Men with Stay-at-Home Wives More Likely to be Sexist in the Workplace

No shocker there, but it’s nice to see it so neatly laid out.

The paper’s findings are a social Molotov cocktail wrapped in academic brown paper. Most notably, the three researchers (who hold positions at Harvard, NYU, and the University of Utah) found after a series of four studies that “husbands embedded in traditional and neo-traditional marriages (relative to husbands embedded in modern ones) exhibit attitudes, beliefs, and behaviors that undermine the role of women in the workplace.”

(I myself wondered about those definitions. For the record, the researchers label “modern marriages” those where wives are employed full time and “traditional marriages” those in which wives are not employed.)

The authors arrived at these startling findings by examining the issue of “stalled progress toward gender equality” – or the fact that while women account for a growing number of advanced degrees and share of the labor force, they remain an endangered species at the ladder’s highest levels: Among other notable numbers, women are fewer than five percent of Fortune 500 CEOs, occupy barely 15 percent of board seats of the Fortune 500, and make up not even 20 percent of Congress.

The researchers asked whether this lack of progress might in part be caused by “a pocket of resistance to the revolution,” namely “husbands embedded in marriages that structurally mirror the 1950s ideal American family portrayed in the ‘Adventures of Ozzzie and Harriet’ sitcom.'” They write that a 2008 paper spurred them to wonder “‘whether a domestic traditionalist can also be an organizational egalitarian?’ The answer we posit is ‘no.'”

Wow.

In other words, the paper’s three authors say, when it comes to shaping views on women and work, there’s no place like home:

“We found that employed husbands in traditional marriages, compared to those in modern marriages, tend to (a) view the presence of women in the workplace unfavorably, (b) perceive that organizations with higher numbers of female employees are operating less smoothly, (c) find organizations with female leaders as relatively unattractive, and (d) deny, more frequently, qualified female employees opportunities for promotion.”

The studies showed that personal views and the domestic architecture of male leaders’ private lives helped shape women’s professional opportunities. This held true in both surveys and lab experiments, including one that tested whether candidates with identical backgrounds, but different names — Drew versus Diane — should receive a spot in a sought-after, company-sponsored MBA program. According to the research, men in traditional marriages gave Diane “significantly poor evaluations” compared to Drew. It seems that husbands with wives working at home imprinted that ideal onto women in the office.

Is every man with a stay-at-home wife sexist? Of course not. But it shouldn’t come as a surprise that traditional marriage structures often reflect traditional views on gender roles, and traditional views on gender roles mean that women are considered inferior. And men don’t leave those views behind when they leave home and come into the office.

48 comments for “Men with Stay-at-Home Wives More Likely to be Sexist in the Workplace

  1. Kristen J.
    June 13, 2012 at 10:05 am

    Color me not surprised. I’d also add that men with “traditional”marriages are IME more likely to be at the upper echelons of corporate power because having a stay at home wife allows them to focus more of their efforts at the office. Its much more difficult to get ahead if you have to take off at 7 to pick up your own dry cleaning.

  2. Lauren
    June 13, 2012 at 10:20 am

    I found it interesting that the researchers called it “benevolent sexism,” as in, men thought they were protecting their female coworkers from the harshness of business. Also, that the imprint of the stay-at-home wife was laid over the female coworkers, which makes sense considering the paternalistic tone to said “benevolent sexism.”

  3. June 13, 2012 at 10:54 am

    Who’s surprised? Seriously, who’s surprised?

    -_- I can’t wait for someone to pop onto this thread and say that it’s just SAHMs’ fault for not being feminist enough to CHANGE THEIR MEN. I can feel it about to happen….

  4. Past my expiration date
    June 13, 2012 at 10:57 am

    I am hoping that somebody who has access to the whole paper (as far as I can tell, I only have access to the abstract) will be able to tell me what the authors’ definition of a “neo-traditional marriage” is.

  5. Mxe354
    June 13, 2012 at 11:34 am

    I shouldn’t be surprised, but this is interesting nonetheless.

