In today's modern age, women are taking on more responsibilities than in past generations. Some of the roles many modern women adopt go beyond wife and mother, and venture into entrepreneur, scholar and even bread winner. A survey conducted by Prudential Financial shows that 53% of American women, including single, married or with a partner, are the major financial providers for their households. Roughly 22% of women married or living with a partner are breadwinners. This trend marks a major shift, as males were historically the primary source of income. Here is a look at the reason behind the shift and what it means for the future.
SEE: How Do Women Compete In A Man's World?
No Longer a Man's World
In deep contrast to decades in the past where the workforce was comprised of a mostly male population, the current job market is made up of around 50% women. A document released by the White House in April 2012 confirms that women comprise nearly 50% of the workforce. Thirty percent of those women own small businesses that generate sales figures over $1.2 trillion per year. Additionally, the U.S. Census Bureau reported that U.S. colleges and universities are now graduating 25% more women than men.
Equal Pay No Longer an Issue?
Equal pay also does not appear to be as big of a concern for the working woman, as pay rates have come a long way in recent years. As reported by Bloomberg Businessweek, women under the age of 30 on average make more than their male counterparts in major U.S. cities. So, does that mean equal pay is no longer an issue? Not so fast. According to the Prudential Financial study, women in general earn an average of 23% less than their male counterparts. Although younger women have the financial edge over their male counterparts, it seems the gender as a whole still has a way to go until it has achieved pay equality.
Troubling Recession Statistics
In the most recent U.S. recession, reports of layoffs and unemployment ran rampant. Men were hit especially hard in the area of layoffs. As reported by Bloomberg Businessweek, three times as many men were laid off than women. These brutal statistics left many men feverishly looking for work, while their female counterparts remained largely employed.
Dual Income Often Necessary in Today's Economy
In today's economy, it is necessary for many households to have two sources of income to keep their family and finances afloat. One-income families are becoming few and far between due to rising cost of living expenses. Rather than allowing their families to struggle, many women are embracing their career and ensuring that their family is well-provided for.
A Growing Trend
The U.S. has an evenly divided job market among men and women. As a result, it is much more crowded than in recent generations. With more women than men graduating from U.S. colleges, female professionals appear to have a distinct advantage over their male counterparts as a whole in today's job market. Only time will tell if equal pay will follow. However, salary rates have certainly improved in recent years for female professionals. Also, while the job market has seen a dramatic change in terms of gender breakdown, it is not likely to expand much further. Unless the United States' population increases dramatically or there is a complete role reversal between traditional male and female roles, it appears the job market has begun to balance between the genders.
SEE: 4 Careers Where Women Make More Than Men
The Bottom Line
Due to women's rights, economic turmoil and other factors, many women have entered the work force, embraced their careers and achieved success once only gained by male professionals. Since half the breadwinners in America are now women, it appears the job market has shifted from an all men's club to a balanced field of professionals.