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95th Congress }
1st Session







SEPTEMBER 15, 1977

Printed for the use of the Joint Economic Committee


For sale by the Superintendent of Documents, U.S. Government Prlntlng Ofllce
Washington, D.C. 20402
Federal Reserve Bank of St. Louis

(Created pursuant to sec. 5(a) of Publlc Law 304, 79th Cong.)
RICHARD BOLLING, Missouri, Chairman
HUBERT H. HUMPHREY, Minnesota, Vice Chairman
HENRY S. REUSS, Wisconsin
GILLIS W. LONG, Louisiana
OTIS G. PIKE, New York
MARGARET M. ,HECKLER, Massachusetts

EDWARD M. KENNEDY, Massachusetts
WILLIAM V. ROTH, JR., Delaware

JOHN R. STARK, I!Ja,eoutive Director
KRAUTHOll'II' II, .A.aBiatant Director
RICHARD F. KAUFMAN, G-enerai Counaei


THOMAS F. !)!i)aNBtlllllr






HUBERT H. HUMPHREY, Minnesota, Ooohairman
LLOYD BENTSEN, Texas, Oochairman
WILLIAM V. ROTH, JR., Delaware
Federal Reserve Bank of St. Louis

MARGARET M. HECKLER, Massachusetts

SEPTEMBER 12, 1977.
To the Members of the Joint Economic Committee:
Transmitted herewith is a compendium of papers entitled "American Women Workers in a Full Employment Economy." This compendium was prepared :for the use of the Economic Growth and Stabilization Subcommittee.
These papers supplement testimony at hearings of the Joint Economic Committee on economic problems of women held in July of
1973 under the chairmanship of the Honorable Martha Griffiths. Since
then, the influx of women into the American laJbor force has accelerated and their progress toward economic quality with men has risen
still higher on the national agenda. Today, more than ever before, the
formulation of national economic policy requires both a stronger data
base on women's employment, and a broader consensus on how to maximize their further contributions to the U.S. economy. I believe that
these papers will be helpful to the members of the Joint Economic
Committee and other Members of Congress in their assessment of these
critical issues.
The 22 experts~conomists, lawyers, sociologists, educators-who
contributed to the compendium were selected and their views edited
and summarized 'by Ann Foote Cahn, consultant. The views expressed
in these papers are those of the authors, and do not necessarily represent th~ views of committee members or the committee staff.
Chairman, Joint Eaonomw Committee.
SEPTEMBER 7, 1977.
Chairman, Joint E conomia Committee,
U.S. Congress,
Washington, D.C.
DEAR MR. CHAIRM,A.N: Transmitted herewith is a compendi11m of
papers entitled "American Women Workers in a Full Employment
Economy." This compendium of papers was prepared for the use of
the Subcommittee on Economic Growth and Stabilization in its inveEtigation o:f structural labor :force problems.
In July 1973, the Joint Economic Committee; under tJhe chairmanship of the Honorable Martha Griffiths, heard testimony on the
"Economic Problems of Women." In the interim, the influx of women
into the American labor :force has accelerated and their progress toward economic equality with men has become an item o:f :far greater
Federal Reserve Bank of St. Louis



national importance. Today, more than ever, the formulation of national economic policy requires a stronger data base for women's
employment and a 'broader consensus on how to maximize their further
-contributions to the U.S. economy. We believe that this compendium
has initiated this search for more information across numerous vital
areas. The collected studies encompass topics ranging from structural
job discrimination, underemployment, part-time work, education and
career training, tax treatment of working wives, to international experience in meeting the needs of working women.
Twenty-two experts-economists, lawyers, sociologists, educatorswere invited to contribute to this compendium. These authors were
selected and their views edited and summarized by Ann Foote Cahn,
consultant. We are indebted to the authors for giving so generously
of their time and to Ms. Cahn for her supervision. The project was
developed under the direction of Sarah Jackson of the committee
staff, with the assistance of M. Catherine Miller, also of the committee
staff. The views expressed in these papers are those of the authors and
do not necessarily represent the views of subcommittee members or the
committee staff.
Oochairman, SubcOW171Jittee on
Economic Growth and Stabilization.
SEPTEMBER 1, 1977.
Oochairman, Subcommittee on Eoonomic Growth am,d Stabilization,
Joint Eoonomio Oommittee, U.S. Oongress, Washington, D.O.
DEAR SENATOR HUMPHREY: Transmitted herewith is a compendium
of papers entitled "American Women Workers in a Full Employment
Economy." This compendium of papers was prepared for the use of
the .Subcommittee on Economic Growth and Stabilization.
The Joint Economic Committee has involved itself with the economic problems of women since July of 1973 when hearings were held
under the chairmanship of Martha Griffiths. These problems have
become more complex over time and the steadily increasing number
of women coming into the labor force has focused more attention on
this phenomenon. It has become increasingly apparent that national
economic policy for full employment cannot be developed without
incorporating a solution to both the problem and the potential of
women in the labor force.
For these reasons, we believe that the first step in policy development
is a greater understanding on women's labor force participation,
their economic progress and supportive social programs. We believe
that this compendium has initiated this search for more information
in a number of vital areas. The collected studies encompass topics
ranging from structural jol:;> discrimination, underemployment, parttime work, education and career training, tax treatment of working
wives, to international experience meeting the needs of working
Federal Reserve Bank of St. Louis


Twenty-two experts-economists, lawyers, sociologists, educatorswere invited to contribute to this compendium. These authors were
selected and their views edited and summarized by Ann Foote Cahn,
consultant. We are indebted to the authors for giving so generously
of their time and to Ms. Cahn for her supervision. The project was developed under the direction of Sarah Jackson of the committee staff,
with the assistance of M. Catherine Miller, also of the committee staff.
The views expressed in these papers are those of the authors and do
not necessarily represent the views of subcommittee members or the
committee staff.
Federal Reserve Bank of St. Louis

Ewecutive Director, Joint E oonomio Oomnnittee.
Federal Reserve Bank of St. Louis

Letters of transmittal______________________________________________


Summary-By Ann Foote Cahn_____________________________________



Women's stake in full employment: Their disadvantaged role in the
economy-Challenges to action-By Mary Dublin Keyserling__________
On the way to full equality-By Isabel V. Sawhill_______________________



The homemaker, the family, and employment-By Nona Glazer, Linda
Majka, Joan Acker, and Christine Bose____________________________
Economic aspects of child care-By Myra H. Strober__________________
Part-time work-By Carol S. Greenwald__________________________



FaA~\!t~ :lftchcll:~o!_~~~!- ~~ -~-~~~~-:~~~!~ _c_~~~~ -~~~~~:i~~~~:
Vocational education-By Pamela Ann Roby _________________________ _
Apprenticeship-By Norma Briggs __ -------------------------------V.



The legal road to equal employment opportunity: A critical view-By
Mary C. Dunlap________________________________________________
Legal remedies beyond title VII to combat sex discrimination in employment-By Marcia Greenberger and Diane Gutmann_________________
De facto job segregation-By Barbara B. Reagan_____________________
Women workers, nontraditional occupations and full employment-By
Beatrice G. Reubens and Edwin P. Reubens_______________________
Underemployment of women: Policy implications for a full employment
economy-By Gerald P. Glyde___________________________________
Lifetime participation in the labor force and unemployment among
mature women-By Steven H. Sandell_____________________________




Federal income tax and social security law-By Grace Ganz Blumberg_____
The impact of mass-media stereotypes upon the full employment of
women-By Gaye Tuchman______________________________________



Working women: European experience and American need-By Alice
H. Cook_______________________________________________________
Federal Reserve Bank of St. Louis





Joan Acker ______________________________________________________ _
Grace Ganz Blumberg ____________________________________________ _
Christine Bose __ -------------------------------------------------Mary C. Dunlap _________________________________________________ _
Nona Glazer
_____________________________________________________ _
GeraldP. Glyde _________________________________________________ _
Marcia Greenberger ______________________________________________ _
Carol S. Greenwald_______________________________________________ _
Diane Gutmann __________________________________________________ _
Mary Dublin
Keyserling ___ ---------------------------------- _____ __
Majka ____________________________________________________
Anita M. Mitchell ________________________________________________ _
Barbara B. Reagan _______________________________________________ _
Beatrice G. Reubens ______________________________________________ _
Edwin P. Reubens ________________________________________________ _
Pamela Ann Roby ________________________________________________ _
Steven H. Sandell ___ ---------------------------------------------Isabel V. Sawhill ________ ---------------------------- _____________ _
H. Strober
_----------------------------- ___________________ __
Gaye Tuchman
Federal Reserve Bank of St. Louis









I. Overview ___________ ------------------------------------------

A. Status of women workers________________________________
B. Macroeconomic and microeconomic policies________________
II. Overcoming barriers___________________________________________
A. Legal action against sex-based discrimination in employment_
B. Increasing access to nontraditional jobs___________________
C. Underemployment ___ ---------------------------------D. Special problems of mature women_______________________
E. Minoritywomen_______________________________________
F. Teenagers_____________________________________________
III. Support services and adjusted conditions_________________________
A. The homemaker, the family and employment: Some interrelationships_________________________________________
B. Economic aspects of child care___________________________
C. Part-timework________________________________________
D. Maternal and other health needs_________________________
IV. Education and work___________________________________________
A. Career education_______________________________________
B. Vocational education ___ -------------------------------C. Apprenticeship_________________________________________
D. Higher education_______________________________________
V. Key factors: Tax treatment and media images____________________
A. Impac~ ?f t!J.e tax system and social security on labor force
part1c1pation ___ ------------------------------------B. Effects of mass media stereotypes on women's employment__




Consideration of proposals for a national policy of full employment
has led to an increasing awareness that insufficient attention has heretofore been given to the role of women workers and potential workers.
In seeking to correct this relative lack of attention, a growing body of
economic literature, of which this compendium is a part, has sought to
spotlight the past, present, and foreseeable job role of American
women, and those factors responsible for change. But events in the
form of women's own activity-thei,r extraordinary influx into the
labor market-have outdistanced theory and intensified the need for
more up-to-date understanding.
The single most outstanding phenomenon of our century [is the huge number
of women who are entering the work force.] Its long term implications are ab•
solutely unchartable in my opinion. It will affect women. men and children and
the cumulative consequences of that will only be revealed in the 21st and 22nd
century (Eli Ginzberg).1
*Consultant to the committee.
Mr. Ginzberg ls Chairman of the National Commission for Manpower Polley and
Columbia University economist. New York Times, Sept. 12, 1976, p. 1.
Federal Reserve Bank of St. Louis



Even the short-range consequences of women's massive entry into
the work force are only beginning to be understood and addressed by
society. The root causes of the phenomenon have become clearer, if only
in retrospect: the psychological revolution in women's attitude toward
themselves, toward men, and toward women's role in society; the
change in women's lifestyles, as evidenced by their later age of marriage and childbirth, as well as reduction of the size of family; the
desire of married women and men to have two incomes so as, in the case
of many couples, to enjoy at least minimal living standards, and in the
case of other couples, to achieve more comforts and conveniences; and
the increase of separation and divorce, forcing women to be selfsupporting.
W'ith so many antecedents, it is not surprising that women's aspirations generate profound pressures of both a quantitative and qualitative nature for increased and improved job opportunities. These pressures are substantial in an economy which has set a limited goal of reducing unemployment somewhat below mid-1970's levels. For an economy that raises its sights to the achievement of full employment, the
pressures become still stronger, more complex, and pervasive. Thus,
the relationship tends to be reciprocal: women seeking job opportunity
and equality urge a national policy of full employment in order to attain their economic goals, and for men to do likewise; once such a national policy is declared, it cannot be fully realized without upgrading
women's lagging role in the job market.
The goal of this compendium is to view women's overall role in a full
employment economy and then their particular problems in fulfilling
that role. It begins with an overview by two economists; then continues
with 15 chapters by economists, lawyers, educators, and other scholars,
arranged in five sections: Overcoming barriers; support services and
adjusted conditions; education and employment; Key factors: tax
treatment and media images; and international comparisons. In the
description which follows, the views of the authors in the compendium
have been summarized with only limited interpolation in the inte,rest
of communicating directly the tone and substance of their respective
A. Status of Women Workers
Essential to setting future national policy is an awareness as to
women's current status in the labor market: why they work, what occupations and industries they work in, problems they encounter, and
remedies that might help resolve the problems.
As of December 1976, 39 million women aged 16 and over were in
the labor force. The proportion of the labor force between the ages of
18 to 64 who were women reached 56 percent. During the past quarter
of a century, while the total labor force ~rew by about 31 million,
women constituted more than three-fifths of the increase. In every age
group, the proportion of women who are working has steadily risen.
Particularly notable, the rate for married women with husbands
present and with children under the age of 18 increased nearly 2½
times during 1950-75, while for those with children under the age
of 6, the rate more than tripled.
Women's entry into the labor market has been facilitated by growth
of the economy, and of service jobs in particular, but it has not been
Federal Reserve Bank of St. Louis


achieved without difficulties. Unemployment among women has consistently averaged higher than for men during the past 30 years. In
1975 women's unemployment hit a post-World War II -peak of 9.3
percent;' it averaged 8.6 percent during 1976. Comparable figures for
men were 7.9 percent and 7 percent, respectively. With substantial
unemployment among both males and females, family incomes decline,
poverty increases, public revenues drop and the Nation utilizes fewer
resources to meet the needs of men, women, and children.
Women are motivated by a new set of aspirations and needs in their
efforts to achieve equality with men. Economic independence is a basic
goal for women. Psychological rewards are the "pull" behind their
desire to work. Women-like men-gain increased self-reliance and
confidence, have more power to influence events, and enjoy the satisfaction that comes from contributing their talents to the world at
large. New social and economic realities are the "push" behind
women's need for employment. In 1975, 42 percent of women workers
were single, widowed, sepa·rated, or divorced and needed to support
themselves and their dependents. An additional 28 percent were married to men who earned less than $10,000 a year. A new sociocultural
pattern has emerged : in 49 percent of all marriages, both spouses
were working, as of 1975. Once employed, women are likely to want to
continue working. A sample of employed women were asked whether
they would continue to work for pay even if there were no economic
necessity; 59 percent answered yes.
Because women are concentrated in a relatively few low-paying occupations and remain at the lower rungs of the job ladder, they continue to earn far less money than men; they earn less than 60 percent
of men's earnings. For many years, the median earnings differential
on the basis of sex was attributed in large measure to the discontinuity
in women's employment. While this was a major factor in earlier
years, when a large percentage of working women left the labor force
after marriage to have children, the discontinuity of women's employment has decreased in recent years. There is markedly less difference
in the worklife expectancy of the two sexes today.
B. 11!acroeconomic and Microeconomic Pol-icies
The Employment Act of 1946 set forth a mandate "to promote
maximum employment, production, and purchasing power." "Maximum employment" presumably means employment of those who want
to work, and applies equally to men and women. "Maximum production" can be construed to mean that people of both sexes should be
able to work in jobs where they will be most productive.
Even under the limited goals of the 1946 act, assessment of the
intention of women to enter and remain in the job market has become
essential to optimal economic planning. But the Bureau of Labor
Rtatist,ics has consistently underestimated the growth in the female
labor force: in 1973, the BLS projected a participation rate for women
in 1980 that was already exceeded in 1974. Accurate prediction and
planning are particularly important to women's employment prospects, which may be a:ffe.cted by future macroeconomic policy even
more than men's prospects.
Federal Reserve Bank of St. Louis

For instance, the latest Government figures indicate that women,
teenagers, and blacks have benefited least from the decline in unemployment over the past 2 years, and experienced male workers have
benefited the most. While the decline was approximately 40 percent
among experienced workers, it was far less £or new entry and reentry
workers, primarily women and youth. Decline was 25 percent for fulltime workers, only 7 percent for those seeking part-time work, again
primarily women, and 12 percent for teenagers.1a
What would be the effect on women's employment if a Full Employment Act were passed and fully implemented i A proponent, Mary
Dublin Keyserling, projects that reducing unemployment to 4 percent by mid-1981 would add about 9 million job holders to the labor
force over and above the number employed in 1976.
An estimated 60 to 65 percent of these jobs would be available to women,
for women represent a very large part of the reservoir of potential workers on
which a fully growing economy can draw. Unemployment among women, both as
recorded officially and hidden, would be reduced far more percentagewise than
among men. Welfare outlays would diminish sharply, for many women now on
public assistance would want employment and would be able to obtain it.
Healthy rates of economic growth would also encourage wage gains for these
now earning sub-subsistence wages, the majority of whom are women.

Would these sanguine projections be accompanied, it may be asked,
by some adverse consequences for both men and women~ Would further intervention by the Federal Government in the job market, entailing increased Federal spending and taxation, lead to a rising price
spiral, an expensive rise in public employment and harmful dislocations in the private economy, as opponents counted
Answers to these questions would require a definitive evaluation of
full employment policy, per se, as it relates to all segments of the
economy. For purposes of the present compendium, the focus is necessarily more limited-to consider some of the implications of future
policy and, at this point, to examine job problems of women under
present and past national policy.
To maintain economic equilibrium between inflation and unemployment, Isabel V. Sawhill suggests that national policy should not rely
solely on fiscal and monetary policies. She supports a selective set of
employment or income (wage-price) policies. On the employment side,
these measures would target programs at those groups which have
above average unemployment-women, teenagers, and minorities.
With the possible exception of the latter, these groups have a common
characteristic of a lack of recent labor market experience. In helping
to overcome women's problems of transition from school or home to
work, a broad variety of measures are needed: Te provide new skills
or upgrade old skills, to end job discrimination and to provide support services for homemakers.
Nationwide job policies should take into account the local and
regional variation in both the number of jobs available and the number of jobs desired. On the demand side, women's participation in the
labor force varies widely by State and by urban, suburban and rural
sections. The chief but not sole cause of disparities in participation is
the vwriation on the supply side, that is, differences in the local availability of jobs. A further factor on the demand side is the variation in projections of employment_ growth by regions for 1970---1985;

"Jobs Rise Helps Males Most," the Washington Star (May 8, 1977), p. A5.
Federal Reserve Bank of St. Louis

the range in growth rates is from a low of 21 percent in New England
to 38 percent in the far west. In addition, projections of the occupational composition of employment in the future reveal disparities
between the likely developments in specific job openings and the preparation and wishes of both men and women.
There follow now the principal findings and recommendations by
the compendium authors ori selective problems experienced by women.