    I am hoping that somebody who has access to the whole paper (as far as I can tell, I only have access to the abstract) will be able to tell me what the authors’ definition of a “neo-traditional marriage” is.

    I think the definition is implicit. In a neo-traditional marriage, The wife stays at home and does most of the housework – and child-rearing if they have children – and the husband goes to work and so is the breadwinner.

  6. Brandy
    June 13, 2012 at 11:38 am

    What’s the difference between traditional and neo-traditional, Mxe354?

  7. pillowinhell
    June 13, 2012 at 11:50 am

    Actually, I believe it was one of the researchers that noted that the burden of changing that dynamic was going to have to be shouldered by women, who would have to take more full time work. To which I laughed. Working class women have been doing just that for a long, long time. I suppose the difference is that working class women structure their work lives around their husbands jobs and the kids schooling a bit more. There’s little point in working if most of your pay goes to a sitter when money is needed to pay bills and rent.

  8. Bagelsan
    June 13, 2012 at 11:52 am

    It’s just a datum, but I think my dad has become more aware of sexism in the workplace now that my previously-SAHM mother has gone back to work. At the very least he gets to hear about work life from the female perspective, rather than only having his own male perspective to work from. He has started using phrases like “boys club” and “hostile workplace” for the first time in my memory. :p

  9. Mxe354
    June 13, 2012 at 11:59 am

    @Brandy

    What’s the difference between traditional and neo-traditional, Mxe354?

    Well, I assume “neo-” here to imply that the overall structure of the marriage is the same (the one I described), but it’s in a new package.

  10. June 13, 2012 at 12:04 pm

    @Bagelsan – yeah, I’d like to see a breakdown of the men in traditional marriages, of those whose wives had ever worked (even if they were at home at the time of the study), and whether that had any moderating effect on the sexism.

    (My stay-at-home mom used to work, before she had kids and maybe also when we were little. She had quit by the time we were school-aged, I think. My autobiographical memory sucks. I read about this study and wondered 1) if my dad was an exception to the rule described above, 2) if my mom’s having worked made him less predisposed to think women don’t really belong in the workplace, or need to work, 3) if I am a reliable judge of whether my dad is sexist at work (probably not), and 4) how much these findings apply to men who are not managers. My intuition tells me they should, even if they can’t be expressed in decisions about whom to promote — sexist colleagues can be as obnoxious as sexist superiors, after all.)

  11. Sulyp
    June 13, 2012 at 12:06 pm

    The authors arrived at these startling findings…

    .:: Blink. Blink. ::.

    Who exactly was startled, and what part of this exactly was it that startled them? Was the lead author of the paper truly astonished, or are they just saying this as a literary exercise?

  12. mary
    June 13, 2012 at 12:20 pm

    Well, this matches my workplace experience to the letter. I would also add that I’ve had male bosses who saw female subordinates as “safe targets” for venting frustration with their wives.

    I.e., one male manager started having marital difficulties with his wife, and the next thing you know every business suggestion made by a female subordinate was “nagging” or “emasculating” no matter how calmly or neutrally it was phrased. I’ve never been so happy to get out of a workplace.

    Like the survey, I’m sure this observation isn’t exactly breaking news. But it really drives home how entwined personal and professional misogyny are.

  13. Past my expiration date
    June 13, 2012 at 12:23 pm

    What new package, Mxe354? As far as I can tell from the Atlantic piece, the authors would classify the situation you describe as “traditional”.

    But! Family Scholars dot Org has a post on the study, and here are their summaries of the authors’ definitions:

    A traditional marriage was defined as a heterosexual marriage in which the man took on the breadwinning role and the woman took on the caregiver role. A neo-traditional marriage was defined as a heterosexual marriage in which both spouses worked, but the man was the primary wage-earner and the woman remained the primary caregiver.

    These two types of marriage were contrasted with the egalitarian model that posits that gender is unrelated to which role a spouse centers, “such that men and women can aspire equally to both roles.”

    So now what I want to know is how the authors decided whether a given marriage where both the husband and the wife work for pay was a “neotraditional” marriage or a “modern” marriage.

