Business, Economics and Jobs

More women working than men

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According to the U.S. Census Bureau, we're soon likely to see a major shift in the gender balance of the working world. As early as this November, it's projected that for the first time in US history, more women will be working than men.

Add to this the fact that 78 percent of the people laid off in the recent recession were men, and one sees a whole new picture of America's workforce.

Beth Kobliner, author of "Get a Financial Life: Personal Finance in Your Twenties and Thirties," says the forces changing the demographics of the working world influence both men and women.

"It's just sort of this dramatic revolution that's taking place but nobody's really talking about it that much," said Kobliner. "Also, we're seeing that more married women have unemployed husbands than ever before, a record 21 percent ... so the question is: are we going to start seeing the real 'Mister Moms' -- men doing the laundry and taking care of all those household jobs?"

Kobliner doesn't believe that this is necessarily a good development for women, as they remain the primary caretaker at home, and still do not earn as much as men in the workplace.

Sharon Meers, a former Goldman Sachs executive and co-author of "Getting to 50/50: How Working Couples Can Have It All by Sharing It All," agrees that the current shifts alone won't bring new opportunities for women.

"The numbers are saying 80 percent of job losses are male and it's largely because they were in more vulnerable, high-earning positions," said Meers. "So women are getting to keep their jobs as nurses and teachers which ... typically are part of the equation that has women earning less than men for the same hours of work.

"But what I think is good about this is a reminder that women really matter as breadwinners, that families rely on women's ability to earn a good wage, and we often forget that."

Meers asserts that husbands need to understand the value of having a wife with a good income, and that men need to contribute to taking care of the household.

According to Meers, a 2006 study published by the University of Chicago said,  "… the couples with the lowest divorce risk with the highest probability of staying married, are the couples who most evenly share both earnings, and housework."

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