Although the Nation is committed by law to job equality between men and women, there is still a wide gap between the goal
and its fulfillment. Legal enforcement of programs against discrimination lags; other impediments to equality-economic, cultural, psychological-persist. De facto occupational segregation
still restricts an overwhelming number of women to a narrow
range of low-paying, dead-end jobs which are traditionally "female." Underemployment is more. characteristic of the female
than of the male work force. Mothers' and homemakers' intermittent entry and reentry into the job market is penalized instead of
assisted by society. Mature women face special problems in resuming a role in the labor force and would benefit from specialized
support measures.
A. Legal Action Against Sex-Based Discrimination in Employment
Equal employment opportunity-without regard to sex-will
not be achieved until judicial decisions more fully implement the
provisions of title VII of the U.S. Civil Rights Act of 1964 and
other laws and regulations against sex-based discrimination, and
the responsible administrative authorities more adequately enforce the antidiscrimination provisions within their jurisdiction.
After more than a decade of title VII litigation involving sex
discrimination in employment, widespread patterns of stratification,
underutilization and disparate compensation continue throughout the
Nation's work force. One indicator as to the inadequacy of legal remedy is that from 1965 to 1975, only 13 percent of all sex discrimination
court cases were awarded "class relief." This is despite the fact that
such,relief is supposed to be awarded under title VII whenever a policy
or practice has harmed a protected group by discrimination, necessitating relief to the class to make it whole. While deciding numerous
cases concerning racial discrimination claims under title VII, the U.S.
Supreme Court had decided but one case concerning a sex discrimination claim under title VII, as o:f Decemb'er 1976.
During the past decade, in Federal District and Appelate Courts,
express exclusionary policies have been repeatedly deemed to violate
title VII, but subtler forms of sex discrimination and those based on
statistical demonstrations of disparate treatment of women have received less even treatment by Federal courts. Mary C. Dunlap contends that, with some exceptions, "judicial standards governing disposition of sex discrimination cases have diverged substantially from
standards developed in race discrimination cases under title VII," i.e.,
a double standard is being :followed. She feels that an overall improvement in the courts could be fostered by affirmative action in Federal
Federal Reserve Bank of St. Louis

judicial appointments, to help overcome the disproportionate underrepresentation of women. (In 1975, the Federal bench had more than
600 judges. Just six of those judges, including 1 black, were women.)
Over and above title VII, there are a number of other Federal prohibitions against sex discrimination in employment, including the
Equal Pay Act of 1963 (EPA), Executive Order 11246, and title IX
of the Education Amendments Act of 1972. Despite various difficulties, major gains have come from private citizens bringing direct
lawsuits. In contrast, Government agencies appear to lack commitment
and are found to be inadequately enforcing the sex discrimination
laws and regulations for which they are responsible, such as EPA and
Executive Order 11246.
Under the Equal Pay Act, which is concerned with discrimination
in compensation only, the ·wage and Hour Division of the Department of Labor can conduct investigations of employers' compliance
with the Act, whether or not an employee makes a complaint. Although the Division's actions to date have Been limited, the large sums
of money found due to thousands of women, as for example in the
American Telephone and Telegraph case, indicate the pervasive nature
of sex discrimination in wage rates. As in the case of the Equal Employment Opportunity Commission,2 which administers title VII, the
ba<'k1og of EPA cases awaitin~ action is unduly large.
Executive Order 11246 prohibits Federal contract funds from going
to employers who discriminate in their employment policies and practices. One of its strong advantages is that it requires contractors to
develop affirmative action plans. Its disadvantage is that, unlike tit]e
VII and EPA, individuals cannot sue directly, but must rely on the
Office of Federal Contract Compliance, or one of the 11 Federal contract compliance agencies, to investigate complaints filed. The Government Accounting Office (GAO), which :recently reviewed the enforcement efforts under this Exooutive order, has :found them seriously
ineffective. Virtually no Federal funds have been terminated because
of sex discrimination practices.
Enforcement of title IX, which prohibits sex discrimination in
employment or student programs or policies of educational institutions
receiving Federal funds, also has been found by the GAO to be
seriously inadequate. Since the Government is not carrying out its
function, the effectiveness of title IX may hinge on whether individuals
and groups can sue schools directly; several pending court cases will
determine the answer to this question.
Early passage of the Equal Rights Amendment by the three additional States necessary to assure constitutional ratification is urged
by Keyserling. Although it is difficult to foresee all the effects of a
constitutional amendment, proponents of ERA feel that it will have
a strong salutory effect, if only because of the psychological message
it will carry-that is, sex-based discrimination must be eradicated.
On the congressional front, equal rights advocates seek to undo the
decision of December 6, 1976, by the Supreme Court which struck
down a lower court ruling that General Electric Co.'s exclusion of
pregnancy and childbirth from disability income and sick pay violated
• See, for example, "The EEOC Has Made Limited Progress in Eliminating Emplo:vment
DiscriminatiO!," a report to the Senate Committee on Labor and Public Welfare (Washington, D.C.: 1.:.teneral Accounting Office, October 1976).
Federal Reserve Bank of St. Louis

title VII of the Civil Rights Act of 1964, as written. Proponents of corrective legislation regard it as essential in order to close what they view
to be a large loophole opened by the Supreme Court in title VII's
prohibition against sex-based discrimination. If, £or purposes of disability insurance or sick pay, pregnancy is treated any difierently
than a man's elective medical decision, proponents feel the result is
to legitimize discrimination against women.
The insurance industry pomts out that if pregnancy expenses were
uniformlv covered, the resultant costs would be about 6 percent more
than is currently being spent for disability income and sick pay plans.
These costs would be borne directly and indirectly by both men and
B. Increasing Access to Nontraditional Jobs

Countermeasures are suggested against what is regarded as
women's de facto job segregation in traditional jobs-a condition
which limits women's economic and psychological satisfactions
and lowers the total economic product of society.
Forty percent of employed women are still concentrated in 10
traditional fields-secretary, retail trade salesworker, bookkeeper,
private household worker, elementary schoolteacher, waitress, typist,
cashier, sewer/stitcher and registered nurse. In those 10 fields, women
comprise 80 percent or more of the workers, except for retail trade
sales personnel, where they make up 69 percent. Male employment
shows much less concentration, with less than 20 percent of male
workers in the 10 largest occupations. The tendency of women to
cluster in a few selected occupations contributes to overcrowding,
which in turn is a factor in relatively low wages.
A. common characteristic of these occupations is that, with the exception of bookkeepers, teachers and registered nurses, they require comparatively little training; with easy entry, supply tends to exceed
demand. A. first step toward ending overconcentration is to improve
guidance counseling and widen the range of job training. These
efforts will not in themselves alter de facto job segregation; barriers
may persist against women's entry into other fields.
Even in traditional "female" occupations, there is a lack of :promotion opportunities. One study noted that two-thirds of all jobs m New
York City municipal hospitals do not have educational or training
requirements for entry, but neither do they have promotional possibihties. Analysis of 270 labor market segments in the occupationalindustry matrix showed that only 38 had a considerable proportion
of their jobs organized for promotion based on on-the-job training.
Few of the 38 had many women employees.
A view of overall trends among the Nation's occupations does show
that occupational segregation i1:1 beginning to give way-slowly. The
rate of growth of women workers in occupations characterized as male
intensive (75 percent or more of employment in the occupation is male)
has been faster than in women's employment as a whole. But female
entry has often occurred in shrinking or dying occupations which men
no longer want. Among blue collar and lower level occupations where
women have made large gains in their share, total and male employment have either been declining or increasing quite slowly.
Federal Reserve Bank of St. Louis


In certain occupations where there is "sluggish" overall growth, with
the number of male jobs increasing, if only slightly, the female proportion has risen, but the outlook for future growth of the field itself is
limited. This includes such fields as upholsterers, furniture finishers,
bartenders, recreation attendants, and lumber inspectors.
Strong growth of female employment in male intensive occupations
is closely associated with rapid expansion of total employment m these
managers rose approximately 2,000 percent between 1960 and 1974; the
female share of employment rose from 9 percent to 21 percent.
Women moving from female intensive to male intensive jobs do earn
more money than formerly, but tend not to earn the same amount of
money as the men who are doing identical work. Thus, opening nontraditional jobs to women will not, of itself, lead to equalized earnings.
Nor do all women want nontraditional jobs. Rather, the individual
woman will make her choices based not only on I?ay, but on job satisfaction, educational background, working conditions, stability of employment, prestige, husband's type of employment and other factors.
For better educated women, the minimal goal of equal access to and
participation in suitable jobs is still to be achieved. In male-dominated
professions such as law, medicine, and accounting, the proportion of
women has increased only slightly.
Occupational segregation is more likely to persist if full employment is not achieved.
Unless there is a much closer approximation to full employment, the failure
to satisfy the demand for jobs in numerical terms will preclude any serious
effort on the desegregation front, i.e., to provide the types of jobs which will
meet the demand for greater similarity in the occupational distribution of men
and women. (Beatrice G. Reubens and Edwin P. Reubens.)

0. Underemployment
The reduction of widespread underemployment, with its waste
of human resources, will require governmental policies which enable women to obtain jobs that match their abilities and skills.
Underemployment is defined as:
A.n involuntary employment condition where workers are in jobs, either parttime or full-time, in which their skills, including formal and work experience
training, are technically underutilized and thus undervalued relative to those
of other individuals of similar ability who have made equivalent investments
in skill development. (Gerald P. Glyde.)

There is no adequate measure of underemployment at the present
Employers' inaccurate perceptions :and imperfect labor market information may contribute tto bias against hiring women workers for
jobs appropriate to their abilities. Employers may choose not to hire
women based on an over-generalization as to women's weaker attachment to the la;bor force. The fact that many women do interrupt their
job continuity does not constitute a justification for prejudice by an
employer ~gainst all women. A women or number of women applying
for a particular vacancy may have as strong or stronger labor force
attachment than a particular male applicant or applicants.
Internal or within-firm hiring and promotion may likewise be based
on_ employer misperceptions. Even though they may have equivalent
skills, women "outsiders" competing with men "insiders" for job
Federal Reserve Bank of St. Louis


vacancies above the entry level may tend to have their ability discounted. Women within a firm may also be discounted because of an
employer's continued misconception of their anticipated "quit rate"
and because of occupational segregation.
Four other factors contributing to underemployment are: The lack
of suitable part-time work; intermittent home and family duties, which
can result not only in a decrease of skills, but in women's loss of confidence to compete for jobs; the customary primacy of a husband's
career, which may necessitate women's geographic moves; credentialism, although there have been few validations of a correlation between
credentials and job performance.
Because of women's concentration in a more limited number of educational courses and occupations, and because of the increased entry of
women into the labor market, they are less able to compete effectively as the demand for a given skill ebbs. Women ( and men as well)
become caught by the time-lag between the period that the market
signals a decline m a :particular type of job and the time that college
students ( or other tramees) begin to shift away from that particular
career choice. Women who are already employed are less able to transfer to new fields because of job segregation, and they are less likely
than men to invest in retraining because women's return on that investment will be smaller.
Recommendations for remedying women's underemployment tend
to be the same or similar to those recurrently proposed throughout the
compendium as remedies for a host of other problems--women's unemployment, inadequate access to vocational education, and apprenticeship, etc.:
1. A full employment economy.-Employers, finding it more difficult to hire qualified males, would turn to women and qualified minorities, and in doing so, would become more knowledgeable about women's
work performance.
2. Enforcement of antidiscrimination laws in hiring and promotion.-Screening procedures which are genuinely related to job performance should be differentiated from those which are prejudicially
3. lmproved labor market information.-This includes (a) more refined methods of forecasting demand and supply, so as to assure a
better match between workers and jobs, and ( b) improved identification of new and emerging occupations and more insight into the link
between occupations and the transferability of skills.
4. Gender-neutral career orientation.-Counseling in the classroom
from ea-rliest school years on helps to improve women's awareness of
the world of work.
5. Incre(J)Jed on-the-job training to prepare workers for vertical job
mobility.-One aspect is cooperative education, which combines work
experience and formal education.
6. Paraprofessionalism.-Relaxing rigid work rules enables individuals who lack graduate or postgraduate education to acquire skills
to perform subprofessional duties under careful supervision.
7. More and better part-time jobs.-This is particularly important
for professional and skilled women workers. Handicapped and older
workers, as well, would benefit from shorter and more flexible work
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D. Special Problems of lvfature Women

Specific governmental policies are necessary to meet the employment problems of mature women, whose years of family responsibilities may entail a pattern of intermittent job entry, withdrawal,
and reentry.
Mature women who have been out of the job market :for a number
of years face a particularly severe problem in finding suitable work.
These women include: (a) Mothers who prior to raising children may
never have been in the work :force at all, or for only a :few years; ( b)
those :forced by a:brupt circumstance&-divorce, separation, desertion,
de1ath of spouse-to support themselves. When a woman suddenly becomes head of a family, the economic burdens may be overwhelming.
The Jong range effects pervade American life. In 1975, 17 percent of
children under 18 lived in a single parent home; 9 out of every 10 of
these children lived with their mothers; 44 percent of these femaleheaded :families were poor.
The increasing number of divorces makes more and more women
economically vulnerable, particularly because almost half of those
eligible for child support or alimony never receive it. Of those who do
receive financial support, the mean amount meets only about half of a
family's subsistence ( that is, poverty level) needs. Only about 3 percent of all eligible female-headed families receive sufficient child
support and alimony alone to put them over the official poverty level
for their size family.
Both mature and younger women's difficulties in finding gainful
employment under such conditions may have their origins in decisions
they made long before marriage. From precareer on, women tend to
underestimate their future labor force participation and to undercommit themselves to formal and on-the-job training. Black women are
considerably more realistic than white women in anticipating their
future labor participation, but young women of all races need substantially more guidance in preparing for their future lives.
When a mature woman seeks reentry, she may confront biases against
age, which a mature man also may face. But her problems are compounded by the fact thait if she has been a homemaker, some of her
skills are likely to have depreciated during years out of the job market,
and she may have been unde,rtrained to begin with.
One way by which Government could assist reentry is by encouraging women to use the public employment service more fully, and to
direct that such services re,ach out more effectively to women. Currently, only 29 percent of women, compared with 37 percent of men,
use State employment services. Another method of assisting reentry
is by means of a retraining subsidy, which could be funded from the
unemployment compensation fund; this method has been used in some
European countries for many years.
One type of assistance contemplated under displaced homemaker
programs in 26 States aims ,at providing education, retraining, counseling and other jOlb services for special groups of mature women, such
as the divorced, widowed and separated. A pilot program is now being
conducted in Oakland, Calif., under a 2-year State grant of $200,000.
The program is geared toward the homemaker who has lost financial
support, is too young for financial aid, or too old or unskilled to find
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work readily. Through workshops, the creation of on-the-job training
opportunities, validation of volunteer work and contact with potential
employers, the Alliance of Displaced Homemakers is helping many
women become financially independent.
Other services to homemakers also bear consideration. One possibility is Sawhill's suggestion that husbands with homemaking wives
might contribute to State unemployment compensation funds. Another
is Grace Ganz Blumberg's social security proposal-to credit one-half
of the husband's social security contribution to the homemaker wife's
account. Either protection could be a valuable buffer against poverty
of the homemaker who becomes "displaced" before or after 65.
Some European countries give broad categories of women, such as
homemakers, mothers and mature women, preferential treatment in
counseling, testing, training on-the-job and in the classroom, grantsin-aid for schooling, job placement and other services to help them
secure suitable employment. Such aid, somewhat similar to veterans'
preferance in the United States, may include subsidies for training,
books, relocation, entrance fees, maintenance costs, meals, and sometimes housing and family allowances.
Sweden's training program for women is particularly noteworthy.
It is based on a government decision to cease recruiting foreign workers in favor of training and employing married Swedish women seeking to enter the labor market. Housewives who want to work report
to their local labor office and are enrolled as unemployed; they are
then entitled to unemployment benefits, counseling and testing services, which usually result in referral to training programs, with accompanying subsidies.

