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Gender-Earning Roles Reversing, Research Suggests

family-111200802 Credit: Dreamstime.com

In a change in gender roles, families are no longer relying on men to bring home the most bacon, new research shows.

A study by Break Media, a distributor and producer of digital video, revealed that just half of men in a relationship consider themselves the primary breadwinner in their households. While 86 percent of the men surveyed say there is still a lot of pressure on them to be the main financial provider in their homes, three-quarters say reality dictates that it's now OK for a woman to take on that role.

"No longer is the modern man the macho master of the universe – instead, he's a 'Modern Mensch,'" said Break Media CEO Keith Richman. "In today’s post-recessionary environment, that means a new identity rooted in a good-natured, family-oriented measure of happiness and success."

The study found that men are now placing a greater priority on their family life. More than a quarter of the men surveyed are solidified in the stay-at-home role, with 55 percent saying they would love to be able to stay home to care for their kids each day.

Men taking on a larger home role has also upended traditional household responsibilities, the research shows. More than 80 percent of men now report taking an active role in grocery shopping, pet care, housecleaning, doing laundry and cooking meals.

"It makes sense that a shifting balance in life at home for men would be accompanied by different aspirations on the career front," said Jane Greer, author and a New York marriage and family therapist. "As men feel there is a growing freedom to move away from traditional roles, they seek independence and flexibility in their careers that will be a better fit for that lifestyle."

One of those aspirations is becoming an entrepreneur. More than 80 percent of those polled said they would like to work for themselves someday.

There has also been a reversal of roles when it comes to shopping, with men increasingly becoming the primary decision-maker in purchasing  products that previously were more female-oriented, such as clothes, wellness and cleaning products, as well as baby supplies.

Richman said the study's results shouldn't give anyone the impression that men have gone soft.

"They express their masculinity through 'small adventures,' from recreational sports to eating contests and everywhere in between," he said.

The research was based on ethnographic interviews with 16 men in New York, Kansas City and Portland, small group sessions in each of the three cities, and consultation with four experts immersed in the world of men. This was followed by a 20-minute online survey of 2,000 men between the ages 18 and 49.

Follow Chad Brooks on Twitter @cbrooks76 or BusinessNewsDaily @BNDarticles. We're also on Facebook & Google+.

Chad Brooks

Chad Brooks is a Chicago-based freelance writer who has nearly 15 years experience in the media business. A graduate of Indiana University, he spent nearly a decade as a staff reporter for the Daily Herald in suburban Chicago, covering a wide array of topics including, local and state government, crime, the legal system and education. Following his years at the newspaper Chad worked in public relations, helping promote small businesses throughout the U.S. Follow him on Twitter.

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