A study of senior-level executives in Fortune 1000 companies –– by Harris Interactive for Pepperdine University’s Graziadio School of Business and Management –– revealed that fewer than half of senior-level executives are concerned about off-ramping because nearly 40 percent think that within two to four years a woman will make up the losses in salary and position. Another 12 percent, though, think catching up will take more than four years and 13 percent think it unlikely that women who off-ramp will ever fully catch up.

Some women chose to become entrepreneurs so that they can be their own boss and set their own hours; women-owned businesses grew by 14 percent from 1997 to 2002 (compared to a 7 percent growth in U.S. businesses overall). Perhaps more startling is the fact that these women-owned businesses are growing enough to increase their hiring by 30 percent (compared to other businesses at 18 percent nationwide). Also surprising is that in more than a quarter of two-income households now the wife is the primary breadwinner. Molly Selvins (LA Times, 2/4/07) compared the percentages from 1987 (17.8 percent) to today when 25.3 percent of the wives earn higher salaries than their husbands.

These economic factors, though, apparently have little to do with a woman’s happiness. The Heritage Foundation’s Family Fact 8219 reveals that a husband’s beliefs about family, the value of marriage, desire for children and respect for traditional gender roles are key in determining whether a wife reports happiness with the love and affection of her husband.

CWA’s Brenda Zurita and Sarah Rode compiled the research for this article.

Dr. Janice Shaw Crouse is a Senior Fellow of Concerned Women for America’s   Beverly LaHaye Institute. She writes about contemporary issues that affect women, family, religion and culture in her regular column "Dot.Commentary."