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Female breadwinners on the rise

Report reveals 40% of women are now the highest earners in their family

Female breadwinners make up 40% of households

Despite the rise of female breadwinners, 10% of these households still pretend that the man is the highest earner

The number of households where the woman is the main breadwinner has risen to its highest level ever, according to a new report which reveals that four in ten female workers are now the highest earner in their family.

The research, carried out by LV, shows that the number of female breadwinners has increased significantly over the past 30 years, rising from 26% of households to 41% – equivalent to 4.3 million women.

Almost 4,000 men and women aged between 25 and 59 were polled for the study, which found that the rise in the number of female breadwinners has increased alongside the amount they earn.

Making the dough

The average female breadwinner now earns £51,965, compared to her partner’s £37,965, marking a difference of 37%.

The rise has not been a sudden one, either, with more than half of women who are the top earner in their household saying that this has always been the case, with their husband or boyfriend earning less for the entire duration of the relationship.

Despite the findings suggesting that more men are becoming househusbands while their partners earn the money, only 29% of men who earn less than their wife or girlfriend are stay-at-home dads, with the remaining 71% in full-time employment but simply being outperformed in the salary stakes by their other half.

The tables have turned to such an extent over the last 30 years, that in 40% of households where the female is the main breadwinner, the man of the house would not be able to provide sufficient financial support if she were unable to work.

Mark Jones, head of protection at LV, commented: “This research certainly throws up some interesting findings and it’s fantastic to see antiquated stereotypes being challenged.”

Raised expectations

The report did throw up some bizarre findings, with 10% of households having an agreement in place whereby family, friends and acquaintances would all be told that the man was the highest earner in the family, even if this was not the case.

Furthermore, 7% of men say that their pride is dented by their partner earning more than them, and 9% of women would completely refuse to date a man who earned less than them.

The reason behind increased female achievement and drive seems to originate at school, with 54% of female breadwinners saying that their GCSE and A-level results were more impressive than their partner’s, while 47% attained a better university degree.

In total, 60% of women who are the top earners in their household feel that their achievements at school and university are the reason why they have been able to move up the career ladder faster than their husband or boyfriend.

It seems that the university of life is now becoming less important than good grades, and this looks set to continue for many years to come.