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Your Take: Married Women Outearning Husbands

Posted By Jim On 10/23/2009 @ 7:21 am In Your Take | 59 Comments

An MSNBC article this week discussed how women are increasingly earning more than their husbands [3]. Twenty years ago, 17.8% of women outearned their husbands. In 2007, 25.9% outearned their husbands if they both worked and 33.5% of married women outearned their husbands period. It’s estimated that the percentage bas probably jumped because of all the jobs lost in the recession, it’s estimated that nearly 75% were held by men.

The Shriver Report conducted a survey and found that 65.3% of women and 61.2% of men were comfortable with women earning more than men. I want to know, what do you think?

I’m totally comfortable with married women earning more than their husbands. The key question is whether I’d be comfortable with my wife outearning me. I’d like to say I’m pragmatic and I’d be OK with it, but I have no idea and wouldn’t know until the situation presented itself. My guess is that I would be OK with it because I view our relationship as a partnership, an “us against the world” rather than a race only one of us can win. I’m never going to secretly hope she fails, that’s just stupid.

However, I also have a lot of pride. I fully recognize it’s sexist to think that the breadwinner of the family is the man, but part of how I was raised was that I am responsible for my family. If I was out of work and Martha were the sole breadwinner, it would bother me not because she’s outearning me, but because I’m not earning. When I think about it that way, it really has nothing to do with her earning more… so I imagine I’d be fine with it.

One thing I do know, it’s about time we eliminated the income tax marriage penalty. The income tax marriage penalty is the name given to the fact that the income tax brackets [4] for Married Filing Jointly aren’t twice that of the income tax brackets for Single filers. If men and women are equal, why don’t the tax brackets reflect that? The MFJ bracket stops being double the Single filer bracket starting in the 25% bracket. I think it’s about time we adjust that to reflect both reality and equality.

What are you thoughts on married women outearning men?

(Photo: alexik [5])


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[3] women are increasingly earning more than their husbands: http://www.msnbc.msn.com/id/33196583/ns/business-consumer_news/

[4] income tax brackets: http://www.bargaineering.com/articles/federal-income-irs-tax-brackets.html

[5] alexik: http://www.flickr.com/photos/alexik/2497904239/sizes/m/

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