E. Minority Women
Minority women, facing heavier economic burdens than white
women, may need assistance in coping with their added employment, unemployment, and underemployment problems.
Minority women are under greater pressure to be wage earners than
white women, because minority men who are family heads have an
average income that is lower than white men who head families. These
men also have had about twice the rate of unemployment that white
male family heads have had throughout the post World War II period.
Black female-headed households are more numerous than white. Minority women are even more heavily concentrated in a handful of lowpaying service occupations than white women. Most critical of all, the
recorded unemployment rate of minority women was 79 percent higher
than among white women, averaging 9.3 percent a year during the past
quarter century.
Some improvements have occurred in the employment condition of
minority women. The wage gap between nonwhite and white women
is almost closed. Measured in 1975 dollars, the earnings of nonwhite
women for year-round, full-time work increased nearly sixfold from
1969 to 1975. More ·advances can be expected in the future. Length of
education for minority and white women is now almost identical.
But the quality of educatfon of black women (and men) as compared
with that afforded white women (and men) is still an important factor in determining their respective life-long attainments. Very much
in black women's favor is the realistic recognition of the likelihood
that they will be working most of their adult lives.
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F. Teenagers
Teenage females, especially minorities, experiencing the highest
unemployment rate of any group in the Nation, need special assistance to begin productive careers.
In 1976, 19 percent of teenagers of all races and both sexes were officially recorded as out of work, but the rate was 37 percent for minority teenagers and 3½ percent higher for minority girls. These unemployment rates for youth are more understated than for adults
because so many teenagers are discouraged from even applying for
One of the most significant factors affecting the likelihood of teenage employment is the employment status or lack of status of one or
both parents. In a typically disadvantaged home, a son or daughter
does not have the benefit of a helpful job role model if a father is unemployed, underemployed, or absent entirely, or if a mother has a
low-paying job or is on welfare. Teenage deprivation, including serious unemployment, is associated with high incidence of crime.
One of the most critical events in the life of a young women is the
birth of her first child, which may cause her to drop out of school or
the labor force, go on welfare, or abandon a career. Those and still
earlier choices, as to sexual activity, contraception, and abortion confront an increasing number of teenagers.
Urban Institute research indicates that the availability of subsidized
family planning services reduces the incidence of premarital pregnancies. Yet only about 40 percent of women estimated to be in need
of subsidized family planning services actually obtained them in 1974.
For these and the remaining 60 percent of women, widened career
options at all ages may hinge on the availability of such services.


Because women sometimes face double or triple burdens as
homemakers, mothers, and workers, they may need support services to help fulfill their multiple roles in society. The homemaker's
work is "work," but society neither values it as such, credits her
in various ways for her contributions, nor assists her, particularly
when she desires to enter the formal work force. Quality child care
at an affordable price is basic if the working mother is to meet her
job responsibilities without neglecting her children. Work hours
could be adapted to women's and men's needs through part-time
jobs and flexible work hours. Occupational health problems, especially those affecting the pregnant woman and the fetus, deserve
increased attention.

A. The Homemaker, the Family, and Employment: Some
A meaningful family Iife for the working couple may require
support services to help relieve the special burdens of the wife/
Until society abandons the view that ''work" only includes paid
activities, the homemaker will be denied the status to which she is
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entitled and assistance which she may need. Aflluent working parents
can make and pay for their own arrangements to fulfill their personal
and child care needs. But for millions of other working parents and
especially for single parent families, public programs may represent
a crucial difference in the quality of adult and child life.
In the homemaker's and the family's behalf, Nona Glazer, Linda
Majka, Joan Acker, and Christine Bose recommend a broad series of
support measures: Round-the-clock child care centers for children up
to the age of 15 become more feasible if older children and retired peo•
ple are involved in the caring process; Neighborhood Service Houses,
rooted in the tradition of Settlement Houses, could offer multiple services, such as job ;reentry counseling, medical day clinics and medical
transportation for children, house visitors to facilitate repair services,
a distribution point for meals, tools and neighborhood bartering of
services, psychological support at times of family stress, and referral
to professional help; federally funded holiday camps for employed
mothers, modeled after the family holiday camps in Norway, represent
another innovative suggestion.
Legislation to set up these structures which Glazer et al. recommend
would facilitate a change in the structure of national employment
standards, they believe. Thus, the lrubor market would accommodate
personal human needs, ;rather than the reverse situation which exists
today. This would entail such measures as fostering mandatory overtime limits, :flexitime, routine personal leave, paternity as well as
maternity leave, and improved status and fringe benefits for part-time
Precedent for a national family policy is notable in France. Because
it is concerned with social, economic, and other elements of family life,
France provides a broad set of services for all families, not just the
least fortunate. However, French policy is geared, at least in part, to
increasing the birth rate so as to compensate for the ravages of war,
a situation with which the United States is not faced. Because this
country is starting to recognize that we must pick and choose more
carefully how the taxpayers' money is spent, and because such family
support programs are costly, one approach might be to set up pilot
projects. This method of "sampling" potential new social programs,
then adopting or discarding them, is widely and successfully used in
B. Economic Aspects of Child Oare

A full employment guarantee for women, if it is to be more than
an empty promise, would make available a system of child care
which is both economically efficient and effective in meeting the
needs of young children and their parents.
The need for organized child care is indicated by the fact that in
1974, 42 percent of all children under 18-almost 27 million-had
working mothers, with more than 22 percent of these children under
the age of 6. Yet there are only 1 million spaces available in licensed
day care programs for the almost 6 million pre-school children whose
mothers work.
A wide variety of day care programs coexist: In the child's own
home, in another person's home, by their own mothers at work, by
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community, religious and/or business-run centers. Costs in day care
centers vary widely, depending on the quality of the staff, their numbers, and education levels, the range of support services, the quantity
and quality of food, the nature of the facility and equipment, and
whether or not the center is designed to yield a profit. The fact that
costs represent an overwhelming barrier to use of day care is confi.rmed
by numerous surveys. Private enterprise is discouraged from increasing the sup_ply of formal child care to meet the demand because of the
small likelihood of a profitable return from any but upper income
Whatever the "mix" of a child care system, economic planning
should take into account the high costs of quality child care and the
facts as to parents' willingness or ability to pay. Satisfactory subsidized child care will, in Myra H. Strober's judgment, "require
partial subsidization of even those families with incomes above the
Opponents of subsidization dispute the expenditure of public resources for care of children in families with median or higher incomes.
Why, they ask, should a mother who chooses to raise a child entirely
by herself and to forego any job income, neither receive nor expect a
subsidy, while a woman who transfers part of the child-raising burden
to society in order to earn her own income, be subsidized? Even as
regards the children of lower income families, critics ask: should
taxpayers spend, for example, $5,000 a year to give two children
subsidized day care so that the mother can earn perhaps $7,000 to
$10,00'0 a year?
The arithmetic of each case varies, but day care supporters counter
that the taxpayer's investment is repaid directly, if only in part, by
the higher taxpaying ability of the working mother. More important,
the intangible values of society are strengthened by providing freedom of choice-to work or not to work-to women who would- otherwise lose such choice, and by assuring quality care for the coming
Noting that the desire for children care is worldwide, Alice H. Cook
compares European and other nations' pra.ctices. One of the issues is
whether publicly supported child care should be administered by educational, labor or social service authorities-each of which tends to
have a different approach to the child.
France provides free child care services for a greater number of 2 to
6 years olds (proportionately) than any other non-Communist country. It, in effect, starts its free education system at the age of two,
instead of five, as the United States does. All French day care homes,
no matter how small, are registered, inspected and licensed, and must
adhere to established standards. All children who are placed in careeven with a close relative-are registered. An unusual service-a shortterm nursery called Halte Garderie (Child Parking)-is available
even to nonworking mothers, so that they can be free for shopping or
leisure pursuits. France's system emphasizes care at the young formative ages, when assistance is most needed.
Sweden has the most all-inclusive and integrated program of preschool and school-age childcare of any country in the non-Communist
world; that is, it has the broadest range of services. Before and after
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school care includes supervision 0£ homework and play activities, hobby
programs, free activities, breakfast, and mida£ternoon snacks when
necessary. While Sweden relies on full-time formal day care centers, it
also utilizes family day care to help parents who work irregular hours
or need overnight care £or children. Sweden's com:{lrehensive ca,re of
sick children ranges from sickrooms at centers, to child visitor services
to homes, and includes transportation 0£ ill children. Sweden's system emphasizes total child care around the clock and throughout the
year for all ages.
The Swedish program was planned by representatives of government, private and public social welfare, and employers' and employees'
orgamzations. A plus in the Swedish system is that family day care
mothers, who are under Government supervision, have 90-day training
programs available to them, as well as such •amenities as insurance
coverage, vacations, and established wage rates. This gives reco~ition
to the paraprofession 0£ "family daycare mothering" and establishes it
as a desirable category in the labor force.

0. Part-Time Work
Wives, particularly mothers, who choose to work should have
the option of career-oriented part-time jobs. A similar option for
men would provide greater flexibility in the sharing of parental
and household responsibilities, and add to the quality of life.
Despite widespread interest, there is a lack 0£ career-oriented
part-time work. Practically all part-time jobs today are the lowest paying ones; virtually anyone taking part-time work today suffers substantial career and economic penalties, ranging from lack 0£ opportunity for promotions to loss of fringe benefits. Yet the disadvantages
of part-time work are less than those of dropping out all together,
which results in depletion of skills, lack 0£ confidence and an image in
employers' eyes ,as lacking attachment to the work force.
Industry should be encouraged to rethink its own concepts of the
workday and work continuity. While experiments in the 4-day week
are increasing, most businesses have resisted part-time employment for
a variety 0£ philosophical and administrative ,reasons. Contrary to the
general perception, part-time work need not increase the cost of benefits, because required statutory benefits can be offset by adjustment of
optional benefits. Flex-time, which faces less resistance than part-time
work, has been found to be mutually rewarding £or both employer and
employee, based on observations 0£ a number 0£ companies where it
has been used.
Institutionalizing part-time work options-for both men and women-offers these benefits to society:
1. Children benefit. Their emotional and other needs ,are met by
the availability of not just one, but both parents, at different times.
2. Parents benefit. The desire of both father and mother to share
parental responsibilities is fulfilled.
3. Women benefit. The shorter workday makes it easier £or a woman
to work while she retains the psychological benefits of being a "good
4. Business and industry benefit. The "magnetism" 0£ part-time
work can attract quality employees into the work force. Companies
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may experience greater produotivit_:r and lower unit costs, due to reduced absenteeism, turnover, recrmtment activity and overtime pay.
Higher productivity may also occur because ,an employee can maintam
a :faster work pace for 4 to 6 hours a day than she/he can for 8 hours.
5. Labor and society benefit. The sharing of work opPortunities
would be facilitated in a society where the number of jobs available is
not keeping pace with the growth in the number of potential workers.
In addition, greater equality of opportunity is assured between men
and women. Increased time away from work adds to the quality of life.
7. Taxpayers benefit. The burden of taxpayer-subsidized child-care
centers is reduced.
Carol S. Greenwald urges structural changes in the occupational
system, such as have already begun in Sweden. There, a parents' insurance system, replacing a maternity allowance system, makes it possible
for both parents to alternate working part time for a given period
after the birth of a child, without any economic or occupational
penalty. Greenwald suggests that parental leave (in place of maternity leave) and part-time work options be -required by the Department
of Labor as part of the affirmative action program for Federal contractors. The absence of such provisions, she believes, is discriminatory in effect and is not Tequired as a matter of business necessity,
but is based on mere cu.c:tom and convenience.
Critics view the proposed imposition on employers of mandatory
part-time work as unjustified intervention in private enterprise. In
their view, consequences may include arbitrary dislocation of efficient
work schedules, elevation of personnel and other business costs, and
the inflation of prices to the consumer.

D. Maternal, and Other Health Needs
The topic of support services would not be complete without a brief
consideration of women's health as affected by employment, a subject
which is not covered by an individual paper within the compendium.
The influx of women into the job force and specifically into a
broadened range of occupations has outpaced society's alertness
as to the health implications to the woman worker, especially the
pregnant woman and her unborn child.
Few issues represent more of a double-edged sword than that of
proposed standards for women under the Occupational Health and
Safety Act. On the one hand, rigid standards may result in
automatic screening out of women applicants in a way which may be
regarded as discriminatory; on the other hand, pregnant women
(including those who are not aware that they are pregnant) may
risk substantial injury to themselves and to their unborn children in
hazardous work environments. The pregnancy-related dilemma faces
women even in such traditional occupations as operating room attendant, dental assistant, radiology technician, and flight attendant, where
scientific evidence has begun to question the safety of what had formerly been considered relatively healthy work environments. The issue
is drawn more sharply as women enter into the chemical, mining, and
other heavy industries, where dangerous substances have been suspected for some time and are now becoming increasingly recognized.
There is wide agreement that, at the very minimum, women should
have the benefit of timely information before entering into such occu
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pations, or, if they are already so employed, as soon as scientific information on hazards is validated. It is obvious that men also are entitled
to information concerning occupational health hazards.
Health poses a problem to the working woman in othere woman in
other ways, as well. Information remarns sparse on the impact of
workman's compensation on women; the problem of coverage of pregnancy under disability income and sick paY. protection awaits congressional resolution. The female-headed family and two-worker parents
are inadequately served by a health system which does not have flexible hours for child clinics.




Improvement in the Nation's system of education and training
of women could play an important part in achieving the goal of
full employment. Career education is developing as a useful tool
to aid women's and men's decisions at each stage of life. Vocational education could be a much more significant aid to women if
they could share equally with men in its benefits. Similarly, the
apprenticeship system, still largely closed to women, could add to
the diversification of their work opportunities and the increase of
their earnings. Subsidized training and retraining would enable
women to strengthen their human capital.
A. 0 areer E duaatwn

Career education can broaden and sharpen individuals' knowledge about both their own abilities and the labor market's opportunities, and can help them arrive at the best decisions about their
work lives.
Women, in particular, 'benefit from career education, a concept
which helps relate current learning to future careers. National tests
indicate that 17-year-old girls-the age when career decisions are in
the process of being made-have a less realistic understanding about
careers and working than do boys of the same age. Another study of
adults indicates that sex stereotyping within our society makes it increasingly important that career education be incorporated into our
educational system in order to counteract these neg-ative patterns.
Substantial literature by both Government and individual employ•
ment specialists document the fact that career education can improve
individuals' self-assessment and development as workers, their occupational awareness and preparedness for work, and their ability to put
it all together through skilled planning and decisionmaking.
Lack of career-oriented education and training is one of the strong
root causes of women's inability to establish themselves in upwardly
mobile careers. Access to genderless-oriented education and training
on an equal basis with men is a start towards providing full employment for women. Without it, all other support programs will not,
achieve their potential.
Recommendations to facilitate the growth of career education include the following:
1. Career education should become mandatory in all schools and
encouraged in other community programs.
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2. Community career education action councils should be established.
3. Career education concepts should be included as a standard part
of the curriculum for educators.
4. Schools should become more flexible---fWith open entry and open
exi,t--to serve the job needs of women of all ages.
5. Tax, and other reforms should be used to encourage the retraining and upgrading of women's working skills.

B. Vocational Education
Vocational education is booming, but present opportunities for
girls and women are still limited to clusters of low-paying, traditionally "feminine" occupations, and little attempt is being made
to open up nontraditional areas.
With almost 6½ million women and girls enrolled in public vocational classes in 1972, about 4 out of 5 were being trained in home
economics and office practices. Few women are being trained for the
20.1 million jobs that estimates indicate will exist by 1980 in the better
paying trades, industrial and technical jobs, and for which high
schools offer entry level courses. These latter jdbs, unfortunately, are
viewed primarily as male occupations.
A 1974 report showed that 98.5 percent of all students in Wisconsin
high school industrial classes were boys. In one city, the average expected wage for trades learned by girls was 47 percent lower than for
trades learned by boys. At the postsecondary level, admission of
women is hindered by inconvenient school hours and location,
lack of child care facilities, and limited distribution of publicity about
the programs.
Some of the following steps would be helpful in upgrading vocational education for women: Improvement in counseling based on more
research on how females make career decisions ; an introductory course
on the changing career patterns of women, labor market projections
and wage differentials of occupations; better literature and audiovisual materials--prescreened against traditional stereotypes; updating of counselors' knowledge and skil1s by summer institutes and inservice training programs; tours for young girls of vocational classrooms and industries; visits to schools by women workers in a broad
range of occupations: simulated job experience kits for fields in which
expansion is prrojected,
0. Apprenticeship
Apprenticeship, one of the most important doors to skilled and
well-paid jobs, remains all but closed to women today because of
deep-rooted custom and outright discrimination.
The reasons for the exclusion of women are multiple: Most apprenticeships are in male-dominated occupations which have historically tended to perpetuate barriers on the ground that the jobs
are "unsuitable" for women; the stereotypes deter women from a-pplying; jobs traditionally held by women are perceived to require
Jess training and therefore are excluded from the apprenticeable
Women account for only slightly over 1 percent of all registered
apprentices. Over 415 different trades and crafts are apprenticeable,
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according to Federal Government standards; the 21 oonstruction
trades account for approximately 64 percent. Thirty-six onehundredths of 1 percent (0.36) of apprentices in the highly paid building trades were women in 1975. Among these key trades, only carpenters and electricians had more than 100 women apprentices at that
Why is apprenticeship important j It is a bargain for those high
school graduates who cannot afford continued classroom education.
They can earn a wage while simultaneously acquiring a skill leading
to still higher income. Long waiting lists of hopefuls attest to the
desirability of being accepted as an apprentice.
A forward step taken by the Manpower Administration is the apprenticeship outreaich program, which emphasizes recruiting, counseling, and tutoring women for apprenticeships and which now covers 27
cities. Despite their potential promise, these programs achieved only
"modest results"-according to a Civil Rights Commission study in
An improve'moot in the apprenlticeship systeln would be to admit
women exceeding the maximum aige, as part of affirllll8Jtive action.
Overview of the program could be strengthened by correcting underrepresentation of women within the Department of Labor's Bureau
of Apprenticeship and Training, which has 240 males and only 14
females. It should be borne in mind that recessions have an adverse
effect on the numbers of apprenticeships, as it does on so many other
programs which offer increased career opportunities.

