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The Richer Sex: How the New Majority of Female Breadwinners Is Transforming Sex, Love and Family
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The Richer Sex: How the New Majority of Female Breadwinners Is Transforming Sex, Love and Family

3.52 of 5 stars 3.52  ·  rating details  ·  181 ratings  ·  42 reviews
A revolution is under way.

Within a generation, more households will be supported by women than by men. In The Richer Sex, Liza Mundy takes us to the exciting frontier of this new economic order: she shows us why this flip is inevitable, what painful adjustments will have to be made along the way, and how both men and women will feel surprisingly liberated in the end.

The be...more
Hardcover, 336 pages
Published March 20th 2012 by Simon & Schuster (first published January 1st 2012)
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Community Reviews

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Amelia
I heard a review of this book recently & decided to check it out, even though I disagree with its central argument. It claims that because American women are currently going to graduate school at higher rates than men, our economy will be transformed: in the near future, women will be the main breadwinners of their families, and the majority of men will become stay at home dads.

My problem with it, obviously, is that it doesn't advocate for equality. The life that the author proposes is a lot...more
Doug Cornelius
Almost 40% of US working wives now outearn their husbands. Washington Post reporter Liza Mundy argues that “the Big Flip” in gender roles “is just around the corner” in her new book: The Richer Sex . Soon “women, not men, will become the top earners in households" and that will transform the dynamics of male-female relationships.

Mundy sprinkles interviews with women and men throughout the book to highlight her positions and theories. She sees the emergence of a country and world where both sexes...more
Carly Thompson
3.5 stars. This is a fascinating account of male/female relations and how women are currently out earning men in some areas and are on track to surpass them entirely in the near future. Mundy looks at the historical background (for centuries men were the breadwinners and women made less money), the current era where women are starting to surpass men, and what this means for marriages and relationships. She interviews couples where the female is the higher earner and also interviews various resea...more
L'empereur
Don't worry women. You'll domesticate those stupid, smelly, feral menfolk into good faithful stay-at-home husbands so that you can go out into the traditionally male-dominated world and punch it in the balls. Except the men who decide to rely on mail order brides or move to underdeveloped parts of the world so they can continue being oppressive kings of their little domestic castles. THOSE GUYS ARE DICKS.

I'm being mostly facetious. Some of the triumphalism did feel rather premature though.

Good...more
Erik
Going into this I had one main hope/expectation, that it would confirm the viability of my life plan of getting a job with a law firm, marrying a lawyer, being a secondary earner/domestic support to her more demanding professional aspirations. The conclusion definitely hits hard in this optimistic direction but reading between the lines of the anecdote-heavy, data-light treatment, I saw a lot of reason for skepticism that this change will really happen soon enough for me. It seems that at least...more
Christina Mitchell
So what is the big deal? More women worldwide are educated and earning the money. Why is this such a compelling phenomena? The answer: because it is turning notions of parenthood, relationships, sex, and gender roles on their heads. With that turning comes considerable discomfort.

An educated person knows that society evolves. Those wishing to hark back to the good ole days often forget that them good ole days included women who couldn't vote, slavery, severe class warfare that included child la...more
Allison
A fascinating read on what I consider to be a very important topic. Many factors have come into play in our society in creating a world where now in many couples the woman's earning potential is greater than the man's. This has a lot to do with women pursuing more education, the loss of many jobs in male-dominated fields in the recent recession, the rise of information industry, and more men looking for family-friendly and flexible careers. I definitely thing these are things we are going to be...more
Leah
A very interesting and thought-provoking book. For me, it was interesting reading this not too long after I read Half the Sky. The two books paint two very different pictures of women’s lives in the 21st century; the difference between the picture of educated first-world women portrayed by Mundy couldn’t be a starker contrast to the women of the third world profiled in Half the Sky. The difference, as Mundy emphasizes over and over, is education. In the first-world countries she covers (includin...more
Tom
I read this book in lieu of The End of Men, which hadn't come out yet at the time and is on a very similar subject, because I had been fascinated by the spate of articles recently on changing gender roles and dynamics. While parts of this book were interesting I found myself frustrated for several reasons.

1. The author tended to take an anecdote or a single statistic and use it to construct a story about how drastically the culture has changed, expanding from that single point as if it alone was...more
Z
A thought-provoking and stereotype-shattering book, which makes use of exhaustive analysis of many statistics, and extensive interviews...we tend to forget what a new thing it is for women to work throughout their adult lives, but it is, perhaps, the most profound revolution in human history. It's not just about money: working gives women independence, autonomy, influence, and the opportunity to develop their abilities and use them to benefit society. It enables women to have a broader perspecti...more
Maria
College education means more pay, so what are the consequences of more women earning degrees than men? Mundy explores the social stigmas, and implications through intensive interviews with women who are earning more than their husbands and boyfriends.

Why I started this book: The title and book blurb intrigued me, and I wanted to read Mundy's insights and conclusions.

Why I finished it: Mundy leads with all the negative; stereotypes, expectations and accepted wisdom for when women earn more than m...more
Eleanor
I mostly picked this up because I loved Everything Conceivable-- for the subject (IVF) but also for how well written and readable it was--the kind of book that makes me wonder why I don't read more non-fiction.. (until I read something else that is like pulling teeth.)

