Why women are out-earning men
March 19th, 2012
By Patricia Sellers March 16, 2012: 11:44 AM ET
Women are poised to become America’s biggest breadwinners.
The tipping point is a generation away, assuming women’s economic power keeps rising as expected. But already, the trend is stunning enough that TIME made it the subject of its current cover.
“Almost 40% of working wives out-earn their husbands,” noted Liza Mundy, author of “The Richer Sex”–both the cover story and a new book that goes by the same title–at a breakfast in New York City, hosted by TIME and Fortune.
The audience was Fortune‘s Most Powerful Women: female Masters of the Universe who have seven-figure salaries and househusbands. Mundy’s research shows that women are out-earning men all around. In most U.S. metro areas, for instance, single childless women in their 20s have higher median incomes than their male peers. In Dallas and Atlanta, the average young woman earns $1.18 and $1.14, respectively, for every dollar earned by a male.
Why such rapid advancement? The Pill, Mundy said, helped spark the trend 50 years ago: Newly able to delay marriage and childbearing, women began focusing on their careers. America’s shift to a service economy also favors college grads, who increasingly tend to be female. Today, women make up 60% of U.S. college classes and earn more masters and doctorate degrees than men.