The Economics of the Second Sex, 1974, page 6

Download: Transcript

Pages: 1 2 3 4 5 6 7 8 9 View All

Show transcript



 rn-nc, '1, -v‘.'«,- 9.4-V-.'v.> ,'-—-ans»; fir» «Q: '3»-"Ly!-£,“«~.,:I‘. 3-v.«',.o fir; ~l'« '5 .- Jr»

,.,.,..,.7,....v,,.y,,,~3¢p,_s,,4:«guu_r~ .~q.a-:."‘U"~'r u -. 1 ~29»

~..T,..,. ....:—v-.r-,  j



As an economist, I reailzed that the unemployment rate for married men
. ‘ ‘ 7' V I

could be deceptive; people could think the economy better off than it was. Further-
wore, it vould he used to justify economic policy that would be less appropriate
to the real circumstances. But along with continuous quotations of the unemployment
rate For married men came constant references to the increased number of working
women and ingenious efforts to reinterpret the nature of unemployment because
Women More inVnl\Pd. For example, the Secretary of the Treasury called it a
"social change,” explaining that because women formedrsuch a high proportion of
the labor force six percent unemployment was not critical, as it had been in
earlier years. And the Council of Economic Advisers recalculated all the numbers,
to show what unemployment would have been, if women had not gone to work in

. - I . -
the previous years. As a woman, these arguments annoyed me. I have to onfess that
my research interests, as an economist, were aroused by my emotional reactbn as
a woman.

Anyway, I did some extremely elementary analysis, pointing out the .

number of families (including grown men and children) dependent on women's earning,
and rchinding the Council of Economic Advisers that if women had not gone to
work in the previous years unemployment might have been lower but so would total
. p » R
production and income. I made a speech in Washington, pre—p1anned to attract
publicity, I wrote some articles and sent off reprintsato all kinds of public
figures and managed to stimulate quite a bit of comment. I caused some people
irritation and gained eonoideruble support from others. And the white House
has stopped using the rate of unemployment for married men as their chief indicator
in the monthly releases of data from the Labor Department.

But other results, totally uneppected to me, deal more specifically with the
s‘.ubject matter of this volume. In the first pl{l(‘(‘. l :u_-quirml'mt fmnu as
an expert on the labor force, which of course I am not at all. This showed me
how tremendously powerful n veg'small piece of research revealing hitherto

unknown facts about women could be. Next, my reputation as an authority 00 VOW?“

and the labor force somchow spilled over into other exnnnmix questions, economic


.. --..—~v