11/26/2012 11:09 am ET

A Rise In Female Breadwinners Does Not Mean Gender Equality Is Inevitable

The term "breadwinner" originated in the 19th century as a celebration of husbands and fathers who provisioned their families, contrasted with wives and mothers as mere "dependents." How interesting that emphasis on female breadwinning plays such an important role in the case made by journalist Liza Mundy, among others, for women's inevitable economic triumph.

Historical experience suggests that winning bread is not all that she cracks it up to be. Many women can't afford much beyond a tasteless white loaf. And many mothers devote a substantial share of their earnings to the support of their children because neither their fathers nor the rest of society is providing much assistance.

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