Women at Work

Source: U.S. Bureau of Labor Statistics, Spotlight on Statistics, March 2011

Until things slowly changed during the last century, women’s participation in the labor force was limited by traditional cultural, educational, and legal practices. Women’s work outside of home and marriage was restricted to a handful of occupations such as domestic service, factory work, farm work, and teaching. Over the past several decades, the women’s labor force in the United States and throughout the world has experienced many changes. Women’s labor force participation rates are significantly higher today than they were in the 1970s. Throughout that period, women have increasingly attained higher levels of education and experienced an increase in their earnings as a proportion of men’s earnings. In addition to highlighting the past, present, and future of women in the workforce, this Spotlight presents BLS data on the types of activities that women spend their time doing during an average week, how they choose to spend their hard-earned money, and the nature of fatal injuries in the workplace.

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