D. Higher Education
The component of American society which might best show evidence
of the results of women's increased iaspirations is ltih.e segment that has
documented and fostered those aspirations, namely, American higher
education itself. Women's status as students and members of faculties
in colleges and universities is not treated as a separate paper in the
compendium, but the ,relative unevenness of women's progress in higher
education is noteworthy of comment. The wom.en!s proportion among
students in undergradua,te, gradu<ate, and postgraduate instill;ut,es bias
continued to rise. By 1974 the proportion of women aged 18 to 19
going to college equalled the proportion of young men. In 1975, more
women than men took the scholastic aptitude tests, the first time in
the 49 years that the SAT's have been in existence. But, most important, the percentage-24 percent-of women among all faculty on
academic year contracts remained the same in 1974 and 1975, while
the percentage of women ranked professor, associate professor and instructor actually decreased. The average salaries of these pmfessionals
remained less than that of men.
Title IX, approved in June 1972, prohibits discrimination on the
basis of sex in eduCJational progmms which receive Federal funds,
including recruitmenit and :admission, fiooncial 1assistance, housing, and
h1ring of professional faculty.
Title IX, plus other legislation such as the Medical Education Act,
have been instrumental in opening the doors to medical and 1Jaw schools
and other gradu1ate facilities. Upper level positions fur women in management, government and the professions are vital because they serve
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as role models :for children and young adults to :follow, they help
change deep-seJaited negative a.ttitudes in our society, and they place
women in top echelon positions where they can help overcome other
brurriers thait still ,remain.
On the other side o:f the coin, affirmative action programs required
by title IX have been characterized by college administmators as a
"mixed blessing" which has lowered standa:vds, led to "reverse discrimination" against whilte males, and increased unive,rsity paperwork and other costs.

Reforms should be considered in both the tax and social security
systems in the interest of justice for working as well as nonworking women. Another adverse and pervasive factor is mediadisseminated stereotypes which may handicap girls and women
at every stage of their intellectual and economic development.
A. Impact of the Tax System and Social Se(}1.l,rity on Labor Force

Changes are required in the American tax and social security
systems whose. direct or indirect inequities may discourage women
from working, or penalize them if they choose to work.
Three major problems in the tax treatment o:f the two-earner :family
(a) The marriage penalty, which substantially increases the tax
bill o:f the two-earner :family. (b) The fiscal inequity o:f failing to differentiate between the traditional worker-housewife couple and tho
emergent two-earner couple, whose greater earnings are offset with
increased but often nondeductible job-related expenses. (c) The work
disincentive to potential second family earners, since the second
family earner's first taxable dollar is effectively taxed at the first
earner's highest tax rate.
Suggest10ns offered to overcome these difficulties include:
(a) A system of individual tax treatment of earned income, similar
to Sweden's, or an option to married taxpayers to choose individual
treatment o:f earned income, similar to that o:f England, Norway, and
other countries. (b) An allowance to second earners to accommodate
the working couple's higher cost o:f earning income.
In the social security system, Blumberg identifies the issues and
offers several remedies:
1. Worker-housewife couples frequently receive substantially more
benefits than two-earner couples, even though earnings and social
security payments are equal. To achieve parity in determining benefits, Blumberg suggests that working couples should be permitted to
combine their earnings up to the maximum taxable wage base ( rather
than as at present, computing benefits :from the separate earnings of
two bases).
2. The married working woman realizes little or no benefits from
her social security payments because she can only collect from one
account (usually her husband's). It has been argued that the married
woman does receive benefits because her payments cover more than
Federal Reserve Bank of St. Louis

her retirement benefits-her own disability, and survivor's benefits.
If this is the rationale, then the married woman's contributions should
be adjusted downward to reflect the actual coverage she is purchasing.
3. There are inequities in the calculation of "replacement income"
for women. Retirement benefits are computed by averaging earnings
for all years except the lowest five; employed wives and working
mothers may have been home for child rearing and homemaking for
a cumulatively longer period than 5 years. Some countries have
treated women's absence from the labor market because of pregnancy
and child rearing as "covered employment," and credited the married
woman's account with some ascribed earnings.
4. In the event of divorce, many nonemployed wives and mothers
lose their dependent status and are deprived of their social security
eligibility; thus, older housewives may be left entirely without retirement income; younger housewives may not have a basis for an adequate average earning record.
A comprehensive solution offered by Blumberg is equal apportionment between husband and wife of all spouse's contributions based
on wages. In her opinion, this would "more profoundly reflect the
view that marriage is an economic partnership: * * * that each spouse
has an interest in all income generated during a marriage, and that
the housewife does make a valuable economic contribution to her

B. Effeats of M (J,88 Media Stereotypes on W omerJ,'8 Employment

Efforts should be made to reduce sex bias in the content of mass
media if a constructive self-realization of women is to be
While women's role in society and in the labor market has experienced vast changes in the past quarter century, the mass media's unrealistic portrayal of that role is an impediment to women's equality.
One television study showed that commercials mentioned 43 different
occupations for men, only 18 for women. When TV shows reveal someone's occupation, the worker is most likely to be male. Women's magazines have traditionally focused on women as homemakers, ratlier
than as workers, but have recently become more responsive to change.
In the Nation's newspapers, news of :food, fashion, weddings, and
society-not jobs-has tended to dominate the women's pages. A substantial body o:f research suggests particularly profound effects of
media stereotyping in restricting the horizons of young women; these
effects may well deter girls from undertaking career-oriented education or training programs. The mass media may also exert a conservative force among adults, which prevents affluent and other women :from
seeking employment and discourages women who must work from
seeking better jobs or higher goals.
Gaye Tuchman recommends a. co~l?lete analysis of the effect of
mass media upon women and mmor1ties. She also suggests Federal
Trade Commission restrictions on sex-typed advertising during children's viewing hours; banning sex-role stereotypes under the National
Association of Broadcasters Code; Federal Communications Commission denial o:f renewal of station licenses if program stereotvping is
:found; and priority given to affirmative action programs in the mass
Federal Reserve Bank of St. Louis


Full employment is a moving target ; it takes a growing number of jobs to
provide for a growing labor force, and women are currently the prime movers of
the target (Isabel V. Sawhill).

The targets are moving as well for government and :for all other
institutions-business, labor, education, and social sciences-as they
respond to women's rising economic aspirations. To the authors o:f the'
compendium, the achievement o:f women's equality in a :full employment economy is the logical and necessary culmination o:f the phenomenon o:f their massive entry into the labor :force and o:f the rights
to which they are entitled under law. The authors note that even in
the absence o:f a :full employment goal, the success o:f macroeconomic
growth policies is affected to a greater degree than ever before by the
Nation's ability to estimate, to plan :for and to accommodate the intentions o:f women workers and potential workers. Noninflationary,
cost-effective microeconomic policies could help open up career opportunities for groups with special needs, such as mothers with infants and
small children, displaced homemakers and mature women, and teenagers-especially minorities.
A :fundamental reality o:f this era is that women's economic progress
has already attained an inner momentum which will intensify their
quest :for job satisfaction and equality. Traditional acceptance by
women, as well as by men, o:f substantial unemployment and underemployment is likely to give way to a consensus for national policies
which will make better use o:f all human resources. "'Whether or not
these policies become embodied in a :full employment goal, as such,
increased effort may be anticipated to end sex-based discrimination
and de :facto job segregation, to improve ·women's education and train~
ing so as to :foster sel:f-:fulfillment in jobs, and to expand support services, especially :for the homemaker and working mother.
To achieve these and other objectives, the specific recommendations
within this compendium carry direct and indirect pri~e tags, as y~t
largely unknown. But the :failure to ass~ll'e wome!1's opt_1mal economic
role also entails costs o:f both a tangible and mtang1ble nature to
women, men, and to all society.
Federal Reserve Bank of St. Louis
Federal Reserve Bank of St. Louis


Federal Reserve Bank of St. Louis



I. Where women are in the labor force--------------------~-------A. Earnings and status____________________________________
B. Work discontinuity and work life expectancy______________
II. The impact of unemployment on women_________________________
III. Women's increasing stake in full employment_____________________
IV. The high vulnerability of minority women________________________
V. Unemployment and teenagers___________________________________
VI. Some challenges to action______________________________________

~Iajor sources of statistical data used________________________________



Women in the United States have an immense stake in the achievement of full employment. 1 In a shrinking economy women suffer high
rates of unemployment oonsidera:bly in excess of those experienced by
men. Inflation rises and inflicts an especially hard blow on women.
Poverty increases, family incomes decline, and business earnings fall.
These developments and the resulting reduction in public revenues
lessen our N'llltion's capacity to meet the needs of its people. Women,
whether wage and salary earners or full-time homemakers, are affected
by the consequences to a disproportionate extent.
The highly disadvantaged position of women in the American economy today exists despite the fact that their participation in the labor
force has advanced rapidly during the last two and one-h:alf decades.
In 1940 they represented 29 percent of all workers. By 1976 their proportion had increased to 41 percent. While they have comprised more
than three-fifths of the growth in the civilian labor force during this
period, they have moved increasingly into the lesser skilled, lower paid
jobs. Despite the fact that national legislation directed toward the
elimination of discrimination in employment on the basis of sex, among
other grounds, has been on the statute books for more than 10 years,
the relative employment status of women has shown little improvement in some respects and has actually deteriorated in some more
significant ways.
•Consulting economist In private practice In Washington, D.C. She was the Director of
the Women's Bureau, U.S. Department of Labor, 1964-1969.
1 Full employment In this paper ts based on a level of employment consistent with the
rPductlon of unemployment to an overall rate of about 3 percent. This Is treated as the
"frictional" level of unemployment, that Is, those unemployed are primarily wage and
~alary earners moving from one job to another. This paper assumes that a reasonable and
feasible target for the reduction of unemployment 1s to lower the overall rate or unemploymPnt from 7.7 percent In 1976 to 4 percent by mld-1981 (about 3 percent for adults
aged 20 and over) and to 3 percent within a year or two thereafter.

Federal Reserve Bank of St. Louis

Experience during the post-World ·war II years clearly indicates
thaJt existing employment inequities strongly resist redress when economic growth rates are slow or the economy declines. When the economy moves into high gear and there are ample numbers o:f jobs
available :for those seeking them, gains :for women-and :for all Americans--are very great indeed. This is not to say that strong and specific
efforts to eliminate employment discrimina,tion are not needed in
periods o:f economic expansion; they clearly are. But such efforts have
a better chance o:f achieving their objectives when job opportunities
are on the increase.
A review o:f where women are in the labor :force and o:f recent trends
during times o:f economic advance and decline sheds a revealing light
on why :full employment is of signal importance to them.



As o:f December 1976, 39 million women, aged 16 and over, were in
the labor :force-a number which had more than doubled since 1950
and nearly tripled since 1940. Nearly hal:f o:f all women, 16 and over,
were employed or actively seeking work. O:f those between the ages
18 and 64, the proportion was 56 percent.
Between 1950 and 1976, the total labor :force grew by about 31
million. Women constituted more than three-fifths o:f this increase.
With five recessionary interruptions, the economy expanded, although
not nearly enough, over this period as a whole. The number o:f jobs
was growing and women entered the job market in rapidly increasing numbers. O:f major significance has been the very substantial
rise in the proportion o:f women aged 25-64, particula.rly those with
children, who sought employment during the quarter century. Among
those aged 25-34, there was a 68-percent increase in their labor :force
participation rates between 1950 and 1976. The rate of increase :for
those aged 35-64 was also very rapid, as is shown in ta:ble. I.
PERCENT CHANGE 1940-76 AND 1950-76
Percent change

Aiie (years}
Total, 16 yrs and over ___________
16 and 17. .•••• ______________________
18 and 19____________________________
20 to 34
35 to 44 _____________________________
45 to 54
-------------------- -----55
64 .••
65 yrs and over•• _____________________

1940 t














13. 8
42. 7

30. l
9. 7


53. 7
43. 0

40. 7



Data for 1940 are for March of that year; for other years, annual.

Source: U.S. Department of Labor, Bureau of Labor Statistics, Washington, D.C.

When 1940 is used as the base year for comparison with 1976, the
labor force participation rates for women aged 35-64 had more than
Before World War II, the peak rate of labor force participation
was for women aged 20-24, 48 percent of whom were workers. By the
Federal Reserve Bank of St. Louis

age of 25, a large proportion of women had already married and the
responsibilities of child rearing removed many from the job world.
The labor force participation rate of those aged 25-34 was 26 percent
lower than among those aged 20-24. It declined another 17 percent
among those aged 35-44, and still another 17 percent for those aged
45-54. This continuous decline reflected the greater difficulties of home
management than in more recent years, the absence of child day-care
facilities, the insufficiency of jobs, and the strong prejudice against
hiring middle-aged women, among other factors.
After the war, labor force participation rates for women aged 25-34continued to be lower than for those aged 20-24, although to a diminishing degree from 1950 onward. By 1976, women aged 25-34 were 12
percent less likely to be in the labor force than those aged 20-24.
Throughout the post-World War II period, the labor force participation rates of women over age 35 have continued to increase.
During the past two and one-half decades, the labor force participation of married women with husbands present grew more rapidly than
that of other married or single women; it increased nearly 90 percent
between 1950 and 1976. The rates for married women with husbands
present and with children under the age of 18 increased nearly twoand-a-half-fold during this period; for those with children under the
age of six, the rates more than tripled ( see table ]J).
1976 AND PERCENT CHANGE, 1950-76

Marital status
Married women, husband present_ ___________________ _
With children under 18 yr_ ______________________ _
With children under 6 yr_ _______________________ _
With no children under 18 yr_ ___________________ _
Other ever-married women __________________________ _
With children under 18 yr _______________________ _
With children under 6 yr ________________________ _
With no children under 18 yr ____________________ _
Single women __ • __________________________________ _





18. 4

40. 7
56. 7


+150. 5
+35. 7

11. 9

33. 7

Source: U.S. Department of Commerce, Bureau of the Census, "Current Population Reports," series P-50, No. 29·
and U.S. Department of Labor, Bureau of Labor Statistics, "Special Labor Force Reports," Nos. 13, 130, and 183 and
BLS unpublished data for 1976.

A.. Earnings and Status

Most women work for the same reason as most men; they need the
money. As of March 1976, 43 percent of all women in the labor force
were single, widowed, separated or divorced, and worked to support
themselves and their dependents. More than an additional quarter of
all women in the labor force were married women whose husbands
had earned less than $10,500 in the previous year, or less than what
was regarded as needed to meet the minimum requirements of a family
of four. Thus, for 7 out of 10 working women, employment is a compelling economic necessity. A large majority of the remaining women
also work because they desire to improve their families' economic
·while a majority of women of working age are now job holders,
they are heavily concentrated in the lower-paid, lesser-skilled posi
Federal Reserve Bank of St. Louis

tions which women have traditionally held. In l 975," somewhat more
than a third of women job holders were in clerical and kindred occupations, and nearly a fifth were in the service trades, excluding private household employment, with median annual earnings in 1974
£or year-round, full-time work of $7,562 and $5,414 respectively. About
an additional fifth were sales, craft and kindred workers, and operatives, with median earnings in these three fields combined :for yearround, full-time work in 1974 of $6,100. About 16 percent of working
women were in professional and technical occupations, with nearly
half of them concentrated in three fields traditionally held by women,
also relatively low paid: elementary and preschool teachers, registered
nurses, and health technologists and technicans.
Because of women's concentration at the lower rungs of the occupational ladder, their median earnings for year-round, full-time work
in 1975 were only $7,504, or only 59 percent of the $12,758 median
earnings of men for year-round full-time work. Of all women employed year-round and full-time, 22 percent earned less than $5,000.
This compares with :fewer than 7 percent of men. At the upper encl
of the earnings scale, only 4.5 percent of women earned between
$15,000 and $25,000; the percentage of men in this income bracket
was six times greater. Fewer than one-half of 1 percent of all these
women eanrnd $25,000 or more; the percentage o:f men in this bracket
was 20 times higher.
1Vomen's occupational status is very different from that of men.
·while in 1975 they comprised 40 percent of the labor force, they were
99 percent of all secretaries; 98 percent of all household workers and
nurses; 96 percent of dressmakers, sewers and stitchers; 85 percent o:f
all elementary schoolteachers; 77 percent of all those in clerical occupations; and 58 percent of all nonhousehold related service employees.
About three-quarters of all women workers were in these occupations,
generally characterized by relatively low average earnings.
omen remain poorly represented at the more privileged end of
the occupational ladder. In 1974, they were 6 percent of all lawyers
and judges, 10 percent of physicians, 14 percent of all chemists, 20
percent of computer specialists, and 31 percent of all college and university teachers, to mention a :few examples.
Even within the professions underrepresented by women, they were
concentrated at the lower encl of the scale, and some trends have actually been regressive. For instance, in colleges and universities in
1974, women were 9 percent of all full professors-down from 10 percent in 1959-60; they were 15 percent of associate professors-down
from 17.5 percent in 1959-60; they were 24 percent of assistant professors and 45 percent of all instructors. These last two ratios were
higher than in the base year, but these gains did not compensate for
the declines at the higher levels, so that, overall, women lost salarv
ground relative to men. At each o:f the teaching levels, the average
compensation of women was lower than that of men-the difference
of all ranks combined averaging 18 percent lower for women.
Another illustration of disparities affecting women is employment
in the Federal civil service. The Federal Government might well be