This book wasn't as good as I remember Everything Coceivable being. The organization/structure seems sort of random and it felt like the numbers from studies were just flung here and there to support whatever the author happened t...more
Sara
There has been some discussion regarding the gender gap in the recovery following a recession which left many young people out of work. In the meantime, it has been argued, women have been taking advantage of the slow job market to become more educated, and thus, more prepared to take the jobs which have been coming available — those requiring skills in technology, written and verbal communication, and administration; meanwhile, men who once excelled at the blue-collar, manufacturing jobs, are f...more
Elizabeth
The first part of this book is filled with statistics that shocked me yet in another way didn't surprise me. It was very interesting seeing the facts about how many women are going to school, waiting to get married and having trouble finding a man who is of equal eduction and ambition. One thing I found funny is that the phrase 'opting-out' is used quite a bit and although she meant opting out of the workforce, I kept thinking she was talking about opting out of dating because I know many beauti...more
Erica
I thought this book was very eye-opening, although one-sided. I think all in all, the author made some points that we already knew as an American society, roles are shifting with the changes in the economy, as they have been for the past 50 years. Women have been working and achieving more equal pay as the years have gone by and some men have had to step into the "typical" female role of staying home with the children.

I think one point Mundy did make was the impact that the changing workforce is...more
Kelly Martin
I picked up this book because the author was on Jon Stewart to promote it, and her discussion seemed fairly coherent so I figured I'd give it a try. I wasn't really sure what to expect, but I was very pleasantly surprised. This book is a provocative and very nonjudgmental examination of current trends in marriage and relationship-forming as influenced by the very real fact that women are increasingly outperforming men economically. The author does a very good job of illuminating trends, includin...more
Margaret
Better than the cover art would suggest. Probably shouldn't have read this. Hooray for overthinking everything.
Reshma
This is an interesting book. It explores societal and familial changes as women become more educated. What does it mean for marriage? For relationships? My main complaint was that the author makes it sound like we've already reached some type of tipping point in society where women are equal to or do better than men. There's little exploration of the lives of low income women, women who drop out of the workforce when they have kids, and women who continue to suffer discrimination in the workplac...more
Claire
Just ok. A lot of what the author was outlining I couldn't relate to. It painted women as rather selfish and petty, and men as fragile and powerless. While this may have some base in truth, it doesn't feel as universal as the book made it seem. I didn't find profiled couples that reflected my life until the very last chapter, when she talked to couples that were functional and let go of hangups about masculinity and being paired with someone on some predefined socioeconomic "level."
Angela
In 2009, the Great Recession resulted in more women in the workforce who either earned more than their male counterparts or who became the sole breadwinner of their household. This book is thoroughly researched and interestingly written with candid behind-the-scenes interviews. If you enjoyed this book, you might also enjoy the novel Out of Balance by Angela Lam Turpin in which a stay-at-home mom becomes the breadwinner to a now stay-at-home dad.
Sarah
The face of the modern family is now that of a woman instead of a man. This book is most certianly feminist, and at times made me worry about the futures of my two sons. The picture painted of men does not match my experiences. The men I know donot act inimidated by professional, well educated, and powerful women. For the most part,, it does a decent job of explainjng why women are now able to be the primary bread winners.
Kaci
May 22, 2012 Kaci added it
Although an interesting read, it seems a little speculative and bias. It argues that society will basically be the same, just reversed. Women will want to work long hours to be the family breadwinner while men will want to stay home and take on the majority of the housework. I was looking for a more 50/50 perspective.
Peter Mcloughlin
The author emphasizes the positive side of women overtaking men. There are some positives for both women and men. I got the feeling however that she was glossing over the negative aspects of this new situation. It is not easy for a lot of guys to give up primary breadwinner role and keep their self respect.
Liz
This would have been much better as a New Yorker article than a book-length piece, as the author's theme didn't seem to evolve much. But it was still was interesting enough because of the stories she mixed in from interviews as well as some demographic statistics (my fave).
Elaine
I really enjoyed this book. Mundy not only outline's how money has changed relationships, but also other factors as well. She explains how the ideal man and ideal woman have changed, and the potential outcomes of these changes on society and families as whole.
Jennifer Donner
This book helps women who earn more money than their partners realize they are not alone in the feelings they are experiencing. The author shows how times have changed, especially in the last 10 years, and how roles in the household have reversed.
Kate
I read book this while reading another book about working women in the 1960s: 'Mad Women: The Other Side of Life on Madison Avenue in the '60s and Beyond' by Jane Mass. This got me thinking about the past, present, and the future of working women.
Nancy
Fascinating view of societal changes; I see truths reflected in my parents' generation as well as my own and my children's. I appreciated the author's evenhanded and non-alarmist approach to this subject. I have encouraged my children to read this.
Alyssa
Generally interesting to read with lots of things to think about including socially constructed gender roles, femininity/masculinity, factors of education and culture. The topics are fun to discuss, but I wouldn't say that this is a fun read.
Lex
an interesting read though I think that this "phenomenon " is really a simple reversal of traditional roles.... I'd be more interested in a similar book tracking the history of households where men and women are equal breadwinners.
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