Women's Working Woes Blamed on a Failing Economy

   By drodriguez  Oct 27, 2008

Over the last few years we have seen a sharp decline in the number of women entering the workforce.  It is being reported that for the first time since the women’s movement of the 60’s the percentage of working women has fallen rather than risen.  Analysts have been chalking it all up to women making the choice to be stay-at-home moms.

In 2000 we were seeing a strong 75 percent of women finding jobs in the workforce.  Since then, we have dropped down two percentage points and now stand at 73 percent.  You may not think 2 percentage points sounds like a big decline, but that 2 percent represents 4 million women who are currently unemployed.  

A recent article from ABC News reports on the latest congressional study’s findings that the failing economy is to blame for the decline of women in the workforce.  This is in direct contradiction to the experts’ earlier theories that women were simply deciding to stay home to raise families.  In fact, they found the decline affected all women regardless of marital status, educational background, race, etc

The study also found that one of the biggest reasons women are leaving the workforce at such a high rate is due to drops in their pay.  According to the Economic Policy Institute, the average pay for women has gone down from $15.04 in 2004 to $14.84 today.

The founder and president of a company called Executive Moms, Marisa Thalberg, discussed the recent congressional study.  She said, “The economy is an equal opportunity offender.  If anything, this study should debunk the notion that women go out the workforce just to raise children.  It’s not a pure emotional decision (to leave the workforce.)  For many women, there’s as much pressure as any man would feel to be the breadwinner.”

What do you think of the latest findings that the economy is to blame for women leaving the workforce?

Do you think there is as much pressure on women as men to be the breadwinner in the family?

Make a Comment

scalcagno by scalcagno | Champaign, IL
Jun 13, 2009

We live in a patriarchal society. Though gaps between male and female roles in society have shrunk, men are still seen as the breadwinners. However, I think it would be interesting to compare statistics of women out of work compared to men who are out of their jobs before making any assumptions. Many people - both men and women - have been losing jobs lately.

KsFoodie by KsFoodie | Wichita, KS
Jan 27, 2009

Of course "the economy is to blame for women leaving the workforce." Jobs are being eliminated everywhere. Period. My job was one of those recently lost and I have to find full time work with benefits or my husband and I will have no health insurance whatsoever. Unfortunately, many employers would rather offer part-time jobs so they don't have to pay benefits. Statistics are misleading because they don't take into account all the many, many people who are under-employed but still working.

Cassiesul84 by Cassiesul84 | Washburn, ME
Jan 15, 2009

I stay at home with my 14 month old daughter. Before I got pregnant and had a child I worked for 6 years and attended college, but I put things on hold for her. It's so much better to see her happy and I know that she's not being neglected or abused! When she gets older...I'll pick back up!

Cassiesul84 by Cassiesul84 | Washburn, ME
Jan 15, 2009

The reason why two people have to work now is because, when women starting joining the work force...men's pay started to drop, it continued to plumet and now...what a man used to make is what a man & women make combined! Not to mentioned the added cost of childcare and unhappy children. Wasn't the best move we could have made!

Love2fly by Love2fly | Portland, OR
Nov 23, 2008

The economy is not good, and I to am scared, I look that fear in the eyes everyday wondering how will I pay my bills, or house payment if my job was gone. ~~~~ I am the only income in this house, divorced over seven years. ~~~ I have to tell myself it will be okay and speak with God. I sure hope he hears my prayers.

erica_cal by erica_cal | Scotts Valley, CA
Nov 22, 2008

I am kind of scared by the lack of reasoning on this discussion. Why shouldn't congress study women? We are HALF of the population, not 2%. And where is the definitive evidence that it is always good for a mom to stay home with the kids? I need evidence of this. I see so many mothers who stay at home who seem miserable, are home all day yet interact with their kids very little, and all around have bad attitudes. Their kids are not well taken care of and would be better off in day care or with the grandparents part of the time. Whether or not a parent should stay at home depends on the personality and abilities of the individual, and not all women are cut out for full time child care.

lwink29 by lwink29 | Copper Canyon, TX
Nov 20, 2008

I had been hired to work at home as a reservationist for a major hotel chain and had 7 weeks of onsite training and the first day of the 5th week of training the General Manager came in and let all of the training classes go because of the economy. I was so sad, this was the first job I had in 27 years because I have a adult Down Syndrome son who lives with my hubby and I and this was a perfect opportunity for me and for the family to have a little extra income.

fawn80 by fawn80 | Woodland, IL
Nov 20, 2008

I can't NOT work - my income is 45% of our household income. And yes, I do feel pressure to be a breadwinner. The nice thing is my husband carpools so that's one less expense, and our daycare is only $95/week. Normally, my checks pay the mortgage and bills, and his is mainly for daycare, groceries, and extras. Of course with the price of groceries, there aren't many extras right now.

blinki74 by blinki74 | wayland, MI
Nov 12, 2008

I think that more women just cannot afford decent daycare. Why go to work just to pay someone else to spend time with your child, When you can do it and have that quality time.

deletion by deletion | CHICAGO, IL
Nov 11, 2008

I was the breadwinner in my family, but my husband has an excellent job as well. Since I really didn't like my job (too much pressure), I recently decided to become a stay-at-home mom. I figured: 1) If there was someone who actually needed and wanted my job in this economy, they could have it, and 2) since everyone is feeling the pinch right now, I could handle feeling the pinch a little too.

trigg93 by trigg93 | WESTERN SPRGS, IL
Nov 06, 2008

As the economy worsens, things are bad for everyone not just women. Many women are not wanting to leave the workforce, they are being forced to leave.

mmyers by mmyers | Fairfield, IA
Nov 06, 2008

I have been working for my company for over 13 years and love my job. However, we are not doing very well and have downsized drastically and I am concerned that we may close or be sold. I have checked out the job market where I live and there is not much opportunity right now in the job market. I think women who are not the main bread winner are finding that it is more financially beneficial to stay at home and cut down on expenses than work a low paying job. I would like to see more oportunities for unemployed women to get a better education. Maybe they are out there and I have not heard of them yet.

sandybar311 by sandybar311 | Anniston, AL
Nov 03, 2008

I was laid off 5 years ago when the company I worked for decided to shut down the division that I worked in. I had worked there for 23 years as an Executive Administrative Assistant. After my unemployment ran out my husband was relocated on his job. I made the decision at this time to stay at home. After about 4 years and needing to get out of the house I took a retail job a few nights a week for very low pay. Had my job not ended I would probably still be there today. I didn't make the decision to stay at home, my employer made it for me.

SkyeBlue by SkyeBlue | Mena, AR
Nov 01, 2008

I have been reading many stories online that with the economy the way it is, and the prices of EVERYTHING going up many women feel that instead of working and having to pay for daycare, higher gas prices to drive to and from work, the extra eating out, etc. that it can be easier for some of us to choose to stay home and begin to seriously budget to be able to live on one income. That is what my husband and I have chosen to do.

Beaniesmom by Beaniesmom | Brandon, FL
Nov 01, 2008

Women are being laid off from their jobs, not just chosing to 'leave the workforce". Layoffs in my part of the country are non-biased. Of course Mom's want to be home to raise their family, but the truth is that it now takes 2 incomes, and sometimes more, to pay the bills. Kwajgranny, YES, this is what congress has created. Yes they waste your money on this and more crap that you will hear about some time in the future. They are busy right now with bailouts and pay-offs. They hardly have time to make that vote to raise our taxes, they are busy sending jobs abroad, and putting you out of your home, and making sure those CEO's are financially sound...