About one in four heterosexual couples that the census looked at had wives that earned more than their husbands. In those cases, though, husbands over-reported their income while their wives under-reported their own. (The census sorted all this out when it matched couple’s answers to their actual IRS filings.)
Now, we can’t know for sure why the exaggeration happens – perhaps couples want to present themselves as more traditional to the census, maybe husbands feel insecure about making less or wives are anxious that their salary difference will “emasculate” their spouse. Whatever the reason, though, it serves as a good reminder that it’s not just political equality we need to fight for – it’s equality in the culture, and our relationships.
If we don’t have parity in our homes, we won’t have it in our country. And if men and women aren’t even comfortable talking about equality, how can we expect anyone to fight for it?
Well, no, living with someone is a constant experiment in compromise. We could even mine Jessica’s past columns for the things that men really should do for the women in their lives. You know, be honest about bum look big in this, compliment the new haircut, have chocolate available one week in four. If in return fragile male egos need a little massaging about who is bringing the cash into the household well, why not? You know, swings and roundabouts?