Working Women Fueling Economic Growth

By: Carl Hampton

The percentage of women in the workplace is on the rise since hitting an all time low in March of 2005. Social Science experts think the drop was due to a cultural shift. Those women that are now going back to work are considered to be part of the baby boomer generation that should be heading into retirement.

In contrast, some scholars are now saying that a younger generation of women who were raised by working mothers are less likely to pursue a career while raising a family. But that does not really seem to be the case. In July, 60.8% of women age 20 and older were working or seeking employment. That is a pretty good percentage since the last highs were in April of 2000 and June 2003. Then the all-time peak was at 61%. The number had fallen to 60% in March of 2005 so as we can see, there has been a small increase.

The fact that women have declined in the work force is a very important discussion. Vicky Lovell, of the Institute for Women's Policy Research, said "women have been the workers fueling economic growth". So this increase, no matter how small is definitely a step forward. But there is a great deal of concern that this increase could just be a short term situation.

In addition, there is concern that employers are not as receptive to making policies that help women balance work and family. For example, only the larger corporations or even hospitals are likely to provide child care assistance, compressed work weeks, or job sharing for those returning from maternity leave. That is just the tip of the ice berg, finding a job that is flexible for a mother is difficult in itself. If the mother has an infant, finding a baby sitter can be even more stressful. For those baby boomer, being able to make necessary doctors appointments or running errands conflict with a full time working schedule.

The main point here is women are returning back to work and that is definitely a good thing when it comes to economic growth for the U.S.

Careers and Job Hunting
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