  14. June 13, 2012 at 1:02 pm

    I agree with Germaine Greer, who says she doesn’t oppose the division of labour, she opposes the assumption that when women choose to stay at home they “should” give their time and labour free.

  15. Chiara
    June 13, 2012 at 1:11 pm

    So now what I want to know is how the authors decided whether a given marriage where both the husband and the wife work for pay was a “neotraditional” marriage or a “modern” marriage.

    Well I think it’s pretty obvious what they mean like

    The neo-traditionalist marriage is like the one where the mum does a job during the daytime and is home at like 5pm to get the dinner on the go and get some housework done and then the dad does a more high paying job and gets back at like half 6 for dinner.

    While modern marriage is like the kind that’s only really possible for the upper middle class… Where both parents work a high paying job and they pay a babysister to look after the kids and then they get back from work and supposedly share housework and childcaring work.

    I think this kind of casting of the first kind of marriage as neo-traditionalist is quite ‘classist’ as people say on this site, because in reality this neo-traditionalist model of marriage is the only marriage option open to working class peoples (forget ‘traditional’ marriage with stay at home mums — staying at home is a luxury enjoyed only by the upper middle class again). Even when the married people are not sexist and the woman has the potential to do a high paid job it’s just not an option when you have kids there, you know.

  16. ASH
    June 13, 2012 at 1:51 pm

    I was mildly surprised to see a study confirming what myself and my female co-workers have noticed for years.

    I honestly do not believe it is confined to men whose wives are just SAHM. What about men whose wives make significantly less, work part-time, are the ONLY ones who ever take off for sick children, etc etc etc. I suspect that they too harbor some of the same attitudes.

    I have to share some of my own experiences as a woman working with some of these men.

    *A vice president who was a total narcissist would have bi-weekly meetings that were mainly for him to listen to the sound of his own “wisdom” for hours. It was nauseating. He also had quarterly mini-meetings for the same purpose. At the beginning of one of those meetings, which had only women, we were talking about pregnancy as he came in. He quickly cut it off and said, “I don’t want to hear any stories of pregnancy or childbirth.” He, of course, talked about his personal life at length in any of these meetings. It was like, God forbid we would engage in a discussion where he couldn’t be center stage.

    *I worked with a man my age who was promoted to a manager. As soon as he did, he was walking around talking to the women like we were all children OR his wife. Any woman that dared to stand up to him, he would try to pressure or DEMAND *even women who had BIGGER titles than him* that they complied with him wishes. Unfortunately, he is still where he is, but I don’t have to deal with him.

    *In an all company meeting, the HEAD OF HR, made a joke about how much women like shopping to a crowd of about 75% professional women. NO ONE LAUGHED. CRICKETS. That was probably the best response I’ve ever seen to such bullshit. I’m glad to report that they fired him.

  17. amblingalong
    June 13, 2012 at 1:57 pm

    These two types of marriage were contrasted with the egalitarian model that posits that gender is unrelated to which role a spouse centers, “such that men and women can aspire equally to both roles.”

    I’m really curious as to how they distinguished this from traditional/neo-traditional marriages, considering that there’s no reason what they define as an ‘egalitarian’ marriage couldn’t result in a man working and a woman staying at home.

  18. DoublyLinkedLists
    June 13, 2012 at 2:44 pm

    I agree with Germaine Greer, who says she doesn’t oppose the division of labour, she opposes the assumption that when women choose to stay at home they “should” give their time and labour free.

    My sister is a full time stay at home mom, who also does things like laundry, and cooking, and cleaning, and all the husband upkeep required for her man-child of a guy, like making sure he eats vegetables and gets enough fiber.

    But she gets a stipend from him!

    200 dollars a week.

  19. Past my expiration date
    June 13, 2012 at 3:57 pm

    @amblingalong — actually, your comment made me realize that those summaries of the authors’ definitions at Family Scholars dot org can’t be accurate, can they? Because if the authors did really did do this

    These two types of marriage were contrasted with the egalitarian model that posits that gender is unrelated to which role a spouse centers, “such that men and women can aspire equally to both roles.”

    then all that their study finds is that men with sexist gender role ideas about women have sexist gender role ideas about women. Which is kind of tautological.