• The 1975, rather than 1976, occupational data are used in this connection because, at
the time of writing, data with respect to median earnings in 1976, by occupation, for
year-round, full-time work, were not yet available.
Federal Reserve Bank of St. Louis

expected to be the pace setter with respect to affirmative action employment policy, being charged by an Executive order to prohibit
discrimination on the basis of sex. But an analysis of Federal civil
service reports indicates that the mandate is far from fulfilled.
Women in 1975 were only 35 percent of total white collar Federal
employees-about the same proportion as in 1968, and considerably
lower than their proportion in the total labor force. Their number in
the civil service failed to keep pace with their growing role in the
general economy; such progress as they have made at the top, in
recent years, has been very slight. In 1975, women were only 2.7 percent of all those in the three highest grades-GS 16, 17, and 18-up
from 1.5 percent in 1968. They were only 4.3 percent in the next two
highest grades-GS 14 and 15-up from 3.4 percent in 1968.
Not only is the overall occupational position of women inferior in
relation to that of men; women's relative position in the labor force
has been deteriorating in recent years. The comparative median earnings of men and women in year-round, full-time employment were
used above as a meaningful index of relative economic status. Comparison of these figures over a period of time shows relative retrogression. Median earnings of women in year-round full-time work were 59
percent those of men in 1975. While this ratio averaged the same in the
1960's, it was considerably lower than the 63 percent average for 195559 and the 64 percent registered in 1955. The wage gap was $3,081 in
1955 (measured in 1975 dollars). It was $5,254 in 1975, or 71 percent
B. Work Discontinuity and Work Life EaJpectancy
For many years it was argued that the median earnings differential
on the basis of sex could be attributed in large measure to the discontinuity in women's employment. This was clearly a major causal
factor in earlier periods when a large percentage of working women
left the labor force after marriage to bear and rear children. However, while the discontinuity of women's employment has been diminishing very rapidly in recent years, the differences in relative earnings of men and women have increased.
Recent studies show that the worklife expectancy of women has
continued to lengthen significantly, while it has edged downward for
men. As is shown in_ table IV, women's worklife expectancy at birth
rose from 6.3 years m 1900 to 12.1 years in 1940, or nearly doubled;
by 1970 it had almost doubled again to 22.9 years.
Life expectancy _________________________________
Work expectancy ____________________________
Nonwork expectancy ________________________






48. 2
16. 1


65. 5
41. 5

66. 8
25. 7

40. l
27. 0

50. 7
6. 3

65. 7
12. l

71. 0
15. l
55. 9
36. 3

73. l
53. 0

74. 8
22. 9
51. 9

Nonwork expectancy
Life ;gr~~x~~iincy_:
====== ======== ==== ==
Women's worklife expectancy as a percent of men's_

1 Data for 1900 are for white persons in death registration States.
•Figures adjusted to remove 14- and 15-yr-olds from the labor force to be consistent with 1970 (1900 is not comparable).
Source: Howard N. Fullerton, Jr. and James J. Byrne: "Length of Working Life for Men and Women, 1970," Monthly
Labor Review, February 1976, p. 32. (U.S. Department of Labor, Bureau of Labor Statistics, Washington, D.C.).
Federal Reserve Bank of St. Louis

By 1970, the work expectancy of men at age 20 was 41.5 years; for
women who were divorced, widowed, or separated it was somewhat
higher-42.3 years; for single women it was nearly the same-41.2
At age 35, the large majority of women in the labor force in 1970
had a work expectancy that varied relatively little from that of men,
as is shown in table V.
[In years]
Ever-married women


20 _____ -- -- -- -- -- -- -- -- -- -- -- -- -- -- -25 ___ -- -- -- -- -- -- -- -· -- -- -· -· -- -- ·- -30_ ---- -- -- -- -- -- -- -· -- -- -- -- -- -- -- -35 _____ -- -- __ -- -- ·- -- -- ---- -- -- -- -- -·
.40 _____ -- -- -- -- -- -- -- -- -- -- -- -- -- -- -45 _____ -- -- -- -- -- -- -- -- -- -- -- -- -- -- -50 ••• -- -- -- -- -- -- -- -- -- -- -- -- -- -- -- -55 _____ -- __ -- -- -- -- -- -- -- -- -- -- -- -- -60 ___ -- -- -- -- -- -- -- -- -- -- -- -- ---- -- -65 _____ -- -- -- -- -- -- -- -- -- -- -- -- -- -- --



No children
ever born

23. 2
18. 9

28. 5
24. 0
19. 4
15. 0

17. 6
13. 4
10. 6

5. 7


Women in
labor force
after birth
of last

16. 3
11. 9
8. 2

widowed, and
23. 0
18. 3
13. 6
6. 7

1 Includes mothers. Women in these marital statuses were also included in the tabulation for the 2 previous columns,
• Not applicable.

Source: Same as for table IV,

vYith employment discontinuity sharply on the decline £or women
and with worklife expectancy markedly on the increase, it is clear
that a large number of other factors contribute to the relatively disadvantaged position of women in the labor force. Many women are
willing to settle for lesser-skilled, lower-paid jobs because their training, education, and attitudinal conditioning have not prepared them
realistically to anticipate their employment commitments. Stereotyped
Yocational guidance and training, which have not adjusted to the new
realities of women's work1ives, tend to move women into jobs they have
held traditionally. There is continuing discrimination against women
in hiring and promotion. In periods of declining employment, women
and minorities are generally the last hired and first fired, largely because seniority systems prevail over the dictates of affirmative action
employment policies. This separation from jobs affects earnings and
promotion potentials.

Unemployment affects women to a far greater degree than men. It
lrns averaged 25 percent higher for them during the years 1947-75.
In 1975. officially recorded unemployment among women reached a
post-,Vor1d War II peak of 9.3 percent and averaged 8.6 percent during 1976. The comparable rates for men were 7.9 and 7 percent, respectively. These sex differentials are considerably larger than the official
fignres indicate; when job hunting becomes harder, women are more
Federal Reserve Bank of St. Louis

likely than men to abandon the search because there are fewer jobs
available to them. When they do, they are no longer counted among the
During the post-World War II period, the impact of unemployment on women, relative to that on men, has been mtensifyino-. From
1947 through 1959, unemployment averaged 11 percent higlier for
women than men, and in the subsequent years, 1960 through 1976,
averaged 31 percent higher.
In addition to its higher incidence, unemployment among women
has become a more serious problem for a growing number of families
who are increasingly dependent on women's earnmgs. The proportion
of families headed by women rose 43 percent from 1950 to 1976-from
9.3 to 13.3 percent. Furthermore, women's earnings had become far
more important to husband-wife families as the labor force participation of wives had increased from 24 to 45 percent-a rise of 89 percent.



"lVomen workers accounted for a considerably larger proportion of
the unemployed during the most recent recession than in earlier economic downturns; the increase in their vulnerability is disproportionate to their expanding role in the labor force. In the two economic
downturns of the 1950's, as unemployment peaked in 1954 and 1958,
women~s unemployment represented 34 and 33 percent of total unemployment, respectively. In 1961, another year of high unemployment,
women represented 36 percent of the total, somewhat higher than their
percentage of the total labor force, which was then 34 percent. In 1976,
women comprised 46 percent of all those unemployed, at a time when
they were 41 percent of the total labor force. As earlier stated, because
of prejudice and seniority system priorities, women find themselves
among the last hired and among the first fired when the economy
slackens. Equal employment obligations go by the wayside.
Another factor of major concern is the rising incidence of poverty 3
among women. During the past 7 years of low economic growth,
bYo recessions and acute unemployment, poverty has been on the incrPase, with women suffering disproportionately.
The years 1961-68 were characterized by continuous economic expansion. Real G:XP advanced at the average annual rate of 4.6 percent
a :vear. The total number of people suffering the hardships of poverty
declined from 39.9 million in 1960 to 25.4 million in 1968, or by 36
From 1!)69 to 1975, with economic growth interrupted by two recessions, real GNP increased at the average annual rate of only 1.7 percent. The number of those in poverty rose from 24.1 million in 1969
to 25.9 million in Hl75, or by 7.5 percent. The number of persons in
families in poverty headed by women declined from 7.2 million in
1960 to 7 million in 1968; the number increased to 8.9 million in 1975,
which is 27 percent higher than in 1968. In 1975, more than half of
related children under the age of 18 and in poverty were in femaleheaded families.

3 ThP official U.R. Government figure for the poverty threshold of a nonfarm familr of
fonr was $5,820 in 1976. Telephone conversation with the Bureau of the Census.
Federal Reserve Bank of St. Louis

Black families headed by women and in poverty suffered more
acutely than those headed by white women. The number of their families rose from 700,000 in 1968 to 1 million by 1976, or by 43 percent,
compared with a 36-percent increase in the number of poor families
headed by white women.
Low economic growth and resulting unemployment in the period
1969-76 actually reduced living standards. Measured in dollars of
constant purchasing power, the average weekly earnings of nonsupervisory workers in private nonagricultural employment were lo;Ver in
1976 than 1969. Despite the fact that in 1975 a larger proportion of
families benefited from women's earnings than in 1969, the median
income of all families, measured in constant dollars, was actually
lower. 4
Rampant inflation was a basic element in these living standard
declines; post-World War II experience clearly indicated that excessive price rises are now closely associated with high unemployment
and low economic growth rates. From 1947 to 1953, the annual rate of
real growth averaged 4.9 percent. Unemployment averaged 4 percent
during the period and declined to a low of 2.9 percent by 1953. Consumer price rises averaged only 3 percent a. year, and in 1953 these
prices were less than 1 percent higher than in the previous year.
Similarly in 1960-68, a period of relatively healthy economic
growth, unemployment declined continuously from a high of 6.7 percent in 1961 to 3.6 perecent in 1968, with price increases averaging less
than 2 percent a year.
In contrast, during the years 1969 to 1976, unemployment rose from
3.5 percent to a peak of 8.5 percent in 1975 and remained at the high
level of 7.7 percent in 1976, with an average of 5.8 percent for the
period; consumer price rises averaged 6.5 percent, or more than three
times the rate of advance registered in the preceeding 8 years.
Prices increased 11 percent in 1974 compared with 1973, were 9.1 percent more in 1975 (when unemployment reached the highest level
since the Great Depression) than in 1974, and advanced by another
5.8 nercent in 1976.
These comparative trends indicate that a full employment policy
does not necessarily have a serious inflationary impact. When our productive resources are underutilized, the unit cost of many products
rises, sales shrink, and many industries raise their prices in an effort
to reach profit targets nonetheless. When economic expansionary policies are implemented an<l fuller use is made of plant capacity, productfrity gains increase, unit costs fall and sales rise. These developments
reduce inflationary pressures.





Minoritv women are far more vulnerable than white women to econo~ic downturns. Not only is their labor force participation higher:
the1r unemployment rate has averaged about 80 percent above that of
white women over the last 26 years. A larger proportion have dependents and their median earnings are lower; as a result, a much greater
proportion experience the hardships of poverty.
• The 1976 famlly income data were not as yet available at time of writing.
Federal Reserve Bank of St. Louis

Of the 39 million women in the labor force in 1976, 5 million, or 13
percent, were nonwhite ( of whom 90 percent were black). For many
years, their labor force participation rates have been higher than for
white women. In 1950, 47 percent of minority women were in the labor
force, compared with 33 percent of white women. This difference has
narrowed markedly in subsequent years. By 1976 the labor force participation rate for minority women was 50.2 percent, while that of
white women, which had risen far more rapidly, was 46.9 percent. The
difference in these labor force participation rates in 1976 would
undoubtedly have been greater had minority women not been far more
affected by unemployment, both reported and hidden.
During the period 1950-76, recorded unemployment of minority
women was 79 percent higher than that of white women, averaging
9.5 percent a year, compared with 5.3 percent. It should be stressed
that official unemployment rates are understated to a greater degree
for minority women than for white because the higher the unemployment rate for any group, the more likely are its members to give up
the job search when times are hard. Thus, larger proportions of them
are omitted from the official unemployment statistics.
The greater financial responsibilities of minority women are another
factor which undoubtedly would have lifted their employment rates
faster had more jobs been available to them. The average income of
nonwhite males who are fatnily heads is lower than that of white males
who head families; this fact puts added pressure on minority wives
to seek employment. Median income of black males who headed their
families was $11,389 in 1975, compared with $15,094 for white male
family heads, or about 25 percent lower; it was $10,925 for male :family
heads of Spanish origin, or 28 percent lower than for white male heads
of households. Nonwhite heads of families suffered about twice the
rate of unemployment experienced by white male family heads
throughout the post World War II period.
Furthermore, a far larger and more rapidly growing proportion
of nonwhite women than of white women head their families. In
March 1976, about a third of all nonwhite families were headed by
women, compared with 1 out of 10 white families. The respective
proportion had been 21 percent and 9 percent in 1955.
Despite these comparative differences, the occupational pattern of
minority women has been improving. In 1955, 55 percent of all employed minority women were in service occupations; this proportion
had dropped sharply to 35 percent by 1976. In the latter year, a much
larger proportion of minority women were in the more economically
advantaged white collar jobs; the proportion had risen from 24 to 46
percent over this same 11 year period.
But there are still marked occupational differences between minority
and white women. While 35 percent of minority women were in the
service occupations in 1976, this was 86 percent higher than the proportion of white women in this category. And while 46 percent of minority women were in white collar jobs, this compared with 66 percent
of white women. These differences, among others, indicate the continuing need for the intensification of efforts to eliminate discrimination
on the basis of •race as well a,s sex.
Occupational differences between the two groups of women may be
expected to narrow to a greater degree in the years immediately ahead.
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This is indicated by the fact that the gap between the occupational
status of white and minority women, aged 16-34, is much less than
that among women 35 years of age and older. This reflects progress,
especially with respect to relative educational opportunities. There is
now virtually no difference between the median ;}'.ears of school completed by white and minority women workers (12.5 and 12.3 years,
respectively, in 1974). Only 15 years ago, there was a difference of 2.8
years. The percentage of black young women enrolled in college increased nearly 3½ fold between 1964 and 1974, while that of white
young women a little more than doubled. There is still much to be done,
nevertheless, to assure the equalization of education with respect to
Despite remaining inequities, there has been a very important gain
made by nonwhite women in recent years which should be stressed. Although, as previously indicated, the gap between the median earnings
of men and women for year-round, full-time work has been widening, the gap between the earnings of white and nonwhite women workers has been closing rapidly. In 1939, the median year-round, full-time
earnings of nonwhite women were 38 percent those of white women. By
1975, the ratio had risen to 96 percent, reflecting diminishing racial differences in the relative occupational opportunities of the two groups
of women. Measured in 1975 dollars, the earnings of nonwhite women
for year-round, full-time work increased nearly sixfold from $1,267
in 1969 to $7,237 in 1975.




N"o group has a larger stake in full employment than teenaged youth.
During 1976, 19 percent of 16-to-19-year-olds were officially recorded
as out of work, or nearly one out of five. The rate was 37 percent :for
minority teenagers, with the rate for minority girls being 3½ percentage points higher than for boys. These rates are even more seriously understated than those for adults; because the doors of employment opportunities are more tightly closed against young people than
othe,rs. A large proportion of them see no point in pounding the pavement futilely in search of nonexistent jobs, and hence go uncounted
among the unemployed.
Officially recorded youth unemployment has grown worse during the
post World War II years. In the 1950's, it averaged 11.3 percent; in
the 1960's, 14.9 percent; during 1970-76, 16.8 percent; in 1976, teenage unemployment was 24 percent higher than in 1970 and 56 percent
higher than in 1950.
To be a minority teenager and female has added 2Teatly to the
hazards of unemployment during the past 25 years. Their recorded
unemployment rose from 15 percent in 1950 to 31.2 percent in 1965, and
to 39 percent in 1976. During the past 26 years as a whole, the unemployment rate for minority girls averaged 25 percent higher than for
minority boys aged 16 to 19, and was more than double that for white
girls in that age group.
Including those no longer actively searching for a job, at least one
out of every two nonwhite teenage girls who need and want jobs remains out of work at the present time. This is a miserable way to enter
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into adult life in this the richest Nation in the world, a country fully
capable o:f providing jobs for all. The consequences o:f years o:f idleness are appalling to consider, not only for young women, but for
society as a whole. Rising teenage unemployment is closely associated
with rising juvenile crime rates and higher rates o:f teenage pregnancy
and illegitimate births. To deprive these young people of the chance to
use their abilities, to earn income, to get a toehold on the ladder of economic opportunity, and to feel needed, is a tragic and unconscionable
human waste our Nation can no longer afford nor continue to tolerate.
It will take years for many young people to recover from this current
period of intensive job deprivation. Many may never do so.



