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'Women still secondary bread winners'

Women continue to rank only as a secondary bread winner in their families, says a New York study.

india Updated: Jan 30, 2006 13:19 IST

The more things change, the more they remain the same. Though more and more women have jobs, they continue to rank only as a secondary bread winner in their families, says a new study.

The study, appearing in the latest issue of the Journal of Marriage and Family published by the US-based National Council on Family Relations, documents the changes in dual-income married couples for more than 30 years during 1970-2001.

The authors - Sara Raley, Marybeth Mattingly and Suzanne Bianchi - found that despite the increase in women's employment over the past three decades, the vast majority of wives are still secondary earners, reported portal EurekAlert.

Secondary earners make less than 40 per cent of the couple's income. The authors found that 39 per cent of wives, more than any other group, were classified as secondary providers as recently as 2001.

In that same year, 25 per cent of wives were not employed. Though the proportion of wives whose contributions to their family income equalled that of their husbands had nearly doubled since the 1970s, they represented only 24 per cent.

The number of wives who earn substantially more than their husbands has also increased, tripling to 12 per cent.

Yet both equal providers and wives who provide more income than their husbands still remain the minority. The authors used the Current Population Survey data for 1970, 1980, 1990, and 2001 to gauge these changes.