  20. Buttered Lilies
    June 13, 2012 at 5:05 pm

    I think everyone can read it here.

    Traditional marriages are where the wife is not employed, neo-traditional where the wife is employed part-time, and modern where the wife is employed full-time. For this study, the husband is always employed.

    Relevant text:

    The potential resistors focused on are husbands embedded in
    marriages that structurally mirror the 1950s ideal American family portrayed in the “Adventures of Ozzzie and Harriet” sitcom. We were led to consider this group by a question posed by Chugh and Brief (2008) in their attempt to suggest a research agenda for the study of diversity in organizations. They stated, “We wonder whether a domestic traditionalist can also be an organizational egalitarian?” (p. 332). The answer we posit is “no.”

  21. Past my expiration date
    June 13, 2012 at 6:51 pm

    Thanks, Buttered Lilies!

  22. White Rabbit
    June 13, 2012 at 8:44 pm

    @18 You wrote:

    “But she gets a stipend from him! 200 dollars a week.”

    PLEASE tell me that she has access to more money than this “stipend” from him.

    Perhaps it’s my own traumatic upbringing coloring my interpretation here, but this sounds a lot like the way my father financially abuses my mother – though my mom’s”stipend” is much smaller.

  23. pillowinhell
    June 13, 2012 at 9:43 pm

    Welll, if after all the bills are paid, there’s four hundred dollars and he gives her hal, what’s the problem? Two hundred dollars to do with as you please is a fair bit of coin for a lot of people.

    Also, what is supposed to be the correct division of pay for stay at home or primary chore person? Curious here, because I’ve never come across a direct answer.

  24. Kristen J.
    June 13, 2012 at 9:59 pm

    The problem is in the “he gives her half” as opposed to “they determined together that they would each have X dollars to spend on whatever they want.” And also the word “stipend.”

  25. pillowinhell
    June 13, 2012 at 10:07 pm

    All right then,the phrasing betrays a certain attitude. It doesn’t answer my question though. Quite frankly, if women who stay at home and kept house in the “ideal” fashion were paid at market value for the work most of the men would have to declare bankruptcy afterthe first chicken pox outbreak.

  26. Becky
    June 13, 2012 at 10:50 pm

    pillowinhell – joint account.

  27. BBBShrewHarpy
    June 13, 2012 at 10:58 pm

    So the people benefiting from the patriarchy have a vested interest in behaviors that maintain the patriarchy? Nothing to see here, folks. Let’s move along now.

  28. Kristen J.
    June 13, 2012 at 11:11 pm

    Also, what is supposed to be the correct division of pay for stay at home or primary chore person? Curious here, because I’ve never come across a direct answer.

    There isn’t a “correct” division. It depends on the couple and it has to be something they determine together as equal partners.**

  29. White Rabbit
    June 13, 2012 at 11:18 pm

    Well, if she has to buy groceries, toiletries, clothes for the kids, prescriptions, etc., with that money, then $200/week isn’t really all that much – assuming, of course, that their budget would allow for more, which it may not.

    FWIW, my father gave my mother just enough for bus fare to get to work, with some change left over for a coffee here and donut there. They went grocery shopping once a week, and he’d pay for it at the register. All other expenses had to go through him, and he vetoed 99% of them – my mom and us kids went without basic necessities while he drove a shiny new sports car. Anyway, my family was an extreme case, but I always feel a bit uneasy when I hear about a SAHM getting a stipend/allowance.

  30. White Rabbit
    June 13, 2012 at 11:21 pm

    Well, if she has to buy groceries, toiletries, clothes for the kids, prescriptions, etc., with that money, then $200/week isn’t really all that much – assuming, of course, that their budget would allow for more, which it may not.

    FWIW, my father gave my mother just enough for bus fare to get to work, with some change left over for a coffee here and donut there. They went grocery shopping once a week, and he’d pay for it at the register. All other expenses had to go through him, and he vetoed 99% of them – my mom and us kids went without basic necessities while he drove a shiny new sports car. Anyway, my family was an extreme case, but I always feel a bit uneasy when I hear about a SAHM getting a stipend/allowance.

