freddie Mac? OBAMA And who fought against reform of Fannie and Freddie? OBAMA & the Democratic Congress So when some idiot tries to blame Bush REMEMBER JANUARY 3rd, 2007 THE DAY THE DEMOCRATS TOOK OVER! Bush may have been in the car but the Democrats were in charge of the gas pedal and steering wheel they were driving. Set the record straight on Bush! http://brucehough/. blogspot. com/2009/ 04/setting- record-straight- on-george- w.html "It's not that liberals aren't smart, it's just that so much of what they know isn't so." -Ronald Reagan

September 20 2010 at 1:50 PM Report abuse +1 rate up rate down Reply
2 replies to Randy's comment

Evidentally you have not figured out the Republicans have refused to work with Democrats on anything. They require 60 votes to stop a filibuster and almost everything is put to the test. So regardless of which party outnumbers the other, if 60 votes cannot be found, then nothing happens. As far as when the economy started to fall apart, it seems once nothing was paid for at all which was the case the entire 8 years Bush was President, the surplus disappeared, the budget deficits grew and the National Debt was doubled. The housing bubble busted, people lost their jobs, homes to foreclosure, etc. The two wars loomed on costing trillions of dollars which were not paid for either. Finally the entire mess went bust. I wouldn't be bragging about the Republican way, or blaming everything on the Democrats. would go down

September 20 2010 at 2:41 PM Report abuse -2 rate up rate down Reply


September 20 2010 at 1:49 PM Report abuse +2 rate up rate down Reply