I:f national economic policies were adopted to reduce unemployment
to 4 percent by mid-1981, (3 percent for adults aged 20 and over) about
9 million jobholders would be added to the labor force, over and above
the number employed in 1976.
Based on trends during the post-World War II years, an estimated
60 to 65 percent of these jobs would be available to women~ for women
represent a very large pa1t of the reservoir o:f potential workers on
which a fully growing ,economy could draw. Unemployment among
women, both as recorded officially and hidden, would be reduced :far
more percentagewise than among men. vVelfare outlays would diminish
sharply, for many women now on public assistance would want employment and would be able to obtain it. Healthy rates of economic
growth would also encourage wage gains for those now earning subsistence wages, the majority of whom are women.
Women would benefit by increased employment not only for themselves, but also for unemployed husbands and secondary members of
their :families. Higher gains in real wages would also occur in a fuller
employment economy, as distinguished from a highly unemployed one.
Optimum real economic growth ( about 6 percent annual average,
1976-80), would sharply reduce unemployment, and higher real
wages would soon bring a large proportion of those now living in
poverty well above the poverty line.
vVhen workers are in growing demand, women will have far better
opportunities to compete for promotion and for entry into the labor
force at higher levels. While the achievement of full employment
would help greatly to redress current inequities, strong nondiscriminatory employment policies would need to be written into whatever
job development programs were to be enacted to achieve recovery
Improvement in a number of specific areas would do much to advance women's employment-both qualitatively and quantitativelywhether or not we achieve full employment. The most important areas
include antidiscrimination measures, child care, part-time work,
changes in social security laws and the equal rights amendment.
A good start would be to implement more effectively the antidiscrimination legislation and orders which already exist. This includes
title VII of the Civil Rights Act o:f 1964, Executive Order 11246 as
amended by Executive Order 11375 to eliminate employment discrim-
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ination by Government contractors, the Age Discrimination Act of
1967, the Rehabilitation Act of 1973 which requires nondiscriminatory
employment J?Olicy for qualified handicapped individuals, and other
measures agamst job discrimination in specific occupations and industries. Amendments to title VII in 1972 created an Equal Employment Opportunities Council to develop agreements and consistent
policies for the large number of Federal agencies involved. Some significant gains resulted, but there is still cause for concern about continuing functional overlap and inadeguate implementation.
The Equal Employment Opportumties Commission which administers title VII has fallen far behind in processing complaints of discrimination. It is reported that a backlog of more than 150,000 cases
has piled up, with the average complaint pending for more than 2
Numerous investigations of alleged irregularities and mismanagement are in process. It might be more useful to appoint a special
Presidential Commission to make an all-inclusive review of the present practices un<ler title VII and other antidiscrimination laws and
regulations with a view to recommending consolidation of responsibilities and elimination of overlapping functions.
The U.S. Civil Rights Commission, it should be noted, has recommended the consolidation of all Federal equal employment enforcement organizations into a single new agency to be called the National
Employment Rights Board. It would have both litigative and administrative authority to enforce one law banning job discrimination in
the private sector on the basis of sex, color, religion, age and handicap. Since legislative review and rewrite is clearly essential, this
should be given a high order of congressional priority.
The elimination of employment discrimination should be far more
vigorously pursued in both the private and public sectors. There are
many agencies in the Federal Government which have poor records
regarding the hiring and promotion of women. Monitoring of current
practices, which has become lax, should be improved. The Congress
itself should examine equality for women employed within its own
jurisdiction and should take early corrective action. Strong and effectively monitored guidelines to eliminate sex discrimination in connection with revenue sharing are also needed.
Child care is a second area of importance in lowering barriers which
limit the work opportunities of women. An increase in Federal appropriations could improve and expand day care services for the children of working mothers; subsidies would help bring these services
within the reach of women in the lower and moderate income brackets.
The Federal Government has an obligation to children and their
families to improve standards of both federally funded and nonfunded day care facilities. Every child has a right to be protected
against the hazards inherent in seriously substandard out-of-home
Greater availability of part-time jobs and flexible work hours is a
third area of importance to women workers. This would expand employment opportunities for many women who are presently full-time
homemakers, as well as for the elderly and the handicapped. It is
vital that the Federal Government itself serve as a pace setter and
provide an example to private employers in these areas.
Federal Reserve Bank of St. Louis

A fourth challenge to action is the need to amend the social security
system to assure equity for women and men. One existing inequity
affects working wives who contribute to the social security system
and earn their own benefit rights. On retirement, they are entitled to
those benefits, or to half their husbands', whichever is larger. Often
the earned benefits are smaller. In such cases, women's contributions
to the system give them no greater entitlement than wives who have
never been employed. Women workers have reason to feel they are, entitled to more because of the contributions they have paid. Furthermore, even if a working wife's earnings entitled her to a benefit somewhat larger than she would have received as a dependent, she will have
paid a disproportionately high tax for that extra amount.
Another type of social security inequity concerns a retired man and
wife, both of whom have worked. They may receive less in benefits
than a single earner family in which the breadwinner had the same
total earnings and paid no more in social security taxes. Still another
example is a retired man and wife, both of whom have worked, but
who may have paid more in social security taxes; nevertheless, they
receive less in benefits than a single earner family which had lower
total earnings.
Early passage of the Equal Rights Amendment in the three additional States, necessary to write the amendment into the Constitution,
would greatly ·assist in lowering remaining discriminatory barriers,
and is a major national goal.
Reference was made earlier to the :fact that women workers in a
severely slack economy become the subject of conflicting pressures between the seniority system on the one hand and equal employment
rights on the other. The seniority system provides very essential protection to all workers. It should not be weakened, although affirmative
employment action must be vigorously pursued. It has become increasingly clear that the full reconciliation of seniority protection and
affirmative employment action can only be achieved when there are
sufficient jobs for everyone. There is no adequate solution in rationing
scarce jobs, but only in achieving jobs in abundance. Full employment is thus vital.
Other targets for action include education and training, vocational
guidance, the rig-hts of homemakers and credit and insurance practices.
Continuing high levels of economic activity would enlarge our national capacity to meet human needs. If measures are enacted to assure
the achievement of close to full employment by mid-1981, more people will have jobs, more people will earn more money, workers,
businessmen, farmers, all people will prosper. Accordingly, our governments, Federal, State and local, will take in more in revenues
without increased tax rates. If we achieve the needed rate of growth
in the economy averaging annually about 6 percent during the 4 years
1977 through 1980, GNP over this period would be about 440 billion
1976 dollars higher, and total man- and woman-years of employment
would be about 9 million higher. Consequently, Federal receipts at
existing tax rates would be about $150 to $180 billion higher during
the same 4-year period. Coupling this with the reductions in Federal"
outlays for unemployment insurance and other unemployment-related
costs, it is easy to see how much more wo~Ild be available :for the great
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national priority programs which mean so much to women, among
Women especially have a tremendous stake in translating this
potential into actuality. A small part of a gain of this magnitude
would finance a large part of the national health insurance program
we so urgently need. It would make possible significant increases in
social security. It would go far toward improving housing and community development. Polluted land, air and water could be improved; increased outlays for education, day care an~ income SUJ?ports
for those in need and unable to work would be possible. All this and
much more would be feasible-including balancing the Federal budget
by 1980 or 1981.
One final point should be made. Unfortunately, a number of people
appear to have taken the position that women entering the labor
force should be regarded as "different" from men. Instead of focusing on how to provide more and better jobs for women, they argue
that women-and teenagers too--are less in need of jobs than men,
less serious about obtaining them, and less constant in holding them
when att_ained. Consequently, these people argue that we should accept a higher percentage of overall unemployment than years ago,
when the ratio of women to men holding jobs was much lower than
This position is demeaning to women. Whether women need jobs
less than men, or relate differently to the labor force, is not demonstrable and is entirely beside the point. On social, moral and civil
grounds, anyone able, willing, and seeking to work has the right to
work. This is good for the individual and good for our society. On
purely economic grounds, we should overcome all objections to and
fear of genuine full employment. The need of our economy and our
people £or goods and services will :far exceed even our great capabilities for the foreseeable future. Desirable increases in inoome and
living standards throug-h private economic expansion have no arbitrary limitations. Public goods and services in high priority areas are
woefully short of pressing needs. Our international obligations continue to demand a large share of our total national product. For many
years to come, we will continue at best to have less than we legitimately
aspire to. The theory that contrived scarcity is the way to restrain
inflation or to balance the Federal budget has been tried and has failed.
We must commit ourselves, and especially our national policies, to a
new era of abundance, justly shared.
We have the means and the knowledge to assure jobs for all who
need and want them, to end recurrent recessions, and to eliminate discrimination and inequities in employment, as well as in other aspects
of our national life. We need only the will and the galvanizing of the
national conscience toward these ends.
1. "Employment and Earnings," December 1976 and earlier issues, (Washington,
D.C.: U.S. Department of Labor, Bureau of Labor Statistics).
2. "Monthly Labor Review," December 1976 and earlier issues, (Washington,
D.C.: U.S. Department of Labor, Bureau of Labor Statistics).
3. "Handbook of Labor Statistics," 1974, (Washington, D.C.: U.S. Department of
Labor, Bureau of Labor Statistics).
Federal Reserve Bank of St. Louis

4. "1975 Handbook on Women Workers," (Washington, D.C.: U.S. Department
of Labor, Employment Standards Administration, Women's Bureau), bulletin 297.
5. "Money Income in 1974 of Families and Persons in the United States," current
population reports-consumer income, series P--60, No. 101, January 1976,
(Washington, D.C.: U.S. Department of Commerce, Bureau of the Census).
6. "Money Income and Poverty Status of Families and Persons in the United
States": 1975 and 1974 Revisions (Advance Report), current population
reports--consumer income, series P--60, No. 100, September 1976, (Washington, D.C.: U.S. Department of Commerce, Bureau of the Census).
7. "Female Family Heads," current population reports--special studies, series
P-23, No. 50, July 1974, (Washington, D.C.: U.S. Department of Commerce,
Bureau of the Census).
8. Current population reports, series P-50, Nos. 22 and 29, (Washington, D.C.:
,U.S. Department of Commerce, Bureau of the Census).
9. Special labor force reports, Nos. 13, 130, 173, 183, (Washington, D.C.: U.S.
Departm'ent of Labor, Bureau of Labor Statistics).
10. Economic indicators, monthly issues, prepared for the Joint Economic Committee by Council of Economic Advisers, Washington, D.C.
Federal Reserve Bank of St. Louis






I. Employment policies __________________________________________ _
A. Macroeconomic policy ____ -----------------------------1. Effect of fear of inflation ________________________ _
2. Impact of rate of economic recovery on women's em.
plo)'.men~ prospects ___________________________ _
B. M1croeconom1c pohcy __________________________________ _
1. Transition programs for inexperienced workers _____ _
2. Job segregation and price stability ________________ _
3. Job seniority ___________________________________ _
II. Why employment policies are not enough _______________________ _
A. Coping with dual responsibilities at home and at work _____ _
B. Modifying existing policies which are based on outmoded assumptions about sex roles_____________________________
C. Protecting the homemaker_______________________________
D. Creating options for younger women______________________
III. Conclusions___________________________________________________
Bibliography -------------------------------------------------------







Women have a long way to go before they achieve equality with men.
Nevertheless, they are on the way, and it 1s quite certain that the tide
will not be turned. MotivatBd by a new set of aspirations and needs,
they are seeking a more favorable position in the social structure, of.ten
challenging or modifying the fundamental nature of that structure in
the process. Society cannot help but respond. It is the nature of the
response that is in question.
Perhaps the major prerequisite to equality is economic independence.
,vith economic independence comes the power to influence events,
greater self-reliance, and the satisfaction of contributing one's talents
or resources to the world at large. These are the psychological rewards
which are pulling women toward more autonomous roles. At the same
time, a new set of social and economic realities is also pushing them
toward greater economic independence. These realities include a rising
divorce rate which means that women cannot necessarily rely on marriage to provide lifelong economic security, an increasing lifespan beyond the childrearing years which leaves older women underemployed
at home, and the increasing pressure to have two earners in the family
in order to achieve a more adequate standard of living.
These developments have profound implications for both individuals and social institutions, especially the institution of the family.
Public policies need to be shaped w1th these fundamental and farreaching changes in mind. In what follows, I have attempted to lay out
a variety of the policy issues which need to be addressed. The discus•senior research associate, Urban Institute, Washington, D.C.
Federal Reserve Bank of St. Louis


sion draws heavily on work recently completed by a group 0£ my
Urban Institute colleagues who are studying the issues.1 It centers first
on employment policies. But since women's role in the labor market
cannot be viewed in isolation from their role within the family or the
polity, it then goes on to ask what role policy should J?lay, if any, in
meeting a number 0£ other challenges. These challenges mclude ( 1) the
need to find new ways of dealing with the pressures facing the twoearner family, (2) the need to redesign a variety of existing laws and
practices which assume women are men's dependents-laws which have
been rendered obsolete by women's new commitment to work outside
the home, (3) the need to simultaneously provide dignity and financial
security for homemakers and (4) the need to help younger men and
women make more informed choices about marriage, childbearing, and
careers--choices which will greatly affect not only their own lives, but
also the kind of society which emerges in the next century.



It is, of course, possible that women's steady march out of the
home and into the labor force is a short-lived or reversible phenomenon. How much momentum is there to this trend? When will it
level off-as eventually it must? While no one can say with any precision what the future will hold, there are reasons for believing that
the rate at which women participate in the labor force will continue
its upward trend. First, there has been a remarkable shift in attitudes
about women's roles. To take just one example, the proportion of
female high school graduates who agreed with the statement "it is
much better for everyone involved if the man is the achiever outside
the home and the woman takes care of the home and the family" fell
from 75 percent in 1970 to 55 percent in 1974. Among female college
graduates, this proportion fell from 46 percent in 1970 to 21 percent
in 1974.2 In addition to such shifts in ideology, there have been a
number of longer run demographic and economic changes which arc
also likely to affect the number of women seeking to enter the labor
market. One such shift is in the timing of births and deaths. Women
born in the 1880's could expect the marriage of their last child to
coincide with their own or their spouse's death around age 56 or 57.
Women born in the 1940's can expect their last child to marry before
they are 50 and their own lifespan to extend well into their seventies. 3
Thus, the "empty nest" is a relatively new phenomenon, but if fertility
rates continue to decline, the nests of the future will be still smaller
and could empty out even faster than at present.
In addition, approximately 1 out 0£ every 3 members of this more
recent generation ( i.e., women currently in their thirties) can be
expected to end their first marriage in divorce. 4 And, even if they
remain married, the pressure to contribute their own earnings to fam1 These colleagues include Ralph Smith, Nancy Gordon, Kristin Moore, and Carol A.
Jones, who are the "hidden authors" of this paper. The views expressed here, however,
are my own and do not represent the opinions of the Urban Institute or its sponsors.
• Karen Oppenheim Mason, John Czojka, and Sara Arber, "Change in U.S. Women's
Sex-Role Attitudes, 1964-74" (University of Michigan, August 1975).
• Karl E. Taeuber and James A. Sweet, "Falntly and Work: The Social Life Cycle of
Women," in "Women and the American Economy," Juanita M. Kreps, ed. (Englewood
Cliff's, N.J.: Prentice-Hall, Inc., 19,76).
• Paul Gllck and Arthur Norton, "Perspectives on the Recent Upturn in Divorce and
Remarriage," Demography, vol. 10, No. 3 (August 1973).

Federal Reserve Bank of St. Louis

ily income will increase as the standard of living which a two-earner
family can enjoy becomes more common and invites greater emulation.
By March 1975, 49 percent of all husband-wife families had both
spouses in the labor force. 5 In short, the old assumptions that every
male job can support a family and that every female can count 011
being a wife and mother for a lifetime have weakened. Thus, even
where women have not been touched by the promises of feminist
ideals-and many have not-they are increasingly faced with the
challenge of earning their own living or of contributing to family
income. Once in the work force, many may find the psychological as
well as the financial rewards of working compelling. "\Vhen a sample
of 443 employed women was asked if they would continue to work for
pay even if they had enough money to live as comfortably as they'd
like for the rest of their lives, 59 percent said they would remain in
the labor force. 6
Given these trends, the question facing policymakers is whether the
increasing number of women who need or want to work outside the
home will be able to find employment. The answer depends on both the
overall level of demand in the economy and the extent to which the
composition of that demand meshes with the composition of the available labor force. Employment policies have a major role to play in
determining the outcome.

A. l',facroeconomic Policy
Looking first at the overall level of demand, what are the chances
that it will be sufficient to absorb a growing labor force? One idea,
which appears to be an article of faith among much of the public, is
that there are a fixed number of jobs in the economy and that if women
get these jobs, men will suffer. This concern is reminiscent of the debate
in the early 1960's about technological unemployment. It was argued
then that machines were replacing human labor and that this would
lead to chronic unemployment. Similarly, the new popular 'Yisdom
argues that as women move from home to marketplace, there will be a
glut of workers competing for a limited number of jobs. How much
truth is there to such contentions?
Unless one has lost all faith in the ability o:f monetary and fiscal
policy to generate a growing number of jobs to match the needs o:f_ a
growing labor :force, then, at a general level, such :fears seem to be misplaced. At the' same time, there is some basis for these concerns. First,
it is true that rapid changes in the number of people seeking jobs are
likely to overtax the short-run capacity of labor markets to absorb
them. Even when there is a sufficient number of jobs in the aggregate,
the difficult process of matching existing vacancies with the characteristics of job seekers is bound to leave some workers unemploved
and some employers with unfilled vacancies. One cannot use an English
• 'T'hls statistic PXclndes families In which the husband was not Pmployed. U.S. Denartrnent of Labor, Employment and Training Administration, "Employment anll Training
Renort of the President" (Washin11"ton, D.C.: Government Printing Office, 1976). tahle
R-3: Howard Hayge, "Families and the Rise of Working Wives-An Ov<'rvlew," Rnecial
Lahor Force Report 189. U.S. Department of Labor, Bureau of Labor Statistics (Washin~tnn. D.f'. : GovPrnment Printing Office, 1976).
• Angus Campbell, Philip E. Converse, and Willard L. Rodgers, "The Quality of Amer!~" n LifP: Perceptions, Evaluations, and Satisfactions" (New York: Russell Sage Founda1ion, 1!)76).
Federal Reserve Bank of St. Louis

teacher as a computer programer, or vice versa. Second, future increases in the rate at which women participate in the labor force may
not be correctly anticipated, and if underestimated, the result may be
inadequate macroeconomic stimulus and a shortfall in aggregate
Full employment is a moving target; it takes a growing number of
jobs to provide for a growing labor force, and women are currently
the prime movers of the target. If past trends can be used as a guide,
then 6 out of every 10 net additions to the labor force over the next
decade will be female. But this is •a conservative estimate. The rate at
which women have been entering the labor force has been accelerating.
Between 1947 and 1965, their participation rate rose from 32 percent
to 39 percent. During the past decade alone, their participation rate
has risen another 7 points, to 46 percent, or as much as in the preceding
18 years.7 And, during the recent recession and recovery, participation
rates remained higher than would have been predicted on the basis of
behavior during past downturns, cafohing most economics and macroeconomic planners by surprise. In fact, the unexpected rate at which
women have continued to enter the Jabor force appefllrs to have been
partly responsible for the failure of the unemployment rate to fall
more quickly during the recovery from the 1974-75 recession.8 One
thing which is clearly needed, then, is better forecasts of the size of
the female hbor force in order to prevent costly mistakes in macroe<>onomic policy. That need is currently not being met. The main source
of labor force projections is the Bureau of Labor Statistics. These
nrojections have consistently underestimated the growth in the female
labor force. For example, in 1973 BLS published a set of projections
that includPs a participation rate for women in 1980 that was exceecled in 1974.9
As an example of what could happen, suppose that policy planners
wPre to extrapolate the growth of the female labor force on the basis
of trends observed during the late sixties and early seventies. 10 Under
these conditions, the female participation rate is predicted to be 51.5
percent by 1980, and a 6 percent rate of g-rowth in real GNP would
bring the aggregate unemployment rate down to 4.5 percent by the
end of the decade. If, however, there were a million additional women
wishing to work (bringing their participation rate up to 52.7 percent
by 1980), with the same growth ~n aggregate demand, the unemployment rate would be 4.9 percent mstead of 4.5 percent by 1980. Our
research suggests that the "extra" unemployment generated by this
unexpected labor market participation would probably be more or less
equally shared between men and women since many men would be
displaced by the availability of a much larger supply of female workers. The lesson to be learned from this hypothetical calculation is
• "Employment and training report of the President," 1976, table A-1.
8 Ralph Smith, "Unemployment and Labor Force Growth" (Washington, D.C. : Urban
Institute, October 1976).
• D. F. Johnson, "The U.R. Labor Force: Projections to 1990," RpPch1l Lnbor Fore<>
Renort 15fl (Washington, D.C.: U.S. Department of Labor, ll'l73). e.nd C. T. Bowwnn nn<l
T. H. Morland, "Revised Projections for the U.S. Economy to 1980 and 1985," Mon1 b"ly
Labor Review, vol. 99 (March 1976), pp. 9-21.
10 The h:vpothettcal set of calculations reported here were worked out by RRlph Smith,
using- the Urban Instttute's labor market model. For details see Ralph Smith, "The Impact
of Manoeconomic Conditions on Employment Opportunities for Women," nrenared for
the U.S. Congress, Joint Economic Committee, series on "Achieving the Goals of the
Employment Act of 1946-30th Anniversary Review" (Washington, D.C. : Government
Printing Office, Jan. 3, 1977).
Federal Reserve Bank of St. Louis

clear; more accurate forecasts of the size of the female labor force is
one prerequisite to the effective implementation of macroeconomic