    As for the idea of how money should be divided, there are so many variables involved that I think every couple needs to figure something out that works for both partners.

  31. White Rabbit
    June 13, 2012 at 11:34 pm

    Browser hiccup here. Sorry about the double post.

  32. ASH
    June 14, 2012 at 10:54 am

    @White Rabbit

    Your mother worked and all expenses STILL went through him? Not that I think SAHM’s should have to review all expenses with their husband, but I know a woman who worked, as did her husband (most of the time), and still turned her check over to HIM. I often wanted to punch this dick in the face for various reasons. He used to yell his demands for food up from the basement while he played video games.

    “PEPSI!”

    She would take it down to him. It was like she was mommy when convenient and he was the “man” when convenient and she didn’t have an issue with it.

    I definitely do NOT want to imply that SAHM’s should go through the husband for the expenses, but working and turning over your paycheck, as a woman, FREAKS me out. I guess because the thought of haggling with Daddy for an extra 50 cents for the “good cheese” makes me want to go apeshit, especially when I work very hard for my $$.

  33. matlun
    June 14, 2012 at 11:17 am

    I am not convinced by their conclusions.

    Unless I am misreading them, they seem to explain this with the home environment shaping the attitudes of the men, but to me is seems more natural to believe that the causal link goes in the other direction.

    Ie. Men that believe in traditional gender roles are also more likely to end up with a SAHM since that is what they want. These same attitudes are then in evidence in the work environment.

  34. White Rabbit
    June 14, 2012 at 2:15 pm

    @ASH

    Yes, and that’s been the arrangement for the vast majority of the 41 years they’ve been married. She fought back for a few short years in the 90’s, when us kids were older, but when her employer moved to delivering paychecks via EFT, she was right back to waiting for my dad to issue her a weekly allowance. (They’re immigrants, and there are language and cultural barriers that prevent her from taking more steps to help herself.) In their case, this financial abuse was just the tip of the iceberg. I’m in my 30’s, and after witnessing this growing up, I now have major hangups about ever getting married / living together with someone and blending finances.

    More directly related to the original post, my older brother internalized many of the patriarchal messages that my family modeled. He and his SAHM wife both argue that it makes sense for women to be paid less than men for equal work, “because women are distracted by raising their children.” Seriously. I have given up trying to talk to them about this subject. Not even pointing out that my own 30-something working childless self is paid significantly less than my male counterparts sways them. According to them, I will theoretically eventually have children and then become less productive. o.O

  35. bleh
    June 14, 2012 at 6:19 pm

    Getting paid a salary (rather than a stipend) for services rendered in a household is a fine and appropriate idea if handled properly. Of course, it should not be the only money the SAHP has access to, but I envision egalitarian households as ones where both partners have access to all of the financial resources. The ideal scenario would be the combined wages of a full-time housekeeper, cook, and nanny or whatever services the SAHP provides. It could even be equal to the amount of the working partner’s salary, and he or she could write a check to the SAHP and deliver it back into the same darn checking account, to which they both have equal access. The symbolism is important here. Apart from symbolism though, such salaries should definitely include real payments into a retirement account, since those payments are not coming from an other employer. Retirement resources are often neglected for SAHPs, and that needs to be changed if a SAHP is going to be an equal partner.

  36. unacomplished
    June 14, 2012 at 6:51 pm

    this is sorta off topic but, how common is this, the whole only one parent working thing?

    I mean the media has been a buzz lately with the whole “zomg it’s cool to be a stay at home dad now!” but I guess I always assumed that house holds where only one person worked were that way because both parties wanted things that way. I also assumed there were very very few of these house holds, but now that I think about it, I have yet to see any real data on the matter so I guess I don’t know.

    Both of my parent’s worked, of the very few friends I had in school, all of their households had 2 working parents. I always assumed if hell ever froze over and I got married, me and my spouse would both work.

    Is it really all that common for households to only have 1 working participant?

