Wives turn breadwinners following lay-offs

Lead Carsey Institute researchers Marybeth Mattingly and Kristin Smith explain: “With many of the recent layoffs coming from male-dominated fields, families are relying on wives as breadwinners to a larger extent than during a recent period of relative prosperity.”
The research suggests that the recent recession accelerated employment trends that have been emerging for several decades, and in turn highlights changing gender roles in the family, equity in the workplace, and work and family balance, according to a statement of Lead Carsey.

The study compares the likelihood that wives will look for or start work when their husbands stopped working during the relatively prosperous period of May 2004 to 2005 to the financial downturn period of May 2007-2008, reports the journal Family Relations.
Wives of husbands who stopped working during the recession had nearly three times the odds of entering the labour force as compared to those whose husbands remained in the labour force.

The study also finds that in times of prosperity and recession, married women who work part-time increase their hours when their husbands stopped working.
Jobs in the health and education industries (two female dominated occupations) remained level or increased throughout the recent recession, creating a potentially more reliable source of income for families.

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