Women Have Mixed Emotions About Achieving Income Equality with Men

If it ever sounds like I’m beating the same drum over and over, that’s because every year it seems there is new research that validates conclusions drawn by this blog over the years.

Today’s piece, by Tara Siegel Bernard of the New York Times, suggests that while gender roles have become more egalitarian, the attitudes and expectations behind them have a long way to go.

Basically, women often out earn their partners, but this equality has created misgivings in both gender about women paying the majority of the bills.

“Over the past half-century, gender roles in the United States have become much more egalitarian. Women now  outnumber  men in college and collect  more degrees. A rising share of women earn more than their husbands, and men are taking on more responsibility at home.

Ready for Lasting Love?
Ready for Lasting Love?

What may come as a surprise – especially to those under 30 – is that despite these shifts, certain expectations persist when it comes to where men fit into the household dynamic.

“We have held on to that idea that men are supposed to provide, but have loosened up on the idea that women have to be homemakers,” said  Alexandra Killewald, a Harvard sociology professor.”

We have held on to that idea that men are supposed to provide, but have loosened up on the idea that women have to be homemakers

There are a lot of contradictions in this, which is to be expected when desires conflict.

Men have been taught that to be a “man” is to provide for your family. And 7 out of 10 adults agree that it’s “very important” for a man to support his family, as compared with 3 out of 10 feeling this way about women.

Women have been taught (rightfully) that they are equal to men and can do anything a man can do. No longer does a woman need to depend on a man when she can be an independent career woman. This, we can agree, is a great thing. But, as the premise of the article suggests, just because women CAN outearn men doesn’t mean they WANT to outearn men.


As a dating coach for smart, strong, successful women, I’ve been hearing many variations on this them for nearly two decades. Like the article suggests, a little flexibility can go a long way.

If men are willing to help out with housework and child rearing, women will be less resentful of their husband’s lower financial status.

If women are willing to let go of the outdated idea that her husband must out earn her “to be a man”, it opens up a wide new pool of egalitarian dating possibilities.

The more men and women can adjust to this new reality and take on the other gender’s formerly prescribed role, the better chance your marriage will have of thriving.

Your thoughts, below, are greatly appreciated.