HOUSTON, TX -- In the 1960s, women had to fight for their place in the workforce. But by 2000, nearly 75% of American women age 25 to 54 had jobs outside the home. Today, though, despite being more educated than men, only 69% of U.S. women are working. So says the Organization for Economic Cooperation and Development.
Compare that to Sweden, Switzerland and Norway where female employment is over 80%!
Funny thing about all of this is that American women seem okay with it. See-- for men, not having a job worsens their relationships with family and their health drops. But for women, relationships improve, and they exercise more when they're not employed. At least that's what they told the Census Bureau.
That could explain the drop in working women, but there has to be more.
"Well, the first thing to keep in mind," explains Parker Harvey, senior regional economist with Workforce Solutions, "is that since the late 1990s there have been two recessions, and each recovery from those recessions has taken longer and longer compared to ones in previous years."
A recent poll showed 61% of women claim family responsibilities keep them from working, while 75% of homemakers say they'd go back to work if a job offered flexible hours or they could work from home.
Harvey says, "With the cost of daycare rising faster than wages, women may opt out of the workforce until their children are old enough that that's no longer a concern."
"What they generally do is wait until the children are of school age and then go into the workforce," says Gia Scott, a Workforce Solutions personal service supervisor, "but then... they've been out of the workforce for so long, and they don't have that many skills."
New mom Jessica Smith is looking for a job as a pharmacy tech but says it hasn't been easy, "First off, to even try to get a job, you need some type of childcare or somebody to babysit."
Over in Britain where 75% of women work, maternity leavecan be a year long. But here in the U.S., it's just 12 weeks and people look at you funny for taking that.
Smith says, "There are a lot of barriers that keep a lot of people from wanting to get a job, especially when you have children."
Looks like if we want moms back at work in America, then we need to start acknowledging they may bring something more to the table than just any other dude.