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Working Women

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Submitted By magdalinrodrigue
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Working Women: On top, and the bottom

Traditional gender roles have long dictated that men were to be counted on as the main provider (instrumental role) in their families, while women’s roles were to support their families, raise the children, and fulfill domestic duties within the home (expressive role). However, this is no longer the case; in fact the percentage of American women that hold a paid job outside the home have doubled since the 1950’s. There is approximately 72 million women who hold jobs or are looking for jobs, accounting for 58.6 percent of the American workforce, according to the U.S. Department of Labor (2010). In the evolution of gender roles, women account for more than half of the labor force, earn a majority of their families' income, and still contribute more around the home than their husbands.
For families with children, a new economic reality is further influencing an already-growing trend, which is women asserting the role as primary breadwinners while husbands adopt the role of primary caregivers. "Some 140,000 married men acted as their family's primary caregivers last year [2008], up from 98,000 in 2003." (Gomstyn, 2012). As previously stated, women account for more than half of the American workforce, and “the last time that the economic climate moved such large numbers of women into primary breadwinner roles was the Great Depression” (Coontz, 2010). Nevertheless, even with such dramatic changes in the labor force, women on average make about 78 cents for each dollar earned by men-- according to the most recent U.S. Census data; making it increasingly difficult for women to successfully subsidize the income of their once breadwinning husbands.
In a “Ask a Working Woman Survey Report”, women were asked what proportion of their family’s income they personally earned- all or almost all, more than half, about half, less than half,…...

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