Is It Really Alright for Women To Earn More Than Their Partners?
I feel incredibly lucky to be a woman today.
I have been able to focus on my studies, earn my degree, and plan my career after graduating.
Things that might have taken a lot more effort if I was born 50 years earlier.
In today’s day and age, women are getting increasingly prominent in the workplace and even in senior leadership positions.
Such circumstances have resulted in situations where women are starting to earn more, and this inevitably disrupted traditional social gender norms where men are usually deemed as the breadwinner of the family.
This got me curious about how modern men view this situation.
Are they reaaaally alright with their partners earning more than them?
I posted this question to gather some opinions from our community.
(Psst… Wanna be able to read all the answers? Sign up for a FREE Seedly account in just a few simple clicks!)
I must say, the answers are pretty enlightening and heartwarming.
And it seems like it mostly boils down to the couple’s expectations, and also how they handle societal pressure.
Now, let’s dive right into this topic!
Are Women Really Earning More Than Men These Days?
While there are no existing statistics we can find for couples in Singapore, there has been a shift in traditional earning dynamics between heterosexual couples around the world.
In Australia, women are now the main breadwinners for about 1 in 4 households.
In the UK, women earn the same or more than their male partners in about 3 in 10 households.
Statistics in the USA are about the same as well, with nearly 30% of American wives earning more than their partners in heterosexual marriages.
How Do the Men and Women in Singapore Feel About This?
According to a survey by LunchActually, of the 690 singles surveyed in Singapore:
- 87% of men surveyed said they would date a woman who earns more than they do, whereas
- 39% of women would date a man who earns less than they do
As a Singaporean female, I must say that I am slightly surprised by the results.
This shows that gendered expectations still exist, and this could be due to factors such as having identities that are still tied to the conventional norm.
That being said, I also believe that this issue could be multi-faceted, and such a question might require an input more than just a flat ‘yes’ or ‘no’ too.
For instance, the reasons behind the difference in income levels would also affect how willing each individual is towards accepting such a financial situation as well.
Both Genders Have a Role To Play
While times have indeed been changing, certain mindsets are still sticking around.
Being brought up by a generation where fathers are mostly the breadwinners of the family, I must admit that I too have always been exposed to the stereotype of men being the main financial drivers of the family.
In fact, it is still common for men to make take the financial wheel at home as well.
As such, such shifts in breadwinning norms are not something that is familiar to many.
To men, it might be something that could make them feel emasculated, especially if they hold expectations for themselves to be the main financial provider for the family.
This could also be because of how masculinity is still tied to the ability to achieve this as well.
To women, there might still be expectations around being able to financially depend on their partners.
Or as Rachelle has eloquently mentioned in her answer, we would still occasionally hear casual jokes from ladies wanting to ‘marry into a rich family’ or ‘become a taitai (read: a wealthy married woman who does not work)’.
Expectations from society and existing traditions are definitely factors creating stress on couples who are facing such situations.
As such, for such a change to happen, BOTH genders must be okay with it.
Largely Dependent on Personal Mindset and Expectations
So… is it really alright for girlfriends or wives to outearn their partners?
Well, this is largely based on personal mindsets and expectations.
We can all agree that talking about money is stressful, and can be tricky if it is within the context of a relationship.
However, it is a conversation we must have with our partners, especially in relationships where we are looking to settle down.
It is, therefore, crucial to have an honest and open discussion and to align any personal expectations and goals as well.
I think we can agree that money beliefs can be pretty deep-rooted, and misalignment of such expectations could be really detrimental to a relationship.
Differences in expectations can potentially snowball into disrespect and resentment in the future as well.
Personally, I feel that a healthy relationship is one where both parties view themselves as a team, share common goals, and have mutual respect towards each other.
In a situation where the woman is earning more, both parties must be willing to accept this situation without disregarding the other crucial aspects of this partnership.
This includes things like social and emotional support, and the level of respect, communication, and trust as well.
A worthy partner should not be putting you down or make you feel inferior for earning less, or feel insecure or jealous if you earn more too.
Different Ways of Contributing to a Relationship
With the roles in a relationship being more fluid these days, this opens up the possibilities of having anyone take on any role that would make the relationship work better.
For couples with a huge income gap, the other party can look into contributing to other aspects of the relationship.
For instance, a couple could discuss the responsibilities for some major aspects of their lives, such as the allocation of household or caregiving responsibilities.
Contribution towards a family unit can come in different ways, besides financial means.
Topics that circle around differences between men and women are generally touchy.
And touching on the topic of money just adds another layer of complexity to it.
There will always be polarising views towards topics like this, and there is definitely no hard and fast rule when it comes to tackling this situation.
That being said, the shift in the breadwinner role is something that we cannot miss, and it is inevitably creating a change in relationship dynamics.
But regardless of the situation, what’s important is that you and your partner are on the same page for this.
So… does it matter who earns more in a relationship? 🤔
If you’re interested in this topic, join us for our first-ever Clubhouse chat on Wednesday, 5 May 2021 at 8pm!
We’ll be discussing “Does it matter who earns more in a relationship?“, so join us if you wish to hear some thoughts on this topic!
Or you can share your thoughts here as well!