The Shriver Report: A Woman’s Nation Changes Everything

The Shriver Report

A Woman’s Nation Changes Everything

By Maria Shriver and the Center for American Progress, edited by Heather Boushey and Ann O’Leary | October 16, 2009

SOURCE:Lou Bopp, Stockshop; Matt Eich, Aurora; Lyndie Benson; Davis Factor, Corbis; Dana Spaeth, Getty


Executive summary

By Heather Boushey and Ann O’Leary

Download the executive summary (pdf)

This report describes how a woman’s nation changes everything about how we live and work today. Now for the first time in our nation’s history, women are half of all U.S. workers and mothers are the primary breadwinners or co-breadwinners in nearly two-thirds of American families. This is a dramatic shift from just a generation ago (in 1967 women made up only one-third of all workers). It changes how women spend their days and has a ripple effect that reverberates throughout our nation. It fundamentally changes how we all work and live, not just women but also their families, their co-workers, their bosses, their faith institutions, and their communities.

Quite simply, women as half of all workers changes everything.

Recognizing the importance of women’s earnings to family well-being is the key piece to understanding why we are in a transformational moment. This social transformation is affecting nearly every aspect of our lives—from how we work to how we play to how we care for one another. Yet, we, as a nation, have not come to terms with what this means. In this report, we break new ground by taking a hard look at how women’s changing roles affect our major societal institutions, from government and businesses to our faith communities. We outline how these institutions rely on outdated models of who works and who cares for our families. And we examine how our culture has responded to one of the greatest social transformations of our time.

Our findings should not be surprising to working men and women. Today, four-in-five families with children still at home are not the traditional male breadwinner, female homemaker. And women are increasingly becoming their family’s breadwinner or co-breadwinner (see Figures 1 and 2). The deep economic downturn is amplifying and accelerating this trend. Men have lost three-out-of-four jobs so far since the Great Recession began in December 2007, leaving millions of wives to bring home the bacon while their husbands search for work. Women working outside the home, however, is not a short-term blip. This is a long-term trend that shows no signs of reversing.

For about 51% of the population this won’t be a surprise… might be for some of the XY folk though…


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