Simmons School of Management Study Reveals Female Breadwinners Don’t Publicize Role

Over the past year, the Center for Gender in Organizations (CGO) at Simmons School of Management has been conducting a study of the role of the female breadwinner and how this influences caregiving duties.  Responses to an online survey filled out by 460 businesswomen who attended the 2012 Simmons Leadership Conference and represented a mostly white middle-class demographic served as the basis for the research.

Survey results released by Simmons in early April concluded that the majority of women who have assumed the role of breadwinner in their family have continued to contribute significantly to taking care of children and the home.

Of survey respondents, nearly 60% stated that they were the primary financial contributors (PFC) in their household.  On average, women PFCs brought in close to 90% of the household income, while non-PFC females contributed 44% to their household’s total income.

Despite increased responsibility at work, many PFCs still perform more household duties than their significant others. Eighty percent of female PFCs contribute as much or more of their time to household chores than their partners. In line with this finding, three-quarters of female PFCs contribute as much or more of their time to childcare than their partners.

Although female breadwinners have taken on a great deal of responsibility inside and outside of the home, the study finds that while “these women are ‘proud’ of this role, most keep it hidden from family, friends, and employers.” According to the study’s authors, women are making moves to advance in the workplace, and do not turn down promotions or seek to decrease their workload in the face of their dual identity as breadwinner and caregiver.

Words of advice for women who are shouldering the bread winning and the bed making?  Authors of the study – who represent Simmons, the CGO, Suffolk University’s Sawyer Business School, and professionals in the pharmaceutical industry – encourage female PFCs to discuss their professional and personal responsibilities with their partners and employers.  To companies looking to grow their work force to include working mothers, the authors suggest that HR departments be more accommodating.

Read the Simmons School of Management press release to learn more about this study.



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