man-womenPhoto Credit: The Junia Project

History would lead many to believe that long gone are the days where dad went to work and mom stayed at home to watch the children and tend to the housework. Recent political protesting argues that there are many who still feel victimized by such a stigma even in 2017. According to research performed at Harvard University, the United States is one of a few countries that has not experienced an increase number of women working outside the home since 2000. A decrease in males in the workforce has been noted as a contributor to President Trump’s election with promises of more jobs and an economic stimulus for all. However, according to Betsey Stevenson, “the only reason anyone is talking about missing male workers is  because there’s so many missing female workers.” The question that remains is “where did all the workers go?”

The following chart details the US position compared with other countries of the percentage of working women outside the home.
untitledPhoto Credit: The New York Times

It would seem logical that a woman not working would be at home, potentially taking care of a family member or caring for her children. The ongoing female-male pay gap and need for a job that is not seen as “settling” for a person with potentially multiple degrees has easily been credited as the reasoning behind women staying home. Factor in lack of child care or family leave time it appears somewhat obvious that the number of women in the workforce is in constant fluctuation. As for the men, a combination of disability or previous criminal records can often make the search for a well paying job difficult. According to Nicholas Eberstadt, “hardly any men who have dropped out say it is because they are helping with children or family members.”

Has America really progressed in the practice of gender role diversity? Are women under represented in the workforce by socially constructed practices or their own choices?

Read Patricia Cohen’s full report here.