  37. ASH
    June 14, 2012 at 9:13 pm

    “More directly related to the original post, my older brother internalized many of the patriarchal messages that my family modeled. He and his SAHM wife both argue that it makes sense for women to be paid less than men for equal work, “because women are distracted by raising their children.” Seriously. I have given up trying to talk to them about this subject. Not even pointing out that my own 30-something working childless self is paid significantly less than my male counterparts sways them.”

    White Rabbit – I swear I might be friends with your SIL! LOL.

    I had a friend who was working right along with her husband until they started having their brood. Suddenly, any woman who wanted equal pay was a “feminist” (said in a pejorative fashion) for wanting to actually be paid what her husband made. I always suspect that it had to do with the fact that if the company has to devote equal resources to a female co-worker, that would mean less money in their household. So, eff your fellow woman, because that would impact her family. Needless to say that I was pretty mad at her for saying alot of that garbage because I was a single childless woman at the time who didn’t have a partner to help me out; it was all me or all nothing.

    I didn’t have children until my mid-30s and it was at that time that I had a job with more responsibility, demands, and needed hours. Guess what? After working 10% overtime as a minimum (I laugh when men say, “Well women always work less overtime.” BULLSHIT!), I, along with a good majority of the women in my department got the shaft around raise time after busting our butts for two years straight. My job pays significantly more, so when I get shafted, my family gets shafted.

    I often wonder what happens to those marriages where the man is a “traditionalist” and the modern economy ruins that “ideal”. If he loses his job and has to SAH while she goes to work OR they both have to go to work, I wonder if that mindset gets adjusted in their heads or if it doesn’t work out in the long run.

  38. Clytemnestra's Sister
    June 15, 2012 at 8:52 am

    It’s not just wives/mothers, it’s how their own parents acted. I work in a male-dominated industry, and every year there is a stream of young guys who have NO idea of how to behave around professional women. (Hint: behave like a professional.) There’s a lot of the madonna/whore going on, where women are either sex objects or untouchable figures, which makes interpersonal relationships awkward at best. Most of the time, in order to work with these people, I have to render myself either genderless, powerless, or some combination of the above, or they will make my life a living hell.

    It’s gotten better now that I’m in my mid-30s and am no longer a pretty, fresh-faced young thing. It’s also better, oddly, where I’m in a place where most of the men are married and most of them have their own daughters. It’s like a light switch turned on–things they say to their wives and their wives shut them DOWN they will say to me, and not only will I shut them DOWN, I will shut them down in a way that they will not only not forget, but never, ever dare do again. And then they start asking me for advice on how to deal with their wives. It makes me want to cry, except that things got better.

    It’s nice to see somebody write in a peer-reviewed journal what we already knew.

  39. Lizzie
    June 15, 2012 at 11:51 am

    pillowinhell – it was the custom in a lot of English mining villages (back in those days when you could support a family on a single not-very-skilled wage) that the married men would bring home their pay packet and give it in its entirety to their wives. The wife was expected to hand back an allowance for his beer/entertainment and keep the rest, out of which she would manage the household, put money into savings, and alot allowances for herself or any kids. I know a doctor and his wife who did this. She said that it made her an equal partner because she had control of finances so it made clear it was not “his” money, it was “their” money because neither of them could function without the other. I think it depends wholly on the individuals involved of course.

  40. Lizzie
    June 15, 2012 at 11:53 am

    @bleh – but have you ever added up what a SAHM is worth… if she is, say, a former hedge fundie with a PhD? Her eggs alone go for 50-100K on the open market. As a nanny/tutor, a professional woman might command 60-100K plus accommodation, car, and flights. If you crunch the numbers, there are very few breadwinners with educated SAHP’s who are not being effectively subsidized by their spouses!

  41. Past my expiration date
    June 15, 2012 at 12:17 pm

    Unless I am misreading them, they seem to explain this with the home environment shaping the attitudes of the men, but to me is seems more natural to believe that the causal link goes in the other direction.

    Ie. Men that believe in traditional gender roles are also more likely to end up with a SAHM since that is what they want. These same attitudes are then in evidence in the work environment.

