Women can be breadwinners too

KUCHING: In today’s world, more and more women are becoming breadwinners for their families while their men stay at home, take care of housework and look after their children.

If women can cook and do housework, so can the men, right?

Sarah Chang

Sarah Chang, 29, said she supported any woman stepping up to become the income earner and provider for her family.

“Many women nowadays are independent and get to spend what they have earned. They don’t rely on men all the time. Of course, this doesn’t mean that men can stop giving allowance to their spouses.”

Sarah, who is an entrepreneur, said it was getting to be a norm nowadays for women to be breadwinners. These women strive to achieve their goals; are persistent and passionate in what they do.

“There are so many businesses out there waiting for us to take a leap of faith and be part of women empowerment.

“It is time for us to step out of our comfort zone and be go-getters. It is all right to fail in our careers sometimes, but it is not okay to give up.”

She added that many women are going the extra mile — having a full-time job, and still doing part-time jobs to earn more.

“I really admire teenagers born in the 2000s. They started off doing online businesses. With the ongoing pandemic and slow economy, some companies are reducing salaries or Employees Provident Fund (EPF) and even retrenching. So, do not let your job define how you live. You define what works for you.”

Kho Wee Chien

Financial planner Kho Wee Chien, 26, concurred. “Women have the ability and potential to do very well in their careers. So, I think it is all right as long as both sides agree that women are the ones who earn for their families.”

She said it was unavoidable that there would be bad impressions pertaining to wives working while the husbands stay at home although this is getting common.

“Our parents, including grandparents, may say that women do better in teaching and raising kids, but I do not totally agree.

“I personally think that husbands can take care of the family most of the time like how wives or mothers do.”

A UiTM student, Cyrill Norbert, 24, observed that having a wife as a breadwinner and financially supporting her household is not unusual anymore.

“In my opinion, the sense of responsibility and being financially independent drive women to achieve more and work harder so they don’t really mind being a breadwinner in the family,” she said.

She said that breadwinning women are acceptable since many women choose not to depend only on their husbands’ income to support their families.

“Most jobless or low-income wives are less likely to be satisfied since their husbands only can cover the home expenses but pay no attention to their personal needs.

“So, I believe that women being the breadwinners in the family is not a big deal as long there is tolerance and consideration between both husband and wife,” she said.

She said however, the role of wife as the breadwinner is common but still relatively new to the society, where most society have not fully accepted the cultural shifts of a woman being a breadwinner because they believe that the most salient characteristics of being ‘a real man’ lies in his role as the breadwinner and financial provider.

“Not to mention all, but most societies, especially the elders still stressed on the culture of adult sons should provide for their parents as well as their families. This will leave a bad impression on women being the breadwinner of the family as adult sons should make a living and the wives should be the homemakers,” she said.

In her point of view on what role should husband play if the wife is the breadwinner, Cyril said there is no specific role that should be given in the family, even if the woman is a breadwinner.

“It all stems from consideration and common courtesy from the husband. If he is unemployed due to being physically ill, or disabled, he can help manage around the house. If he is physically well, he can seek part -time employment to ease financial burden or help manage the family while sustaining the house livelihood.

“I am a firm believer of the equality in marriage. The role is not the main problem, what matters is the husband’s willingness to switch roles with his wife,” she said.

Cyrill Norbert (right) and Busang Jeias

While Cyril’s soon-to-be fiancé, Busang Jeias, 29, and a site supervisor, feels that there should be a mutual agreement between the husband and wife on who would support the family financially.

“If the woman feels that she can support the family and finds it difficult to leave her job, and is afraid to leave their child at a childcare centre, then the husband would need to make the sacrifices.

“At the end of the day, both sides must agree to this to avoid any argument or misunderstanding. And both husband and wife also need to be mentally strong as there is still a notion that men are supposed to earn money and support the family.”

He also said in today’s world, there was no such thing as women only work in the kitchen because women are as capable as men in various fields.

“Men also need to provide emotional support to their wives besides taking over the house chores and looking after the children. They must also explain the role reversal to their children,” he said, adding that the partners must work out the best solutions not only for the wellbeing of their marriages but also the welfare of their children.

Aldrich Chan

Meanwhile, Aldrich Chan, 35, who is a civil engineer, opined that everyone should have equal opportunities, including women, and when a woman is able to do it, she should be given the opportunity to shine.

“It is okay for a woman to be a breadwinner for her family if there is a clear understanding between husband and wife. Why not, right?” he said.

Having said that, he admitted that there are some people who still have a conservative mindset.

“But with modernisation, society is slowly opening up to accepting this,” he said.