52% Of Women Identify As Main Breadwinner

8 March 2017
Roy Morgan Research has revealed that more women than men are their household’s main income earner. 

New research shows that more than half (52%) of women now say they’re the main breadwinner, up from 39% in 2006.

This is an unprecedented accomplishment for women on a national scale, and the report also highlights the average income of full-time paid employees has risen for women along with men.

Taking into account different living arrangements, which have a massive influence on breadwinner status, the report shows that currently, 57% of women who live with a partner with no kids say they’re the main income earner (up from 37% in 2006).

Unsurprisingly, 95% of women in single-parent households are also the main breadwinner, up from 91% in 2006.

Industry Communications Director at Roy Morgan, Norman Morris, says their latest research is noteworthy for two main reasons.

“One is the sharp rise over the last 10 years in proportion to Australian women who identify as their household’s main income earner, and two is the curious fact that there has been no corresponding decline amongst Aussie men who feel this way,” he said.


The gender gap: 2006 vs 2016

So let’s have a look at the main income earner in the household by gender.

Gender inequality still exists in the workplace and at home

The average income of women in full-time employment has risen by 44% over the last decade (compared with a 25% increase for men). This clearly translated into more women taking on the breadwinner status.

Mr Morris says it’s also fascinating that their male partners are showing no signs of recognising this, with no decrease in men saying they are the breadwinner. In fact, men in 2016 are slightly more likely to consider themselves the main income earner than they were in 2006.

“Whether this stems from the fact they don’t know how much their partner earns, a sense of denial among those who no longer work full-time, or simply the result of out-dated gender preconceptions would require further research,” says Morris.

Of course, men also don’t recognise who does more household chores. In 2015, research by Canstar Blue showed that 66% of women said they do most of the vacuuming – but 65% of men said they do most of the vacuuming.

On International Women’s Day, statistics like these are crucial in drawing attention to inequality in the workplace, particularly where salaries are concerned.

The fact is that despite earning more than they did a decade ago, and more women being the breadwinner than ever before, women still do more unpaid work at home than men.

All things considered, the growing proportion of Aussie women identifying themselves as their household’s main breadwinner boasts a major achievement for women on a national scale.


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