    In fact they explicitly state that they cannot rule out reverse causality (i.e., that men who believe in traditional gender roles have stay-at-home-wife marriages as a result, rather than that men with stay-at-home-wife marriages believe in traditional gender roles as a result) as an explanation.

  42. jpe
    June 16, 2012 at 7:35 am

    . It could even be equal to the amount of the working partner’s salary

    hence the merit of just splitting after-expense surplus in half.

  43. matlun
    June 16, 2012 at 12:15 pm

    Past my expiration date@41

    In fact they explicitly state that they cannot rule out reverse causality (i.e., that men who believe in traditional gender roles have stay-at-home-wife marriages as a result, rather than that men with stay-at-home-wife marriages believe in traditional gender roles as a result) as an explanation.

    Right, and though that part was only a single sentence, they also mention this more prominently as a known limitation under “Limitations and Future Research”. I did just skim the paper before commenting, and missed this.

    Still, their main hypothesis seems to be that the home environment affected the attitudes of the men and not the reverse.

  44. White Rabbit
    June 17, 2012 at 1:08 pm

    @ASH

    Ha! Yes, that is the kind of thinking/”logic” that I would expect from my SIL. I shudder to think what would happen to them if my brother were to lose his job or his ability to work. She never intended to have to support herself on her own income, much less a husband and children. She met him in college, and to this day she openly admits that she only took an engineering course in order to meet a man who would make a lot of money and support her. My brother is an engineer, and he finds this amusing and not the least bit off-putting. -_- Did I mention that she’s also a huge fan of Rush Limbaugh? When I wonder to myself, incredulously, who these women are that are voting for Republicans (?!), I think of my SIL.

    As for what happens when the modern economy ruins the “ideal,” I’d be curious to know if anyone is studying the effects of the Great Recession on these families. My brother and SIL are a terrible anecdotal example, as I believe she has adopted this “ideal” for purely selfish reasons. They’ve already declared bankruptcy once and are back in the hole again, but she still has zero interest in going back to work. I would hope that other families would be a little more flexible about their “ideals” when their ability to support their children wobbles.

    As for equal pay, I don’t have children, but I can relate to the disparity, both in perception and pay. It just so happens that there is an independent group that does an annual survey salary of my field, and it turns out women in my field consistently earn 10-15% less than our male counterparts. This year, the survey examined the differences in credentials – experience, education, etc. – and found no significant differences that would support the salary disparity. My own salary falls right in line with the numbers reported by other women. If nothing else changed between now and my retirement at 65, I calculate that I’d earn well over half a million dollars less than my male counterparts over that period of time. Needless to say, I am still fuming over this disparity.

  45. Bagelsan
    June 17, 2012 at 1:43 pm

    the married men would bring home their pay packet and give it in its entirety to their wives. The wife was expected to hand back an allowance for his beer/entertainment and keep the rest, out of which she would manage the household, put money into savings, and alot allowances for herself or any kids. I know a doctor and his wife who did this.

    My parents (both with doctorates, one a SAHP) did this. The wage earner turned over their salary to the family CFO (the SAH) who then took care of all finances, including budgeting allowances for everyone. It worked pretty well, except that it still looked a lot like inequality, which fucked with my head a bit as a very young budding feminist who didn’t understand finances well.

  46. justine boober
    June 29, 2012 at 7:32 pm

    I’m so happy to see someone write up what I have been experiencing for the last 15 years. It’s so frustrating watching male colleagues with less knowledge and experience get promoted because they can work longer hours and on the weekends since their stay at home wives take care of all the household chores for them. I could work 80 hour weeks too if I had someone at home cleaning and cooking and doing all the grocery shopping. Where’s *my* household slave?

    In a workplace with no work/life balance, if everyone else is effectively subsidized by a SAHM, and you’re not, then you’re singled out as being a less available/”good” worker. Given this consequence, how can people say being a SAHM *doesn’t* undermine feminism? The stay at home wives end up shooting the working women of the world in the kneecaps.

Comments are closed.