Helping Women Help Themselves, draft, 1971, page 2
-2- One thing we have done is marry. Most women (62%) are presently married and more than one family in ten is headed by a woman, a total of 5.6 million. Marriage and family responsibilities, however, has not kept women out of the work force. In one out of every three families, both the husband and wife work and 43% of all American women are now employed. There are more that 30 million women in the work force making up 38% of total labor. Thirty-nine per cent of women workers have children under 18. Most of the jobs done by women are extensions of the "services" done in the home. Three out of four clerical workers are women, who also make up 61% of [service] workers [exclusive] of private household employees. Although the number of women employed in these traditionally female occupations has increased significantly over the past 30 years, the proportion of women in professional and technical jobs has declined for the same period from 45% in 1940 to 37% in 1969. These statistics indicate that most educated American women are either not working, or working at tasks beneath their abilities and training. A typical pattern for an educated women is to work for a short time before marriage and children and then to suddenly realize, as her children gain independence, that she is too scared to begin doing anything about the half a lifetime that remains. All this adds up to waste. Ten or fifteen years devoted to motherhood may cost an individual her chance at personal fulfillment. And what may be even more important, it is denying society the expertise and potential contribution of what may be [hundreds] of thousands of educated people.