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Women Retreating From Workforce For First Time in Decades

For the first time since the 1960's women's movement, the number of women in the workforce has started to decline. The weak economy has caused job loss all around and government data shows that women are losing their jobs for the same reasons as men. According to The New York Times, downturns, layoffs, outsourcing, stagnant wages or the discouraging prospect of an outright pay cut are factors that have been reducing the percentage of women in the workforce for the past few years.

The Joint Economic Committee of Congress led the Congressional study, and senior economist Heather Boushey commented, "When we saw women starting to drop out in the early part of this decade, we thought it was the motherhood movement, women staying home to raise their kids. We did not think it was the economy, but when we looked into it, we realized that it was." Median pay for women workers aged 24 to 54 had fallen from $15.04 in 2004 to $14.84 an hour in 2007, and economist Nancy Folbre thinks women are reluctant to accept these terms because they'd gotten used to seeing wages at least stay the same.


Join The Conversation
YayaOzoHead YayaOzoHead 9 years
Motherhood is definitely a factor if it means you have to pay for expensive child care. We drive 30 minutes each way to an affordable day care center. That's an 1/8th of a tank each day. Turns into about $30 a week or more in gas, plus the cost of daycare. If I weren't the one with the benefits, I might have considered staying home or getting a part-time job.
CoralAmber CoralAmber 9 years
I work part time because I have yet to find a full time job in my field that pays enough to make it worth the gas money. I was going to take on another part time job, but the pay was so low that after gas I would be making maybe $2 an hour. I would be happy to work almost anywhere that offered health care, but the jobs just aren't out there right now.
356UIK 356UIK 9 years
I think this has to be due to the motherhood movement at least in some parts. I just cant see women just completely dropping out of the workforce just due to low pay for no other reason. Working for something is still better than sitting on your ass and bringing in no money, correct?
bleached bleached 9 years
I agree, Frenched. And what's even more depressing is that as soon as a woman shows a little ambition, she's labeled as a power-hungry bitch
Frenched Frenched 9 years
It's understandable because some women may feel that staying home to take care of their children is more worth it than staying at a stagnant job where there's no apparent improvement but you would also think that since the economy is bad nowadays, more people would conserve their jobs, too.
stephley stephley 9 years
It is very depressing that women's wages are dropping - especially for women who don't have another wage earner in the house. In a multi-adult home, with prices rising so quickly on everything, you almost need someone who can dedicate full time and attention to constant comparison shopping, keeping everything in working order to keep costs down, cooking from scratch to keep costs down... I spend an awful lot of time now, trying to figure out menus and shopping lists that go further.
hippiecowgirl hippiecowgirl 9 years
I think you can still attribute a lot of it to the "motherhood movement," but with the economy as a major factor in a decision to stay home. My husband and I have been weighing the options a lot lately because we plan to start our family next year. I have a well-paying job for my area. I commute an hour one way M-F. Add those gas prices to the cost of child care and I'd almost be breaking even. Working closer to home would lessen the burden, but the job market in our area is very slim pickings right now.
bellaressa bellaressa 9 years
This is very disheartening. I wonder what the median pay is for men ages 24-54. This is scary, you're taught to work hard, climb your way up, attend school and some women are still not getting ahead.
Shopaholichunny Shopaholichunny 9 years
:( I agree orisugar.
orisugar orisugar 9 years
this is depressing....:(
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