Rise of the female breadwinner

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Rise of the female breadwinner

More women have become economic forces within the modern workplace

All of those college degrees women are earning these days and the evolution of family structure has contributed to a mom phenomenon: about two-thirds of families rely at least in part on a mother’s income, according to a 2014 U.S. Congress Joint Economic Committee report. What’s more is that women are the breadwinner or on par with their significant other’s pay in 49% of households, a recent study by Ketchum and BlogHer shows.

Women – moms in particular – have become a major economic force, changing the modern workforce. Today, 71% of mothers with children at home are working, the Bureau of Labor Statistics reports; in 1962, the level was half that.

So, what does this mean?

For starters, the increase of women in the workforce has fueled U.S. economic growth. The economy is 13.5% bigger than it would have been if women hadn’t increased the time they spent working for pay since the 1970s, translating to an additional $2 trillion in gross domestic product, according to government estimates. GDP, the value of all the goods and services produced in a country, could be 5% higher if female employment rates matched those of males in the U.S., according to a 2012 study by Booz & Co. Women make up about 47% of the workforce in the United States.

Working mothers also have a positive influence on their children, according to a study released in May by Harvard Business School. The survey showed that daughters of working moms earned 23% more than those of stay-at-home mothers, and sons were more likely to help with housework and spend time caring for children and family as adults.

Finally, many of these breadwinner women are leading their family’s financial futures. In a 2014 study, 27% of married women said they take charge of financial and retirement planning, up from 14% in 2006. The same study pointed out that 53% of the women who turn to a financial advisor for guidance consider themselves on track or ahead of schedule on their financial goals.

Chances are you or someone you know is among these working women who help strengthen the economy, inspire a generation of children and take charge of their family’s financial well-being. It’s a tough job, but the rewards are many.

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