Wives Privilege Husbands' Careers Over Their Own

100 Friends - GretchenIn the annals of “yes, we actually still need feminism,” Jezebel reports on a new study today that shows women tend to quit their jobs if their husbands work 60 or more hours per week.

Women with husbands who work long hours are 42% more likely to leave the workforce than others. If they have kids and husbands who work that much, they are 112% more likely to leave their own jobs. The effect is strongest in households where the man works in a professional or managerial position.

No, really? Women whose husbands have a high-powered, demanding career tend to put their own careers on the back burner? Say it ain’t so, Jezebel!

Also today, we learned that the sky is blue and water rolls downhill.

The hours women work don’t significantly affect the odds that a man will leave his job.

The reasons for this are probably obvious to anyone who has had to make decisions about who will care for the kids, and when, and how. Men tend to earn at least a little more money than women. Men in demanding professional jobs especially tend to be high earners, and to have little flexibility about their job. They can afford to support a spouse staying at home to manage the household and the kids.

Also, in spite of years of hard work to balance the scales of domestic labor, women are still expected to do a greater share of childcare and housework than their male partners. Picking up this ‘second shift’ is exhausting, and it’s no surprise that it leads some women to make it their only shift.

What can we do about this? As moms we can raise our own sons and daughters to expect to do an equal share of housework, childcare and paid work in their own families. We need employers to meet us halfway though, with more flexible employment options. What might those options look like? Dooce went to Washington this week to chat about some possibilities with the president at the White House Forum on Workplace Flexibility.

Our Great Recession has pushed a lot of women back into the workforce as their husband’s have lost jobs or they’ve seen a need to bolster the family’s financial security. It will be interesting to see if this pushes us towards a shift in workplace attitudes about parents, and a more balanced approach to work and family life.

Photo: nerdcoregirl

More by Sierra Black:

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