Four in ten women are the major breadwinner

An increasing number of women are taking on the role of the major breadwinner in their household, according to new research by protection specialist L…

An increasing number of women are taking on the role of the major breadwinner in their household, according to new research by protection specialist LV=.

The study, which surveyed 3,930 individuals aged 25 – 59, estimates that 4.3 million women in the UK are the main earners of the family.

Indeed, the proportion of women in their 20s and 30s who earn demonstrably more than their partners has jumped from 26 per cent to 41 per cent over the last 30 years.

The average annual income of female breadwinners is £51,965, while their male partner earns just 37,965, meaning millions of women are now bringing in up to 37 per cent more per year than their other halves. On top of this, more than half (54 per cent) of females claim to have always earned more than their husbands and boyfriends.

Some 40 per cent of households are now so reliant on the female income that should she be unable to work the man of the house would not be able to provide the right level of financial support. However, despite this shift, many women have no safety net in place should anything go wrong, with 53 per cent lacking life cover, 80 per cent not having critical illness cover and 89 per cent lacking income protection.

Mark Jones, head of protection at LV=, comments: "This research certainly throws up some interesting findings and it's fantastic to see antiquated stereotypes being challenged. However, it is worrying that so few have any financial safeguards in place for protecting their lifestyle as it can put them in a precarious position."

Many of the surveyed women believe they have been more successful in their earnings than their partners because of their education, with over half (54 per cent) of female breadwinners claiming to have better GCSE and A-Level results than their partners, while 47 per cent also have a superior university degree. 

Almost two thirds (60 per cent) believe these achievements have been helpful in securing them good jobs and aiding their progression up the career ladder.

By James Francis

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