Gen Z on who should be the breadwinners in the family

Young family with cute little baby boy going over finances at home
Young family with cute little baby boy going over finances at home (Getty Images)

In modern-day Britain, women are much more prominent in the workplace and men take up a more active role in home life.

These are changes to the way we live that many people have fought hard for in the pursuit of gender equality. While things are still far from totally equal, society has taken leaps and strides into a more progressive future compared to before.

But new research reveals that old stereotypes about gendered roles continue to persist, particularly among the younger generation.

Despite progress in terms of financial equity in relationships, new statistics from Starling Bank show that Gen Z men hold more traditional points of view about money compared to older generations.

Starling Bank asked 3,000 UK adults in cohabiting relationships about their views on how expenses are split between a couple, and found that more than seven in 10 (71%) of men aged 18 to 24 years old believe that men should be "the primary breadwinner within a relationship", the survey revealed.

This belief that men should earn more money than women to support their household is putting pressure on Gen Z men, with nearly six in 10 (58%) believing that a man in a heterosexual relationship might feel "emasculated" if their partner earned more than them.

Serious young couple checking documents with using computer
Gen Z men are more likely to hold a more traditional view about who should provide in a relationship compared to Gen Z women. (Getty Images) (Getty Images)

Gen Z women hold a different point of view, however, with only a fifth (20%) saying that the man should be a primary breadwinner, and just 16% agreeing that a man who earned less than his female partner would feel emasculated.

Commenting on the findings, Rachel Kerrone, family finance expert at Starling Bank, tells Yahoo UK: "There might be a number of reasons why Gen Z men feel this way - some of the pressures may be self-imposed, or as a result of social media influences that previous generations were less exposed to, or peer groups and even upbringing."

Expectations VS Reality

But, while Gen Z men seem to be burdened by this expectation, the reality is quite different.

The survey showed that young couples are the most likely group to split expenses in their relationship equally (73% among 18 to 24 year olds compared to an overall average of 53%).

However, for many key expenses, it appears that young women are paying the most. Nearly a third (29%) of respondents aged 18 to 24 years old said that, in their relationship, the woman pays for all or most of the cost of joint holidays, compared to 28% of men.

This trend is reflected in everyday expenses, too, with 35% of women paying all or most of the cost of the weekly food shop, compared to 26% of men.

Side profile of beautiful young Asian woman carrying a shopping basket, grocery shopping for daily necessities in supermarket. Healthy eating lifestyle. Making healthier food choices
Young women shoulder the burden of key expenses, including the weekly food shop. (Getty Images) (Getty Images)

Below is a breakdown of expenses that young women pay more towards compared to men:

  • Pets: 31% of women compared to 20% of men

  • Nursery fees: 27% of women compared to 21% of men

  • Car payments: 32% of women compared to 29% of men

  • Petrol: 35% of women compared to 26% of men

  • Presents: 32% of women compared to 22% of men

Gen Z women are also around seven times more likely to pay for all or most of the food and drinks bill when they go out with their partner, compared to women from older generations.

Kerrone said: "It is clear that among young people, there is a disconnect between the pressures men feel to provide, and the reality of being able to do so at an age where they’re making their way and figuring things out in adult life.

"When it comes to money matters in relationships though, the reality appears to be quite different and in fact, young couples are more likely to split their finances equally.

"Indeed, we found that young women in heterosexual relationships today are more likely to contribute, or pay more, towards certain expenses than their male partners."

Watch: Most Gen Z prefers drinking at home to going out

Financial burdens lead to relationship problems

The difference between how young couples feel individually about their financial situation compared to the reality has caused issues in relationships, the survey showed.

Half of 18 to 24 years olds said they have split up with a partner because of unfair financial arrangements that they couldn’t resolve, which is significantly higher than the wider average of 16% of UK adults within the survey.

On top of that, more than half (54%) of younger couples avoid having conversations about money issues with their partner. This figure rises to 69% of men aged 18 to 24, compared to just 21% of women.

She added: “We would encourage young men to take a more equitable view of money, and to have open and transparent conversations with their partner about how finances are best managed within their relationship; one-size-fits-all approaches, especially if they are based on gender stereotypes, are not always the best solution for every situation.”

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