The belief that men have to be the breadwinners in their relationships is still pretty present today. But what happens to a man when his wife earns more than he does? New research suggests that men need to find ways to reinforce their gender role in response to anything that seems to threaten it—like their wives bringing in more dough.
We already know that loss of income relative to a spouse has also been linked to a need for erectile dysfunction medication and the increased likelihood of sexual infidelity. But, according to a new study, men are also more likely to stop supporting their wives’ rights to their bodies, too.
The research published in the Harvard Business Review compares the incomes of a group of men to their political views. The results show that when a man’s wife has a higher income than he does, he grows more conservative on issues like abortion.
Participants were given seven unique circumstances that might result in a woman seeking out an abortion, and their score increased by one point every time they stated that they would support a woman getting an abortion in that situation. Researchers found that the lower a man’s income dropped in comparison to his wife’s, the lower his support for abortion became, dropping around 0.3 points on the scale. Even those who “gained income relative to their spouses” became less supportive.
“I found that Republican men who contributed less to their household income than they did two years prior became significantly less supportive of abortion rights,” added Dan Cassino associate professor at Fairleigh Dickinson University and author of the study. “The more income that they lost relative to their spouses, the more their support for abortion dropped.”
Kinda weird, right?