Izzy Chan has seen the statistics.
Women are now breadwinners in 40 percent of households with children. When a woman is the primary earner in a relationship, she and her husband may both experience some level of dissatisfaction. And their marriage is significantly more likely to end in divorce.
Chan came face-to-face with these numbers when she became an "accidental breadwinner wife" a few years ago. She and her husband both noticed an unexpected strain on their relationship, she told HuffPost Parents in an interview. So the professional researcher, who works in branding and communications, looked at the figures about families like hers -- and found them very disheartening.
In response, Chan is spearheading a documentary and book project called "The Big Flip." (The title, a term referring to the inversion of male and female breadwinning roles, will be familiar to readers of Liza Mundy's book, The Richer Sex.) The film itself will follow several families, each experiencing its own iteration of the "Big Flip," over the course of a year, from March 2013 until March 2014.
The goal, in part, is to achieve empathy. "I think it's important to create a society that understands these families, that doesn't judge them," Chan says. "They already have enough going on, and I think the judgments only make things worse."
While Chan, who has no children, is a researcher at heart, she says the project purposefully takes an emotional, rather than scientific, approach. When it comes to processing this "new normal," she really wants society to look beyond the numbers altogether.
Where her own relationship was concerned, she tells HuffPost, "I refused to believe in the research. I love my husband; I knew at the heart that we were right for each other and that we didn't want to be another victim of statistics. ... When you're trying to do something new and different, you have to walk away from the numbers and not let those hold you back. Because until the first man got on the moon, statistically, zero men got on the moon. Until the first plane took off, human flight was statistically impossible."
"I realized I had to tell myself: Stop looking at those stats. They are not helpful for you. They might be helpful for the academics and the politicians, but for those of us who are living this day to day, that's not helpful. We need stories. We need to see what other women and men who are living this are doing. We need to find hope in their successes; we need to be there for each other for the failures, and learn from each other's mistakes so that we can avoid them and bring those statistics down."