Print Сite this

Declining Labor Force of Men and the Rising Labor Force Participation in Women


Increased participation of women in the labor force is caused by different factors and social changes that occurred during the 20th century. New economic, social and political ideologies allow women to become equal to men and understand their role in society. Following Claudia Goldin, this process can be explained as an evolution of old principles and a revolution of ideology dominated during the 15-19th centuries. The differentiation of men’s and women’s mobility patterns from class origins to current employment turns out to be much on the lines that, all other things being equal, we would expect from the pattern of sex segregation that their current employment displays. This being the case, it is clearly of interest to go on to ask if, in fact, all other things are equal–so that differences in objective opportunity structures can indeed be regarded as the sole source of variation in men’s and women’s mobility changes; or whether differences in underlying patterns of social fluidity, that is, in the association between class origins and current employment net of structural effects, are also in some degree involved.

We will write a
custom essay
specifically for you

for only $16.05 $11/page
308 certified writers online
Learn More

Better education and Evolution of Family

Increased participation of women in labor force is a result of better education and evolution of the institution of family. The availability of mandatory leaves, without a series of guarantees of reinstatement at the same or a comparable level and without benefit and seniority protection, often was little more than a superficial gesture. Moreover, such a policy meant that women were often required to leave work well before they wanted to or thought they needed to. At the same time, post-childbirth job protection was almost nonexistent. The lack of consistency in the meaning of a maternity leave or a personal leave is dramatized in the range of policies on job security for employees on leave (Blau et al 95, 127). Some firms guarantee the same or a comparable job, but the definition of comparability varies widely. At companies having a large number of outlets, the definition of a comparable job may include a different but geographically related store or restaurant. Some companies do not guarantee the same job but say that turnover is so high that employees are likely to get a similar job back if they wish it. Other firms state that if the employee is out only for a brief time, the job will be held but not beyond a specified maximum (four weeks; six weeks; sixty days; six months). Often the job guarantee time is shorter than the maximum unpaid leave that is permitted (Goldin 16). State temporary disability legislation does not always require that a job be held for an employee; the only requirement is that the company policy is the same for all employees in the same firm or state (Blau et al 102). Several insisted that to maintain a nondiscriminatory policy, personal leaves for child care or “adjustment” to parenthood had to be the same for men and women, and, therefore, should be limited to a maximum of three or four months; otherwise demands other leaves would become prohibitive. Others were quite comfortable with explicitly labeled maternity leaves, which tended to be of somewhat longer duration than other types of personal leave. The “mixed signal” problem is more complex. Cultural change and legal action should gradually make it possible for a parent to exercise the right to a leave without facing career penalties. However, the process can be slow, particularly in the midst of a slack labor market. “With more accurate expectations, they could better prepare by investing in formal education and they could assume positions that involved advancement. That is, they could plan for careers rather than jobs” (Goldin 2006, p. 5).


On this basis, women appear to be somewhat more mobile than men overall, once more an exception; but, more significantly, they are also more often downwardly mobile and show a lower ratio of upward to downward transition. So far as the class position of married women is concerned, what is here at issue can be illustrated if we consider the case of two such women who are in identical jobs as, let us say, part-time shop assistants, but with one being married to an unskilled manual worker, and the other to a business manager (Blau et al 130). )An exponent of the ‘individual’ approach, relying on a work-centered conception of class, is obviously required to treat these women as having the same class position; their husbands’ employment is irrelevant. A major change has indeed occurred with the decline in the practice of women withdrawing permanently from the labor market on marriage or after the birth of their first child; increasingly, women have returned to work following their years of ‘active motherhood’ or indeed for periods in between the births of children (Goldin 15). Thus, the possibility is in no way precluded that some inequality may exist within the general living standard of the household as between men and women–or, for that matter, as between persons in different age-groups; nor again that within decision-making processes some family members may be able to exert greater power than do others. Revolution in medicine and healthcare changed the labor opportunities of women. “One of the reasons for the increase in the age at first marriage was the introduction of the contraceptive “pill.” (Goldin 2006, p. 14).

Resources and Power Within Family

Indeed, far from being inattentive to differences in resources and power among family members, sociologists who would maintain the class unitary nature of the family have underlined precisely such differences in seeking to justify the practice they have most often adopted in empirical research: that of taking the class position of the conjugal family as following from that of its male ‘head’ (Blau et al 128). Women’s mobility chances are shown to be differentiated by class on much the same pattern as we have earlier found to be persistent and prevalent among men and even when women’s experience in marriage markets, as well as labor markets, are examined. In other words, inequalities of gender and of class are cross-cutting in such a way as to suggest that their effects at the level of socio-political consciousness and action are as likely to offset as to reinforce each other and, further, that they are created and maintained by largely different sets of factors (Goldin 18). Thus, as we have already argued, a convincing explanation of the gender inequalities that would appear a common feature of modern industrial societies will need to be developed for the most part outside the scope of class analysis; and, by the same token, the introduction of considerations of gender into the study of class inequalities will prove far less revelatory than it has of late been fashionable to suppose. The issue of equity is ever-present. For most working women, whether or not they have any kind of job and income protection at the time of childbirth is a function of where they live, where they work, whether or not they are married, and where their husbands work (Blau et al 129). Thus, women experiencing such conditions should qualify for the same benefits provided for any other disability. In other words, for social policy purposes, pregnancy and maternity are defined as disabilities. If job and income protection exist for any disability, maternity is covered in the same way; if such protection does not exist, employers are under no obligation to provide the benefit (Blau et al 95).


The women’s movement clearly has played an important role in improving the status of women, maternity and other family benefits have not been at the forefront of its agenda. Indeed, not even the inadequacy of child care services an issue working mothers have identified as the single most important problem they face in coping with work and family life was high on the agenda of the women’s movement until very recently. In some respects their broad goals have been more ambitious: an end to discrimination, achievement of equal rights and equal pay, and the end of occupational segregation. Their short-range targets have been more immediate, including particular attention to abortion rights and passage of the Equal Rights Amendment to the Constitution. Organized labor has not made these benefits a major cause despite the interests of a few female-intensive units and despite the growing numbers of their male members who have working wives.

Works Cited

Goldin, C. “The Quiet Revolution That Transformed Women’s Employment, Education, and Family,” American Economic Review, Papers and Proceedings, 2006.

Blau, F.D., Ferber, M. A., TWinkler, A. The Economics of Women, Men, and Work. Prentice Hall; 5 edition, 2005.

Get your
100% original paper
on any topic

done in as little as
3 hours
Learn More

Cite this paper

Select style


StudyCorgi. (2021, October 18). Declining Labor Force of Men and the Rising Labor Force Participation in Women. Retrieved from


StudyCorgi. (2021, October 18). Declining Labor Force of Men and the Rising Labor Force Participation in Women.

Work Cited

"Declining Labor Force of Men and the Rising Labor Force Participation in Women." StudyCorgi, 18 Oct. 2021,

1. StudyCorgi. "Declining Labor Force of Men and the Rising Labor Force Participation in Women." October 18, 2021.


StudyCorgi. "Declining Labor Force of Men and the Rising Labor Force Participation in Women." October 18, 2021.


StudyCorgi. 2021. "Declining Labor Force of Men and the Rising Labor Force Participation in Women." October 18, 2021.


StudyCorgi. (2021) 'Declining Labor Force of Men and the Rising Labor Force Participation in Women'. 18 October.

This paper was written and submitted to our database by a student to assist your with your own studies. You are free to use it to write your own assignment, however you must reference it properly.

If you are the original creator of this paper and no longer wish to have it published on StudyCorgi, request the removal.