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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.

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