How Women’s Economic Influence Has Grown in the Past 25 Years

How Women’s Economic Influence Has Grown in the Past 25 Years

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What’s that sound? Is it the tinkling of champagne glasses as we toast the 90th anniversary of the 19th Amendment? (Pssst — that’s the one granting women the right to vote.)

In light of this anniversary — or perhaps out of sheer coincidence — the U.S. Congress Joint Economic Committee has released one in a series of upcoming studies about the role women have played in the economy over the past 25 years or, to put it another way, since Geraldine Ferraro got her name on a national ticket and shattered a big ol’ political glass ceiling.

What did said study find?

More women than ever have become working girls: 59.2 percent of us are now in the labor force, as opposed to 53.6 percent in 1984. And we now represent 49.8 percent of the American workforce. That’s within spitting distance of 50 percent, ladies.

However, there is still that nagging pay gap: Women still only earn 80 cents on the dollar compared to men, and more of it than ever goes to help support our households. The wife’s income now comprises 36 percent of a family’s total income, as opposed to 29 percent in 1983.

Dual-income families are better off: Between 1983 and 2008, married couples with a working wife experienced average annual income growth of 1.12 percent, while married couples with stay-at-home wives saw their average annual incomes decline by 0.22 percent per year.

No mention, on that last one, of whether what families grossed factored in the cost of daycare or a housekeeper: It’s also known that working moms do an average of three hours of housework before they hit the office each day. But who’s counting?

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How Women’s Economic Influence Has Grown in the Past 25 Years

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