Is Having to Working Harder a Good Thing for Women?

The CBC has a new article that talks about Working women bearing more of the breadwinning burden, which oddly seems to say this is a good thing for women in two parent families.

breadwinnersMen and women are each making comparable contributions to the family finances in nearly one-third of all couples, Statistics Canada said Wednesday. In 32 per cent of cases, both incomes were “fairly equal,” or each earning 40 to 60 per cent of the couple’s total income — a marked improvement over 1985, when only 20.6 per cent of couples were each making comparable salaries.

How is 60/40 “fairly equal”? Also, how the fact that more women are having to work hard enough to earn between 66% to 150% of what their partners are making an improvement?

“Many factors have contributed to this advance, led by the increased labour force participation of women,” said Nora Spinks of the Ottawa-based Vanier Institute of the Family.

Again, how is this an advance? Wouldn’t it be better for women if they didn’t have to participate in the labour force?

Men, however, continue to earn an appreciably higher income in fully half of all opposite-sex couples, while women earned the larger share in just 17.3 per cent of cases — a glaring difference, although significantly better than in 1985, when nearly three-quarters of the men made more, compared with just eight per cent of the women.

Is it better for women to have to work harder? Have you asked women about this?

Women are paid less and often choose to leave temporarily in order to have and raise children.

Correct. An if a man chose to leave the workforce to have and raise children, he too would fall behind those in his profession who did not, and would be paid less when he returned. Like most choices, the choice to raise one’s children has both negative and positive consequences.

“The women who are now in their 60s were part of the cohort that lost time in pension-building when their kids were little, because they often had a year or two without benefits and the like,” said Spinks, noting women simply have to work longer to support themselves.

This is one of the benefits of a traditional marriage: married men and women can share their pension income.

What’s more, she added, women aren’t guaranteed more security or spending power just because they’re generating more income.

Nor are men. Security and future spending power are achieved by saving and spending wisely in the present.

“Those women who are in the paid labour force and maybe earning, finally, $100,000 — are they supporting their mothers in another household? Are they sending money back to the Philippines? Are they providing funds for their grandchildren’s childcare? Have they just given their kids a massive down payment for their own Toronto home?”

How is any of this specific to women?

Any growth in men swapping roles with women likely has more to do with the last major economic downturn and a loss of manufacturing jobs than with any great strides forward in pay equity or gender parity. “It’s not that she’s gone up significantly. It’s that he’s gone down.”

Given the fact that more women are now graduating from universities than men, I find it hard to believe this isn’t a gross generalization. Note that this is Spinks’s opinion, and doesn’t appear to be backed up by the census data.

The fact that a woman who wants to work is protected from being discriminated against based on gender is fine by me. The fact that woman have to work in order for couples to make ends meet is not. The number of couples where either partner is able to stay home to raise the children continues to decrease, to the detriment of all of us.

About jimbelton

I'm a software developer, and a writer of both fiction and non-fiction, and I blog about movies, books, and philosophy. My interest in religious philosophy and the search for the truth inspires much of my writing.
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2 Responses to Is Having to Working Harder a Good Thing for Women?

  1. Jill says:

    Does your wife work?

    • jimbelton says:

      Jill: She does now, tho only part time. Luckily for us, she was able to stay home full time to raise our children. I say luckily, because it was what she wanted to do, and not everyone (even then) could afford to. It is a very good thing for children to have a parent (man or woman) care for them full time while they’re young. If you have children, you should seriously consider living with less money to have one of you spend more time with them. Unfortunately, that is possible for fewer and fewer of us. I don’t think that is something to celebrate.

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