According to the Women and Work Survey 2010, 30 per cent of the 2000 women polled stated they were either out earning their partners or equaling their pay. One in 10 reported having a house husband. The data also showed that women working full time earned on average 17 per cent less per hour than men working full time.
In Scotland, the report showed women earn an average 113 pounds a week less than men, which equals a monthly difference of 489 pounds. The Fawcett Society said discrimination by employers was one of three reasons why women are routinely earning less than their male counterparts.
The reason so many women are now the main wage earner is thought to be due to the economic recession. With the recession came a loss of many male dominated jobs in management, manufacturing, and construction.
The study also questioned mothers. Only 10 per cent of those questioned wanted to completely stop working when starting a new family. One half of full time mothers expressed regret at not earning their own money and 32 per cent missed working in general. This showed an emerging change in women’s perception of their role as mothers.
The research found that 69 per cent of mothers preferred to keep working at least a small amount, 60 per cent of mothers of children under three stated they preferred to work, and 40 per cent preferred to work part time. Full time working women reported that 51 per cent of them felt more confident due to working.
More than half of the women out earning their partners said they were happy with the situation but only 40 per cent thought their partners were happy with the arrangement. Only 10 per cent thought it threatened the overall relationships.
Jane Bruton, editor of Grazia Magazine, who was responsible for the study, said: “We’re in the middle of a huge social shift. Women are increasingly earning as much or more than their partners and many of those women get a great amount out of their working lives.
“For many of these high earners it makes more sense for their partners to take on a greater domestic role. Of course, there are going to be mixed feelings about this, but it is definitely something that is becoming more accepted.”