Marriage is Becoming a Better Deal for Men

January 20, 2010
While gender-based pay discrimination is still rampant in most industries in America and the Paycheck Fairness Act (S. 182) languishes in Congress, a recent study by the Pew Research Center has shown that in one of five marriages "women have emerged as the dominant income provider."

Forty years ago, women outperformed their husbands salary-wise in fewer than 1 in 20 marriages. In what the Washington Post yesterday called "the rise of wives," marriage is becoming more of an equal financial partnership than ever before, with either spouse having the opportunity to follow their career goals and still have a family. "The old bargain," said sociologist Andrew Cherlin, "was that the husband earned the money and the wife took care of the home. The new bargain is that both work and they pool their incomes."

This news is both welcome and heartening, yet I can't help but wonder how much more equal their incomes - and thus authority and responsibility in a relationship - might be if women had more and better legal options when they are victims of pay discrimination. The Lily Ledbetter Act which became law early last year closed some loopholes, but it's not enough. We need to bring the penalties for gender-based pay discrimination into line with race- or religion-based forms; we need the Paycheck Fairness Act (S. 182). Click here to send an e-mail telling your Senators to co-sponsor S. 182!

For more information, contact Legislative Assistant Samuel Lehman.

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