Women Bringing Home the Bacon

Detail from the promotional poster for the 1983 movie "Mr. Mom," starring Michael Keaton and Teri Garr.

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There’s a power shift underway in earning power in the American family, in the American marriage. More and more wives are out-earning their husbands.

Women already get more college degrees. Now, a new study says, in marriages where the couple is under forty, nearly a quarter of women make more than their spouse. More than the guy. A generation ago, that portion was closer to zero.

That’s a big change. We wonder how it changes the family chemistry. The gender roles. Our culture.

This hour, On Point: What does it mean when the wife makes the bigger bucks?


Joining us from New York is Kathleen Gerson, professor of sociology at New York University. She focuses on gender, work, and family life. Her latest book is “The Unfinished Revolution: How a New Generation is Reshaping Family, Work, and Gender in America.”

And from Berkeley, Calif., we’re joined by Joshua Coleman, a clinical psychologist and expert on families, parenting, and relationships. He’s co-chair of the Council on Contemporary Families. His latest book is “When Parents Hurt: Compassionate Strategies When You and Your Grown Child Don’t Get Along.”

More links:

Read the Pew Research Center study “New Economics of Marriage: The Rise of Wives,” published this week.

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