Women are the Breadwinners in a Fifth of UK Households

Colour co-ordinated cupcakes

The hottest day of the year so far in the UK and I’m walking my way past gridlocked traffic to The Hub near Kings Cross.  I suspect I should be in the park with a picnic but I’m intrigued by an invitation to a very well orchestrated book launch about who brings home the bacon, and I want to find out more.

Jenny Garrett, author of Rocking Your Role,  wants us all to be proud of the increasing numbers of women who are the main breadwinners in households.   According to a government commissioned report into economic inequality, published by the National Equality Panel in 2010, one in five women in the UK are the breadwinner, earning more than their spouse or partner. This equates to around 2.7million women.   In the US, Reuters reports the figure to be one in three and that figure is the same, rather bizarrely, in Egypt.

Taboo subject

Jenny believes that women should stop hiding their light under a bushel.  They should take off their superhero capes by going to work and then also shopping and cooking the dinner.  ME’s (main earners) need to shed the guilt.   They also need to take care.  Ill ME’s are no use to anyone.  Female breadwinners is a growing trend we should celebrate, and yet we are resistant to do so.

“Being the main earner is still a taboo subject for women. This means that women face the challenges of being breadwinners in silence, such as: guilt, managing money, society’s assumptions, family life, career and life balance.”

Jenny has been motivated by being an ME herself.  “When men are the breadwinners, they strutt their stuff like a proud peacock. “  Why is it that emotions run high and there is shame around female breadwinners and equally issues for men who choose to be stay at home dads?   Realising she had hit a nerve, Jenny wanted to find out more.  She began her research which has culminated in her new book Rocking Your Role “an essential handbook to success for female breadwinners.”

As promised,  the room is  filled with a mix of  interesting and industrious women and men (mainly women) seeking paid, meaningful work and rewarding lives around their families.  This includes the Web Editor Mandy Garner from workingmums.co.uk who juggles four children and two jobs.  We are both impressed that she’s out of the house for the evening.   Mandy’s blog.The pursuit of the dream job and career change is also a topic in the room.  Edwina Danquah has won a young entrepreneurs competition to attend the evening.  After completing a law degree she now works in HR.  On the side she’s an MD for her company www.AllStarPR.co.uk and she represents Afrobeat artist Mista Silva and she’d really like to do this full-time for a range of musicians.  At the moment, Edwina hasn’t quite got the nerve to take the plunge.  But I sense that she will.

TV cameras at the book launch

The event looks great.  High profile Mindy Gibbins-Klein, the Book Midwife,  has been involved and the marketing and brand is very strong.  Red and black dominate the room – even the cupcakes are colour co-ordinated.  The room is filled with ‘key influencers’ writers and journalists.  BBC  TV presenter  Brenda Emmanus interviews Jenny about her motivations and chairs questions.  The Twitter feed is full of references to the night.   And it works.  Jenny will be on BBC Radio 4’s Woman’s Hour on Monday 2nd July from 10.00am.   Surely a true mark of success for any female breadwinner.

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One Response to Women are the Breadwinners in a Fifth of UK Households

  1. Katie says:

    That’s quite an impressive statistic. 20% is higher than I would have expected – but wow! 1 in 3 in the US and Egypt. I think I need to get a copy of the book though – sounds like a great lanuch with some amazing women there.

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