Single working women are the backbone for most professional organizations in America.
According to the Women in the Labor Force: 2015 Databook:
- 59% of women (over age 16) are employed
- 54.3% of employed women are unmarried (never married, other marital status, divorced, separated, widowed)
- Of the 67 million women employed in the U.S.— 74%of employed women worked on full-time jobs, while 26% worked on a part-time basis.
And in honor of National Single Working Women's Day, we wanted to dig into this a little bit more.
According to Hanna Rosin's "The End of Men and the Rise of Women," 2009 was the first year where the balance of the workforce "tipped toward women."
The senior editor at The Atlantic writes, "Women worldwide dominate colleges and professional schools on every continent except Africa. In the United States, for every two men who will receive a BA this year, for example, three women will do the same."
"Theoretically," she writes, "a twenty-seven- or twenty-eight-year-old woman with no children is at the top o the game. She is, on average, more educated than the men around her, and making more money." ("No children" is a key piece here and discussed below.)
What do you know about the American Matriarchy? In her book Rosin cites tech as one of the main reasons for the rise of the woman. "At some point in the last forty years," she writes, "the job market became largely indifferent to size and strength. Technology began to work against men, making certain jobs obsolete and making what economists call 'people skills,' ever more valuable. For the first time in history, the global economy is becoming a place where women are finding more success than men."
In Rebecca Traister's NY-Times best-seller, "All the Single Ladies: Unmarried Women and the Rise of an Independent Nation," she addresses Rosin's findings. "While some women are enjoying more educational, professional, sexual, and social freedom than ever before, many more of them are struggling, living in a world marked by inequity, disadvantage, discrimination, and property. It's crucial to unpack what's true and what's not true about female advancement--and single female advancement-- across classes, rich, poor, and in between."
One of those factors that cannot be ignored is single motherhood. The Times article, the Disestablishment of Marriage, reports that 60 percent of American women who have their first babies before thirty have them out of wedlock. Traister says that, "the economic ramifications of having children are of course felt most keenly by unmarried mothers; a staggering 42 percent of people in families headed by single mothers live below the poverty line."
But single women are upending tradition. And that's power. "Their growing presence has an impact on how economic, political, and sexual power is distributed between the genders." Single women overwhelmingly voted for President Barack Obama. Single women are changing the definition of family, which directly impacts social policy. "Women," writes Traister, "perhaps those who have lived untethered from the energy-sucking and identity-sapping institution of marriage in its older forms, have helped drive social progress of this country since it's founding."
Women living without marriage are more able to be both professionally and economically than ever before.
Cheers to you badasses. Today is your day.
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