The 70s was a time for women to gain voice, respect, status and education in America. This was the promise our mothers made to their female children during the Women’s Liberation Movement. Yet we are seeing a trend in women becoming educated, but for various reasons do not use their education in the workforce. Reuters is about to publish a new study which suggests that while our females are educated, they are not using that education to their financial benefit.
As of 2010, of the 123 million work eligible females, fifty-one percent were not participating in the workforce, according to the Bureau of Labor Statistics. Why, what are these women doing instead of working? According to Reuters, women are opting to stay out of work because their salary still does not compare to her husband’s salary, overall. And by the age of 23, only 23.4% of our women hold a bachelor’s degree or higher. Our men in the same age bracket hold 14.3 % of the bachelor’s degree or higher. So while women are better educated, but not nearly enough, they continue to experience a wage gap.
In general, women are making 81.2₵ to every dollar earned by a man according to the U.S. Census Bureau. So she is missing 19 cents- pfff- big deal. What is the big deal; it is nineteen cents? The big deal is this- over the course of one child’s lifetime- 18 years, a female headed household loses over $6,800 in earnings. When it comes time for her child’s college attendance, that $6,800 could have covered some of the college tuition, or let us be real, these days, maybe it would buy the young student books for college. Regardless of how the money is used, that is $6,800 that the student does not need to take out in loans.
In addition to loss of earnings because of lack of equality in pay, she is not being promoted as often as her male counterpart. The ratio of women’s to men’s occupations, lawyers for example is 77.1. Not bad odds for our ladies, who represent over three quarters of the occupation. But, when a male partner in a law firm was questioned about how many female partners they had in their firm, he responded, “None.” When asked, “Why?” he responded,
“In addition to being a lawyer, we are sales people. We are required to bring in new clients all the time to build the practice. We work over sixty hours a week sometimes. While we cannot ask at the interview if a woman has a family, we are under the assumption that a female has children, or intends to have children. We know that for a female, her children are priority. Additionally, we take our potential clients out to dinner, to the golf course or sometimes to lewd places to suit their interests. We would not ask a female partner to bring in clients at the strip club. I know it is wrong, but that is the ‘good old boys club’ in which we operate.”
The occupations, regardless of promotional opportunity, that our females want, according to the Labor of Bureau Statistics would require an education, first, and then desire to use that education for her professional gain. Some of the high paying jobs in the industry for females are postsecondary school teachers, nurses, occupational therapists, management analysts, computer programmers, physicians and surgeons, computer software engineers, lawyers and pharmacists, where our female worker can expect a median salary of over a thousand dollars per week.
If a woman is wise, and we know she is, she should work. A 2001 study published by the Journal of Personality and Social Psychology by Jean Twenge found that a woman’s sense of assertiveness and dominance rose and fell with her participation in the workforce.
- During WWII, when our females first went to work in droves, her sense of assertiveness and dominance rose.
- When our guys came home from the war and our women returned home, her sense of assertiveness fell.
- In the 60s and 70s, when she returned to get her education and participate in the workforce, her sense of dominance (ability to make decisions) and assertiveness (confidence in making decisions) rose again with her status in society.
How a woman feels about herself is very much dependent on whether she is an active participant in the workforce, according to this study. So even if a woman is willing to give up money, it may be that she could consider the status she gives away as well, and then what that means in the long run.