But let us assume that the growth in the potential female labor
force (that is, the number of women who would want to work if the
economy were at full employment) will be anticipated with some
success and turn our attention instead to the adequacy of aggregate
demand. It is, of course, the fear of inflation which largely inhibits
the full utilization of macroeconomic measures to achieve or maintain
full employment. While inflation can impose hardships on certain
groups and lead to economic distortions, the costs of a sluggish or
depressed economy may be even higher-both in terms of the lost output which idle workers could be producing, or in terms of the human
costs associated with loss of income, impaired self-esteem, and disappointed aspirations. We know that these latter costs are unevenly
distributed. What portion of the costs is borne by women? Some answers have been provided by my colleague, Ralph Smith.11 His findings can be summarized as follows. During the 1974-75 recession, the
number of people unemployed rose by 3.6 million; of these 38 percent
were women and 62 percent were men. In addition, it is estimated that
another 0.9 million people would have been looking for work had job
prospects been more encouraging. Adding these discouraged workers
to the unemployed gives an estimate of 4.5 million people left jobless
by the recession. Of these, 40 percent were women and 60 percent were
men. Since women held 39 percent of the total jobs in the economy
at the start of the recession, it does not appear that they suffered disproportionately. Rather, one could conclude from these figures that
the recession was an equal opportunity disemployer.
Smith's analysis indicates that the main reason women did not do
worse is because the recession struck hardest at industries and occupations in which few women are employed. ,Jobs in the construction and
durable goods industries declined substantially; neither industry had
many women on their payrolls. The major sources of jobs for womenretail trade and services-were least affected by the recession. Had the
recession struck all industries with equal force, about 500,000 more
women would have lost jobs. So a more pessimistic interpretation is
that the recession was an equal opportunity disemployer only because
of the occupational segregation of the labor force. In terms of maintaining their share of jobs in each industry or occupation, women
failed to do so. Our research suggests that this was more because women
entering the labor force had difficulty finding jobs rather than because
women already employed were laid off in large numbers.
"\V-omen's employment share rose, of course, in some industries, but
declined in others. The most notable decline occurred in the durable
goods manufacturing sector. In that industry-where massive l,ayoffs
occurred and where seniority rules prevailed-women lost about 100,000 more jobs in 1975 than they would have if the employment losses
had been proportionate to previous employment.

Smith, "The Impact of Macroeconomic Conditions."
Federal Reserve Bank of St. Louis


Smith has also looked at the likely impact of the rate at which the
economy recovers from the recessio·n on women's employment prospects for the rest of the decade. He compares two alternative recovery
paths, which correspond to the two sets of macroeoonomic assumptions
used by the Congressional Budget Office to make budget estimates
through fiscal year 1981.12 Under path A, which assumes a 6-percent
growth rate in real GNP, the unemployment rate would fall from 8.5
percent in 1975 to 4.5 percent in 1980; under path B, which assumes a
5-percent growth rate in real GNP, the unemployment rate would still
be above 6 percent in 1980.
As indicated in table 1, a relatively sluggish recovery would have
more impact on the male than on the female unemployment rate. 13
Under path B the male unemployment rate would be 2.1 percentage
points higher and the female unemployment rate only 1.4 percentage
points higher than under path A. But a comparison of their jobless
rates-which measure both discouragement and unemployment-leads
one to quite a different conclusion. Under path B, the male jobless rate
would be 2.3 percentage points higher and the female jobless rate
3.'3 percentage points hi~her than under path A. What these numbers
mean, in short, is that if fears of inflation or other factors lead to a
timid application of macroeconomic policy and if this retards the
recovery, many women who would have otherwise worked will not
have the opportunity to do so. Some, but by no means all, of these
women will join the ranks of the unemployed. The rest will join the
ranks of discourag-ed housewives, students, welfare recipients, early
~tirees, and just plain dropouts from the system. For the individuals
mvolved, the financial and emotional toll entailed is difficult t.o estimate, but likely would be considerable. For society as a whole, there
would be a loss of output and of the tax revenues which additional
growth produces.


[Effects of rapid (6 percent) versus slow growth (5 percent) in real GNP; assuming past trends in the labor force
participation rates of women continue in the future!
Path A rapid
Estimated unemployment rate for 1980:


Path B slow




~eaTea!~::::: ______ :::::::::::::::::::::::::::::::::::::::::::
Total ______________________________________________________ - - - - 4 . - 5 - - - - 6 . - 3 - - - - 1 .8

Estimated jobless rate for 1980:

i: f
:: ~
----------5. 0
7. 7
2. 7

~Tea!~: ___ : ______ :::::::::::::::::::::::::::::::::::::::::::
Tota L _____________________________________________________

12 "Five-Year Budget Projections, Fiscal Years 1977-81" (Washington. n.c. : Conl?re•sionl\l Budget Office, Jan. 26, 1976). These are not predictions of future economic
13 Working women's share of the gains from the recovery w111 depend, as already Indicated, on the extent to which the proportion of women seeking to participate In the paid
labor force continues to rise. It w111 also depend on their success In entering new fields. as
discussed In the next section of this paper. The estimates presented in table 1 abstract from
these two kinds of changes; they are based on a labor market model whleh Implicitly
assumes that past trends and patterns In the employment of men and women will continue.
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B. Microeconomic Policy
Even assuming a more healthy recovery along growth path A, the
overall unemployment rate would still be 4.5 percent by 1980 and considerably higher than this among women and other disadvantaged
groups. However, any attempt to push the unemployment rate still
lower by macroeconomic means alone would probably involve an unacceptable degree o:f inflation. In :fact, these inflationary pressures may
well reassert themselves long before even this low level o:f unemployment is achieved. It will be important, then, to supplement fiscal and
monetary policy with a more selective set o:f employment or income
(wage-price) policies. One can more successfully navigate between
the Scylla and Charybdis o:f inflation and unemployment i:f an appropriate set o:f structural measures can be designed and implemented.
On the employment side, these measures need to be targeted at groups
with above-average unemployment rates: Teenagers, women, and
minorities. With the possible exception o:f minorities, one characteristic
these groups have in common is a lack o:f recent labor market experience. Rather than moving :from one job to another, these groups must
make the more difficult transition :from school to work or :from work
in the home to work in the market. That this is a much more important reason :for :female than :for male unemployment is indicated
in table 2. Moreover, during periods o:f relatively :full employment,
people attempting these transitions usually account :for about half
o:f those who are out o:f work. In 1973, :for example, when the total
unemployment rate was 4.9 percent, the proportion o:f the unemployed who were new entrants or reentrants to the labor :force was 46
percent. 1 * Granted that this transition is difficult, that it affects
women more than men, and that it becomes an increasingly imµortant
factor for unemployment as economic conditions improve, what can
be done about the problem i
Adult male


6. 7

8. 0
4. 0

~i:i:f/gtyment rate _______________________________________________________ _
Reentered labor force ___________________________________________________________ _
Never worked before ___________________________________________________________ _


Source: "Employment and Training Report of the President," 1976, table A-25.


One approach would be to establish special employment programs
for inexperienced workers-programs designed to ease the transition
into the labor :force. For example, special apprenticeships at belowmarket wage rates might be established in a wide variety of fields. The
lower wages would provide an incentive for employers to hire and
train inexperienced workers. The Government's role could be oonfined
to certifying the training component and duration of the programs,
encouraging their development (perhaps through demonstration pro'-' "Employment and Training Report of the President," 1976, table A-25.
Federal Reserve Bank of St. Louis

grams or modest subsidy of development costs), and removing possible
barriers to the payment of below-market wages, including in some
cases, wages below the legal minimum. This proposal has much in common with the idea of creating a youth differential in the minimum
wage, except that it incorporates a more explicit training component
and is targeted at all inexperienced workers, not just teenagers. Okl<>r
women entering the labor force after a lengthy absence might be prime
beneficiaries, for example. As with the minimum wage proposaL however, some concern would undoubtedly be voiced about the possible displacement effects for experienced workers and more thought would
need to be given to the eligibility requirements for entry into the program and its possible direct and indirect effects.
If properly structured, special apprenticeship programs could also
help women to acquire the necessary on-the-job training to break into
new fields. Certainly, women's future employment prospects are likely
to depend as much on the composition of demand as on the overall rate
of growth in economic activity. Thus, we need to know which occupations are likely to expand most rapidly, and whether women will be
ready to move into nontraditional fields. The existing occupational
segregation of the male and female work force has been well documented. It is the primary reason for women's lower pay and may also
increase their unemployment. Although some of the segregation may
be related to women's less continuous work history, a great deal of it
appears to be a direct result of cultural stereotypes which affect both
employers' and women's attitudes in a mutually reinforcing fashion.

To understand the importance of this issue for the future, assume
for simplicity that the economy is divided into just two occupations;
one (which we can call M) is reserved for men and the other (which
we can call F) is reserved for women. Now assume that 5 out of every
10 new job openings are in Mand 5 in F, but that 6 out of every 10
new workers coming into the labor force is female. Clearly, this would
lead to an upward pressure on male employment and wage rates and
a corresponding downward pressure on female employment and wage
rates--unless women seek jobs and are permitted or encouraged to
work in the male sector. Moreover, since the upward pressure on male
wage rates is likely to be greater than the downward pressure on
female wage rates (because of institutional rigidities which inhibit
employers from cutting wages), such imbalances are likely to increase
wages and prices, even before all resources are fully employed. Thus,
occupational segregation makes it more difficult to simultaneously
achieve full employment and price stability through macroeconomic
The above scenario assumes that female jobs will not expand as
rapidly as the female labor force. The reverse is also quite possible, bnt
since the great majority of new workers will almost certainly be
women, the demand-supply balance is likely to favor men unless there
is rapid growth in the female sector of the job market or significant
new job opportunities for women in nontraditional fields. Whatever
the case, both a well-functioning economy and greater equality for
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women require breaking down the sex-typing of occupations. There
will be debate about whether this is best accomplished through affirmative action programs, through counseling adolescent women, or
through a general shift in socialization practices which affect even
very youn~ children, but probably all three will need to play a role.
The time rrames in which they will be effective are, of course, very
Affirmative action programs may have the smallest direct impact
but one which is at least immediate. Unfortunately, the effectiveness
of these programs has been undermined by administrative inefficiency,
the inadequacy of resources committed to enforcement, and a misallocation of these limited resources to the processing of individual cases
rather than to rooting out endemic patterns -and practices of discrimination.15 If implemented properly, the longer nm effects of these equal
opportunity programs are potentially great. The kind of incremental
progress which is currently taking place under their auspices becomes
the basis for a cumulative and more fundamental change in ·attitudes.

Finally, it is important to note that the level of overall demand and
the composition of employment interact in a number of important
ways. We have already seen that women did not fare too badly during
the recent recession because of their occupational and industrial distribution. As they move into male-dominated industries which are
more cyclically sensitive, the operation of seniority systems in these
industries will put a much larger fraction of the female labor force
in the 1menviable position of being the first to be laid off. One way to
reconcile the current conflict between seniority and equal opportunity
goals is to find ·alternatives to the use 0£ seniority systems, such as
staggered layoffs or across-the-board reductions in hours ·and pay £or
all employees. This has been tried quite successfully in a number 0£
companies or local government agencies.16
Such arrangements not only seem fairer from an equal opportunity
perspective but offer a number of other possible advantages as well.
Employers may find that reductions in time worked enhance hourly
productivity, ·and unless offset by higher costs for mandated fringe
benefits, or the lower productivity of less experienced workers, this
could even reduce unit labor costs. Employees, for their part, may find
that shorter hours, even at less pay, dovetail well with their own
preferences £or leisure over income or with competing demands on
their time, such as child care responsibilities or continuing education.
In the past, cyclically induced declines in hours worked have been
a principal catalyst for a secular decline in the length of the standard
workweek.17 The recent UAW settlement with the Ford Motor Co.,
points up ihe growing demand for a shorter workweek. In this case,
shorter hours are being demanded with no cut in pay. Over the long
run, such settlements ultimately mean less total output, and thus, less
u Barbara R. Bergmann, "Re(luclng the Pervasiveness of Discrimination," in "Jobs for
Americans", EU Ginzberg, ed. (Englewood Cliffs, N .•T.: Prentice-Hall, 1976).
1• U.S. Commission on Civil Rights, "Last Hired, First Fired: Layoffs and Civil Rights,"
draft report, October 1,976.
17 Juanita M. Kreps, "Some Time Dimensions of Manpower Policy," in "Jobs for Americans", EU Glnzberg, ed. (Englewood Cliffs, N.J.: Prentice-Hall, 1976).
Federal Reserve Bank of St. Louis

real income :for the workers involved. But workers do not lose their
jobs in the process, and this is an important point, because there is
growing evidence that it is one's employment status rather than ?~e's
income which is most highly correlated with such things as a positive
outlook on life, social integration, good health, and :family stability. 18
One reason there is a critical need to find new strategies :for dealing with the equal opportunity implications o:f seniority based layoffs in periods of high unemployment is because relatively little new
hiring takes place when the economy is depressed. And, since affirmative action has traditionally operated through the hiring process,
progress :for women and minorities is likely to be slowed, halted, or
even reversed if few or no new hires are taking place. In short, even
the best enforced affirmative action programs will not be terribly
successful in a no-growth economy.
To summarize, women's move toward greater economic independence depends on the simultaneous pursuit of two goals. First, there
must be a commitment to :full employment and a growth rate adequate to absorb all those who wish jobs. And second, there must be
a commitment to eliminate occupational barriers which lower women's earnings and employment opportunities and contribute to inflationary pressures. Pursuit of either of these goals in isolation from
the other is likely to :frustrate women's progress toward equality in
the labor market. Their progress toward equality will also depend
on the extent to which needed adjustments in, and redefinitions of,
traditional sex roles occur and on the wisdom with which public
policies impacting this broader area are designed. It is these policy
issues to which I now turn.





Although more employment opportunities are a necessary prerequisite i:f women are to achieve greater economic independence,
they are not sufficient. Public policy must deal with the continuing
reality of an uneven division of responsibilities between men and
women :for home and :family life. It must also cope with the dislocations which a rapid change in the actual or perceived status o:f women imposes on individuals, laws, and social institutions. More specifically, the attention of the Congress and others might usefully be
directed to :four areas.
First, we could develop policies which might help the growing
number of two-earner :families cope with their dual responsibilities
at home and at work. Second, we could modify existing laws and
policies which are obsolete because they assume female dependency
as the norm. Third, we might simultaneously retain or design new
policies which would protect those individuals (mostly older women) who disproportionately bear the costs o:f past discrimination or
o:f having earlier adopted a socially approved pattern of dependency. Finally, we cannot ignore those younger women, especially
among the poor and less well educated, whose life chances continue
18 U.S. Commission on Civil Rights, op. cit.; M. Harve:v Brenner, "Estimating the
Social Costs of National Economic Policy : Impllcations for Mental and Physical Health,
and Criminal Aggression," U.S. Congress, Joint Economic Committee (Washington, D.C.:
Government Printing Office, 1976).
Federal Reserve Bank of St. Louis

to be con&trained by their own often unintended or uninformed
investments in more traditional roles, including very early childbearing, early marriage, or choice of an overcrowded "woman's" field,
including "occupation housewife." Some discussion of these issues is
an essential part of the policy debate surrounding the increased
commitment of women to work outside the home. This commitment,
and our evaluation of it, hinges on the ability of individuals and
institutions, especially the institution of the family, to make the
needed adjustments.

