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The Reality of Working Women-The Breadwinner Breakdown

July 28, 2010

Below is a great article from Advertising Age about the reality of working women.

There are several pieces to this report so I’ll post them separately to keep from overwhelming you with too much information. 🙂

You can find the full report at

The Breadwinner Breakdown

“The ascendancy of women as consumers and shoppers is not breaking news. It is, rather, the oft-touted conventional wisdom: the ubiquitous PowerPoint slide and warnings that brands neglecting to understand the female demographic do so at their own peril. The mantra “The consumer is king” should long ago have been rewritten as “The consumer is queen.” Women influence the vast majority of purchases—as much as 73% of household spending, or $4.3 trillion of the $5.9 trillion in U.S. consumer spending, according to Boston Consulting Group.

Yet, as more and more women contribute a greater share of the household financial pie, women are increasingly defined not by their roles as consumers, but as breadwinners. Women aren’t just spending money; they are earning it. And in more and more households, the woman is the primary breadwinner. Granted, men remain the primary breadwinner in the majority of households surveyed—64%, compared to 31% in which women have that role. Women reported contributing an average of $39,420 to household income, compared to an average

contribution by men of $54,225.

There’s also the rise of the single-parent household. A record four in 10 births in 2008 were among unmarried women, compared to 28% in 1990, according to a recent report from the Pew Center examining the changing demographics of mothers. And among working mothers, two-thirds are breadwinners or co-breadwinners, according to “The Shriver Report: A Woman’s Nation Changes Everything,” released in 2009 by The Center for American Progress.

The report also outlined the historic shift the growth of women as breadwinners represents: The traditional family economic archetype is gone. Men are no longer the sole source of household income they largely were in 1975, when nearly half of families with children consisted of a male breadwinner and a housewife. Today, the stay-at-home mom is found in only one in five households. Then, there is the rise of the single-parent household—defining just one in 10 families in 1975 but one in five today, according to the report. The so-called “traditional” family structure is no longer the norm, and single mothers are more likely to work. In 2008, 76% of unmarried mothers were part of the labor force, compared to 69% of married mothers, according to the Department of Labor.”

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