U.S. women’s participation in the workforce has been declining since the 2001 recession and it appears the late 1990’s may be as good as it gets for women in the workforce, according to a New York Times op-ed. In the opinion editorial titled, “The Best Era for Working Women Was 20 Years Ago,” contributing opinion writer Bryce Covert reports there are now 12.7 million more women without paying jobs than in 2000. The peak of women in the workforce was 60.3 percent in April 2000.
Covert writes decades after the surge of women in the workforce during WWII, the gender wage gap shrank, and women became more educated and with the help of easily obtained contraception, women could focus on their careers.
Things were going well for women in the workforce until the 2001 recession. Covert says they are a few contributing factors including husbands’ wages grew faster than wives’ in the 90’s and the gender wage gap has remained relatively the same and as more women went into the workforce the U.S. hasn’t done much to help parents balance work and raising a family at the same time. Covert notes, unlike all other developed countries, the U.S. doesn’t guarantee parents any paid time off when they have children.