Number of women breadwinners doubles in 16 years

Over 2.2 million working mums are now breadwinners – an increase of 1 million since 1996/97 – which means that almost one in three of all working mothers with dependent children are now the primary breadwinner for their family, according to research by the Institute for Public Policy Research.

The report says that despite this, many working mums – the majority of whom also take primary responsibility for care – still face significant barriers to entering and remaining in work.

The report finds there has been a substantial increase in the employment rate of lone parents since 1996/97 and that mothers with degrees are more likely to be breadwinners than lower-skilled mothers: more than a third of mothers with a degree-­level qualification now earn more than their partner, compared to just over a quarter of mothers without a degree.

The report also found breadwinning by young mothers has risen sharply in the recent poor economic climate.

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