Back in September, we reported on 7 to 10 million “missing men”–prime-aged workers who, according to several sources, have simply disappeared from the workplace. Now, Gallup reports that the numbers of female workers are also dwindling.
The percentage of female workers soared between 1975 and 2000 in parallel with the rise in women’s rights. According to Ms Magazine, laws passed in the 1970’s enabled women to
- Keep their jobs when pregnant
- Report sexual harassment
- Get credit cards in their own name
- Obtain a no-fault divorce
But, Gallup says, the study sponsored by the Federal Reserve Bank of St. Louis found that female workers’ participation peaked in 2000 at 59.9 percent. By the end of 2010, it was at 56.7 percent.
There is some good news behind that statistic: More women are in college, and more women are able to retire. But those don’t count for the entire difference.
As we’ve noted elsewhere, workforce participation is every bit as important as employment rates for the health and growth of the economy, although it gets far less attention.
And Gallup points out that women head 80 percent of single-parent families, which means that female workers have a major impact on the economic well-being of families.