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Interview with Suzanne Doyle-Morris: Female breadwinners

Dr Suzanne Doyle-MorrisIn 2009 Beyond The Boy’s Club was the book that most affected me. It is a book about career strategies and options for women in male-dominated fields. Although I don’t work within a male-dominated field, I found it to be full of useful advice that I applied (and I’ve been promoted over the years).
Suzanne Doyle-Morris is now the author of another book. It’s not yet out, but I did get to speak with Suzanne Doyle-Morris about it.
Suzanne, your new book is Female Breadwinners. It’s about how they make relationships work and why these women are the future of the modern workforce. It’s a long title! What is it all about?
Evidently, men have been expecting to be the main breadwinner for generations. It is striking to see how many heterosexual partners today have both the burden and the benefits of this role. These women’s stories show how heterosexual partnerships can challenge many of the social expectations we were raised with.
It is even more surprising that both men and women who are progressive and feminists in their views towards these changing roles still find it difficult to negotiate them within their own relationships. It can be difficult to accept a role that you didn’t expect, regardless of whether you are the breadwinner. These non-traditional roles were met with mixed reactions from their male partners. They felt pride and support, but also resentment as well as competitiveness. This emotion range was not a male phenomenon. The women felt mixed emotions towards their husbands.
As I began to research, write and even mention the topic of female breadwinners, my suspicions were confirmed. Their immediate interest showed me that I was onto something. Many women would exclaim excitedly, “Oh, that’s me or my sister or all the women on my team.” I was astonished at how many women were included in this large, yet largely untapped demographic.
What is the definition of a female breadwinner
Any woman who earns less than her partner or anticipates this happening in the near future would be classified as a woman earning at least as much. I met women who were on par with their partners, and others who took home all the money. I spoke with women who had been in this position for at least three consecutive years. I was concerned that there was a difference in their experience to women who were in temporary positions. But, truthfully, few women know it will be permanent.
It’s a topic that is not commonly discussed. It’s not something we talk about often, and it’s a secret demographic. How did you come up the idea?
Three conversations I had in a single day a few months ago inspired me to write a book about the rise of the female breadwinner. These three conversations showed that primary breadwinners for women are a common but complex phenomenon in modern society. I was convinced by three conversations that there was a story to be told.
It was a warm spring day in London and I was scheduled to attend three different executive coaching sessions. Clara, a senior executive at a global pharmaceutical company was approached by a recruiter about a Head of Country position. This was a big step up for Clara and a great indicator of her potential. The opportunity required her to relocate to Finland.
Clara said, “Naturally, Richard and I will have to discuss it.” Although he could continue his work from home as an IT consultant, I believe it would be a good idea for him to do so. He is the reason I am here.