Although the gender wage gap is still definitely a thing (and a problem that needs solving, at that), it's not unheard of for a woman to earn more than her spouse these days. Not only that, but it turns out that women who out-earn their spouses actually have a lot in common — and many of them share one childhood trait in particular. A new study from the Family Wealth Advisors Council found that 44 percent of women who out-earn their spouses also aspired to have a successful career from the time that they were young girls. This is still obviously not a majority, so it may not seem significant at first; however, this 44 percent is much higher than the 25 percent average that comes from all working women who dreamed of having career success when they were young.
The council surveyed over 1,000 working women in their study of female breadwinners in an effort to explore how childhood aspirations and familial situations impacted working women. They found that women who did not out-earn their husbands were more likely to say their childhood aspiration was to be a parent than those who are now the primary breadwinners of their family. Heather R. Ettinger, co-author of the study, described to TIME what this could mean for future generations: “It’s interesting to speculate what this means for our daughters, since we have different expectations for them than many of our moms did for us, and they’ve grown up in a whole different reality," she said.
Indeed, this issue is only going to become more and more relevant as women continue to climb the corporate ladder and shatter the glass ceiling. A 2013 US Census report found that 40 percent of all U.S. households that had children under 18 included a woman who was either the primary or sole breadwinner of her family. The U.S. Census also found that there was a very strong connection between a mother being a breadwinner and the total wealth of the household: Generally speaking, households with female breadwinners have higher total incomes. “The median total family income of married mothers who earn more than their husbands was nearly $80,000 in 2011, well above the national median of $57,100 for all families with children,” the Pew report found.
The Family Wealth Advisors Council's study also found many other commonalities between female breadwinners. Here are three other thoughts that women who out-earn their spouses tend to share.
1. They Don't Feel Their Boss Supports Their Work/Life Balance
46 percent of female breadwinners said that they felt their employer wasn't supportive of them in finding a work/life balance. With the constant availability that is often expected of employees due to things like email, this isn't a total shock. But the study also found that 85 percent of women find that their company is doing an excellent job of giving them technology that allows them to be more flexible (like working from home), so it seems that there is some give and take.
2. They Feel Pressure To Downplay Their Status
40 percent of the female breadwinners felt pressure from their loved ones to downplay being the breadwinner of their family, with 28 percent actually dealing with parents who don't agree with them being the breadwinner. Sadly, this is adding a lot of pressure to their already full plates.
3. They're Making The Financial Decisions
Traditional gender roles are really changing, as is demonstrated by the fact that women take on 75 percent of financial planning for their families and as much as 90 percent of other expenses and planning (things like giving to charity or putting money into a college fund). So women are not only bringing home the bacon — they're also calling the shots about what to do with it, too.
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