Monday, July 21, 2008

Are women's careers another casualty of the poor economy?

See the NYT story here. The lede of Louis Uchitelle's story tells of how women in their "prime earning years" are leaving the work force, be it temporarily or for good, in a tough economy.

Here's a quote:

When economists first started noticing this trend two or three years ago, many suggested that the pullback from paid employment was a matter of the women themselves deciding to stay home — to raise children or because their husbands were doing well or because, more than men, they felt committed to running their households.

But now, a different explanation is turning up in government data, in the research of a few economists and in a Congressional study, to be released Tuesday, that follow the women’s story through the end of 2007.

After moving into virtually every occupation, women are being afflicted on a large scale by the same troubles as men: downturns, layoffs, outsourcing, stagnant wages or the discouraging prospect of an outright pay cut.

Uchitelle reports that women are responding to the these economic realiteis as men have, including by sometimes disappearing from the work force for a time. In that sense, what is happening isn't a gendered phenomenon, and it isn't really about choice. He notes that the trends are similar across educaiton levels, marital status, and the color divide.

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