It's Official at Last: Women Outnumber Men in US Workforce
800,000 more women than men on payrolls in January 2010
- The milestone has at last been cleared: More women than men were on payrolls in January 2010, according to US Labor Department statistics for the month.
- That month, there were 64.2 million women receiving a paycheck compared with 63.4 million men.
- The United States is hardly the first modern economy to achieve a female-majority work force — Canada passed the mark with nary a remark back in 2007 — and the inevitability of the shift has been clear for about a year.
- The immediate shift, as in Canada and elsewhere, is the result not so much of more women working than of more men having lost jobs and careers in the economic downturn. Also, the word payroll is critical: If farmworkers and the like are included, and especially if one counts full-time work or hours worked, US employment is still predominately male. We won’t even talk about pay or managerial ranks.
- But the change represents a culmination of at least two generations of women taking the work world by storm. And it isn’t going to stop by any means.
- The next milestone is a similarly bittersweet one: Women may soon become the majority of family breadwinners, given the number of long-term unemployed men and the ever-rising share of women-headed households.
- US society lags behind the true numbers, but some commentators see the shift as what will finally alter maternity leave policies, marketing and even the C-suite of businesses. It has already fundamentally affected consumer advertising and even how Americans eat.
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