Over half of women are the primary breadwinners in their households, a survey released Wednesday by Prudential found. Rather than indicating better work opportunities, though, the survey found women are assuming this role as a result of their husbands and partners losing their jobs.

"Unfortunately, this increase is not the result of making more money, but the crisis is forcing women into this role," Joan Cleveland, vice president of business development for Prudential, told reporters attending a panel on the survey findings. "Many were thrust into this position because their spouse lost their job."

Fifty-three percent of women, including single and divorced women, are the top earners in their family, including 22 percent of married and partnered women. Of the female breadwinners, 30 percent said they earned more than their partners because of the economy. The same percentage said there had been a job loss in their household.

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