A. Ooping With Dual Responsibilities at Home and at Work
As long as women have two jobs-one at home and one in the
market-while men have only one, it will be impossible for women
to compete on an equal basis with men in the labor market. A great
deal of research has been devoted to showing the impact of women's
more discontinuous and limited work experience, their constrained
geographic mobility, and the shorter hours they work on their earnings and occupational status. Moreover, time budget studies suggest
that women have less leisure, on the average, than men because of
their dual responsibilities. And, perhaps most importantly o:f all,
we need to be concerned about what will happen to children as fewer
and fewer of them can count on the full-time care of one parent.
There are a number of possible solutions to the problems engendered
by the double burden of job and family which so many women now
face. One is greater male-female sharing of housework and child care,
with the division of responsibilities reflecting the true preferences and
abilities of the individuals involved rather than being culturally predetermined. A second is a trend toward smaller families, increased
childlessness, and a general deemphasizing of home-centered activities.
A third solution involves delegating the care of children and other
household tasks to more specialized institutions: schools, day-care centers, commercial cleaning establishments, restaurants, and so forth.
A fourth possibility would be to monetize the work which presently
takes place within the family, perhaps providing salaries to all those
who care for young children, as is currently done in Hungary, or providing vouchers which can be used for child care within or outside of
the home. Finally, new ways of organizing work in the market-such
as more flexible or shorter hours, more conveniently located workplaces,
and less emphasis on transferring employees to new geographic locations-could help to meet the needs of two-earner families. In the
confines of this paper it is not possible to even begin to lay out all the
alternative policies which might be developed in these areas, their
costs and benefits, and their ultimate impact on social institutions and
people's behavior. Much more thought needs to be devoted to these
questions. But it is important that all possible alternatives be looked
at before social policy coalesces around any single approach or fails
to recognize the need for multipronged strategies. One alternative, of
course, is to do nothing new on the policy front. This alternative has
its own set of implications-neglected children? declining fertility?
lower female labor force participation? greater responsiveness of
private markets ?-which also need to be explored.
Federal Reserve Bank of St. Louis

B.Modifying Existing PoUcies Which Are Based on Outmoded
Assumptions About Sex Roles
The number of policies and practices that have fallen into this category are legion, although many are currently under attack or have
been recently changed in response to feminist demands, new legislation, or challenges in the courts. Examples include fringe benefit and
pension policies, child custody and support decisi<;ms in contested divorces, jury and military service, protective labor laws, credit granting
pracHces, and so forth. Of particular significance, however, because
they directly affect the economic position of all individuals and families, are our social security and income tax laws. Although these laws
do not discriminate against women per se ( except in the case of a few
minor provisions) they are structured in a way which favors families
in which there is a homemaking spouse over those with husband/wife
earners. Thus, individuals who do not pursue a lifetime of marriage to
one person, with each spouse performing his/her traditional roles, are
generally penalized.
More specifically, the social security system is plagued by two major
problems. First, since the Social Security Act was initially introduced in the mid-thirties, the labor force participation of wives has
increased threefold, with the result that more and more women are
paying social security taxes. Yet most face the prospect of receiving
benefits no larger or only slightly larger than had they stayed home
and contributed nothing to the system. As the number of two-earner
couples increases, it is likely that they will eventually gain sufficient
political strength to rebel against what is essentially a subsidization of
households with dependent adults by those without them.
A second problem stems from the fact that women who devote their
lives to homemaking are not insured as individuals, but only as their
husbands' dependents, putting them in a vulnerable position should
their marriage end in divorce. If the traditional marriage is viewed
as an equal partnership to which each spouse contributes valuable
goods and services over some period of time, then they should both
share equally in the retirement benefits provided by the husband's earnings over the same period. These retirement benefits need to be vested
in the individual rather than being conditional on continued "employment" as one man's wife. 19
On the income tax front, the principal issue is whether two couples,
one consisting of two earners who receive $5,000 per year and one consisting of one ea.rner who receives $10,000 per year, are equivalent for
tax purposes. Currently, the tax system treats them as having equal
ability to µay, ignoring differences in their work-related expenses or
in their leisure time. It also tends to discourage wives from
market over nonmarket work, since only the former is taxed. Finally,
because single individuals are eligible for lower tax rates than married
individuals. two individuals who each have a career and thus benefit
little from the income-splitting provisions of the current system, generally find that marriage increases their total tax bill.
A system of individnallv based income and payroll taxes-with no
dependents' benefits-would go a long way toward removing the cur19 8ome alternative mechanisms for achieving needed reform In the social security sy~tem are currently being explored by my colleague Nancy Gordon.
Federal Reserve Bank of St. Louis

rent inequities between one- and two-earner families. It would, of
course, create incentives for people to marry or live together to the
extent that such living arrangements are economically more efficient
(that is, to the extent that two or more people can live together more
cheaply than they can live apart). Such incentives may be entirely appropriate. Just as the tax system should encourage efficient forms of
business organization, so too it would encourage efficient living
arrangements. We do not give tax breaks to people who have preferences for more expensive cars. "\:Vhy then give tax breaks to people
who, for reasons of privacy or autonomy, wish to live in the more
expensive single person household i
On the other hand, an individually based social security and income
tax system would remove some of the advantages now afforded families with a nonemployed spouse: dependents' benefits under social security and the partial subsidization of homemaker services which income splitting currently provides. In effect, income splitting means
that the Government shares in the costs of supporting a dependent
wife, ns any affluent bachelor who takes on a nonemployed wife knows.
Unless one wishes to encourage such dependency (perhaps because it is
sometimes associated with the provision of child care services), then
this subsidization is not appropriate. Howe"\ter, some grandfathering
in of current benefits and some mechanism to insure the dignity and
financial independence of the homemakers of the future-although not
necessarily at public expense-deserves further exploration.
In conclusion, one of the challenges in reforming social security and
income tax laws is to eliminate current inequities between one- and
two-earner families while simultaneously maintaining some protections for those who have devoted some or all of their lives to homemaking. ·we turn now to a more extended discussion of the relationship
between public policy and the status of the homemaker.

0. Protecting the Homemaker
Full-time homemaking is the ultimate form of occupational segregation; very few men have ever chosen this career. Perhaps if it were not
such an overcrowded and sex-linked field, it would have greater value
and prestige. In the meantime, one cannot ignore the needs of women
who have chosen this occupation as their life's work.
As long as a homemaker remains married she presumably contributes
her services to the family and shares in the standard of living which
her unpaid work and her hnsband's earnings provide. The financial
support which she receives is compensation for services rendered. In
this sense she is being "paid," although her "salary" may be largely determined by the success of her husband and only loosely related to her
own efforts. The relationship between the two will depend on the extent
to which her own home-based efforts contribute to her husband's success and on the extent to which competition in the marriage ma•rket
matches higher-earning husbands with more accomplished wives. Both
spouses may agree that it is best for the wife to devote her time to child
care and other home-based activities while the husband specializes in
earning +-he family income. Normally, this arrangement works well, but
problems can occur for a number of reasons. First, because the arrangements are informal rather than contractual, each spouse must depend
Federal Reserve Bank of St. Louis

on voluntary compliance with the terms of the agreement. There is no
legal recourse, except divorce; should either party be negligent in performing his or her assigned duties. This informality also tends to
undermine the dignity and financial independence of the wife. Second,
some husbands are not able to afford homemaking wives. As Carolyn
Bell has reminded us, not every job can, or should, support a family. 20
And, as long as we have inequalities in earnings, this will continue
to be the case. Where one income is insufficient, then it may be necessary for both spouses to work outside the home, leading to all the
problems already discussed in connection with the two-earner family.
A third and final problem occurs when women who have specialized
in being wives and mothers find themselves "unemployed" in midcareer due to a husband's death, or more likely, as the result of a divorce
or separation.
The climb in the divorce rate has been proceeding at an unprecedented rate. One result has been an enormous increase in single-parent
families, especially those headed by women. 21 Between 1970 and 1975
alone, the proportion of all children under 18 living in single-parent
homes rose from 12 to 17 percent and most of this increase can be traced
back to rising marital instability. Nine out of every ten of these children live with their mother, and 44 percent of these female-headed
families are poor. 22
Policies are needed then to protect women and children from the
financial consequences of divorce. Most women who have devoted themselves to a homemaking career will not be able to earn enough to support their families. The least fortunrute may be forced to turn to public
assistance, while the more fortunate may receive help from relatives or
from their former husbands. But such support is not always forthcoming and it may be small in amount.
Based on new data from a national probability sample, we estimate
that about 40 percent of the divorced, separated, and single women elig-ible to receive child support or alimony from the fathers of their
children never receive such assistance. In addition, :those who have experienced a history of some support, often receive payments irregularly
or for a limited period of time.
Looking at just those women who have received suppor.t in a given
year, the mean amount of child support and alimony income is about
$2,000 per family per year in 1973 dollars. Typically, this amount goes
to support several children and meets about half of the family's subsistence (that is, poverty level) needs. In a given year, only about 3 percent of all eligible female-headed families receive enough in child support and alimony alone to put :them above the official poverty level for a
family of their size and composition.28
Many women who have chosen to be fu11-time homemakers believe
that divorce is unlikely (or always happens to someone else) and that
20 Carolyn Shaw Bell, "Should Every Job Support a Family," The Public Interest, No. 40
(summer 1975).
21 Heather L. Ross and Isabel V. Sawh111, ''Time of Transition : The Growth of Families
Headed by Women" {Washington, D.C.: The Urban Institute, 1975) .
.. "Marital Statns and Ltvlng Arrangements: March 1975," Current Population Report8,
Serles P-20, No. 287 (Washington, D.C.: U.S. Department of Commerce, Bureau of the
rensns, December 1975). "Household Money Income In 1974 and Selected So~lal anil
Economic Characteristics of Households." Current Population Reports, P-60, No. 100
(Washington, D.C.: U.S. Department of Commerce, Bureau of the Census, 1975).
23 Carol A. Jones, Nancy M. Gordon, and Isabel V. Sawhlll, "Child Support Payments in
the United State~" (Washington, D.C.: The Urban Institute, Oct. 1, 1976).
Federal Reserve Bank of St. Louis

'".hen it does occur, child support or alimony will be paid. The facts
cite? here suggest t~iat the risks are higher than commonly believed.
As m the case of social security benefits, there mav be a need to develop
new policies and mechanisms which insure that homemakers receive
their fair share of the return on an earlier investment in marriage and
a husband's career. In principle, life insurance, social security, and alimony or child support all help to protect the homemaker from the "unemployment" which divorce or death are likely to bring. Perhaps in
the future, husbands who have homemaking wives will be asked
to contribute to State unemployment compensation funds as well.
Combined with education, retraining, counselling, and other services
for the displaced homemaker, such protection could be a valuable buffer against the poverty faced by many fem ale-headed families.
Not all women who head families are the victims of a death or a
divorce. Many are younger women whose economic plight is the consequence of unwanted childbearing at an early age. In general, younger
women who have not yet decided whether to be homemakers, to have
careers, or to combine both, face a very different set of circumstances
than older women and their situation calls for a different kind of
policy response.

D. Creating Options for Yow1ger Women
Although traditional roles and occupations are not to be disparaged
if freely chosen, we know that young women often enter them with
little preparation, and with almost no knowledge of the alternatives or
of the consequences of their decisions. Far more easily than in the past,
young women can choose a variety of lifestyles. They have greater
freedom to engage in sexual activity before marriage; they also can
continue their education to relatively advanced levels. They have more
control over the size of their families and a much wider range of
occupational choices. If they seize on some of these new opportunities,
new options will be created for men as well. But with these new options
come the need to make harder decisions about sex, marriage, childbearing, and careers, and to have better information about the consequences
of various choices. Educators, the research community, Government
agencies and others have special responsibility to make sure that the
choices are both available and their implications understood. Furthermore, Government programs themselves should be scrutinized with a
view to determining whether they bias people's decisions in particular
directions and whether these biases are desirable. A young woman, for
example, who receives a Government subsidy if she has a child out of
wedlock but not if she marries, or has an abortion, faces what most
people would consider an inappropriate set of incentives.
In general, the point is that one's life chances are often determined,
or at least severely constrained, by decisions and events occurring at an
early age. One of the most critical events in the life of a young woman
is the birth of her first child. Depending on when and under what
circumstances this birth occurs, she may drop out of school, lea,·e the
labor force, go on welfare, or abandon a career.
Because we believe these consequences are important, we are taking
a close look at this whole area in research currently underway at the
Urban Institute. Some useful information has already been compiled
Federal Reserve Bank of St. Louis

by Kristin Moore and Steven Caldwell. One of their findings is that
adolescent sexual activity is on the rise. ,vhereas about 64 percent of
females born in 1950 engaged in sexual intercourse before age 20, 90
percent of those born in 1962 are expected to do so. 24 Unless offset by
the increased availability and utilization of contraception and abortion, this will lead to more adolescent pregnancy antl childbearing,
much of it out of wedlock, with possible adverse consequences for the
mothers, their children, and society. For example, pregnancy is the
most frequent single reason that girls drop out of school. Data for
1972 indicate that 80 percent of the school-age girls who become pregnant leave school and never return to formal education. Although
title IX of the Education Amendments of 1972 forbids schools receiving Federal money from excluding pregnant students, the heavy
financial and personal demands of child care often result in schoolage mothers never completing their education. Naturally, the lack
of education reduces the mother's earning potential and leads to
greater welfare dependency. According to our best estimates, at least
60 percent of the children born out of wedlock between 1954 and 1972
and not given up for adoption were on AFDC ( aid to families with
'dependent children) in 1973. 25
Contraceptive use among young and unmarried people is distressingly inadequate. Among teenagers surveyed in a 1971 study, fewer
than half used a contraceptive the last time that they had sex. 26 Perhaps the recent Supreme Court decision that minors do not need parental consent to obtain contraceptives will change this situation. Our
research does indicate that the availability of subsidized family
planning services reduces the number of premarital pregnancies. 27 Unfortunately, only about 40 percent of the U.S. women estimated to be
in need of subsidized family planning services actually obtained them
in 1974.28
All this implies that the public and policymakers need to acknowledge that teenagers are sexually active and in need of birth control
services. Given the inadequate use of contraception, legal abortion
may represent the best available option open to a woman with an
unwanted pregnancy. For low-income women, financing of such abortions through medicaid is essential. Recent court rulings suggesting
that such financial assistance is their constitutional right are a welcome
antidote to congressional backsliding in this important area.
Family planning and abortion are important not only because of
their direct effects in preventing unwanted childbearing and its immediate consequences, but also because they preserve so many other
options. Economic independence for a young woman means a chance
to delay childbearing until she has acquired sufficient education and
experience to make an informed and conscious choice and has the
resources to support a child either with or without the help of a male
.. Kristin A. Moore and Steven B. Caldwell, "Out-of-Wedlock Pregnancy and Childbearing" (Washington, D.C.: The Urban Institute, September 1976).
25 Ibid.
26 John Kantner and Melvin Zelnick, "Sexual Experience of Young Unmarried Women
in the United States," Family Planning Perspectives, vol. 4, No. 4 (October 1972), p. 8.
"' Moore and Caldwell, op. cit.
•• Alan Gutmacher Institute, New York, N.Y.
Federal Reserve Bank of St. Louis

partner. It also means the right to know about the pros and cons of
other alternatives, including careers in areas not open to women in the
past. Whether such alternatives are available depends, in part, on the
success of the employment policies discussed earlier. In this sense, we
have now come full circle.



Without job opportunities, everyone's options are limited. As I write
this concluding section, the overall unemployment rate is hovering
around 7 percent. This is not a full employment economy by anyone's
definition. We have seen that in the absence of a strong recovery we
can expect a slower rate of female entry into the labor force in the
future and continued high unemployment rates for both men and
women as they compete for a limited number of jobs.
I can think of only two reasons for accepting these consequences.
One is fear of inflation; but this is more an argument for developing
selective employment policies than for doing nothing at all. The creative design and implementation of such policies should be high on tlw
public agenda.
A second reason for tolerance of high rates of unemployment may
Rtem from assumptions about the welfare implications of this unemployment. Peop]e do not view the unemployment of a married
woman in as serious a light as the unemployment of a male breadwinner, or the plight of a teenager unable to find his or her first job as
equivalent to that of an experienced worker who has lost a job. I do
not believe we know as much about these welfare implications as
most people assume. We do not have very good data on the income
available to the unemployed, nor is income the only measure of hardship or of longer term debilitating effects, some of which are noneconomic in nature. The result has been a tendency to look at unemployment rates by demographic categories and to assume that these
categories provide good proxies for economic need. The discussion
would be more useful if we had a better understanding of why some
groups have higher unemployment rates than others and of the seriousness of these various types of unemployment for human welfare.
Finally, whatever their effects on the distribution of income and
we1fare, high unemployment rates and the discouragement of labor
force participation which accompanies them, imply a loss of real
output to the economy, with a corresponding reduction in the standard
of living. Many women, especially, are underemployed within the
home. They have some valuable domestic tasks to perform, but these
tasks may not fully occupy their time or energies once their chil<lren
are grown or in school. If there were more jobs avai]able-especia]lv
jobs with flexible schedules-many of these women would work. No
one knows the exact size of this pool of available resources. The
women involved do not get picked up in the unemployment statistics,
but they are underemployed. Such hidden underemployment represents
a lost opportunity and thus imposes a burden on our entire society.
"'\Ve can conclude that a full employment economy would make available more johs for women, with a corresponding higher standard of
li.ving for all Americans.
Federal Reserve Bank of St. Louis


Bell, Carolyn Shaw, "Should Every Job Support a Family?" The Public Interest,
No. 40 (Summer 1975).
Bergmann, Barbara R., "Reducing the Pervasiveness of Discrimination," in Jobs
for Americans, Eli Ginzberg, ed. (Englewood Cliffs, N.J.: Prentice-Hall, 1976).
Bowman, C. T., and T. H. Morland, "Revised Projections of the U.S. Economy to
1980 and 1985," Monthly Labor Review, Vol. 99 (March 1976), pp. 9--21.
Brenner, M. Harvey, "Estimating the Social Costs of National Economic Policy;
Implications for J\Iental and Physical Health, and Criminal Aggression"
(Washington, D.C.: U.S. Congress, Joint Economic Committee, 1976).
Campbell, Angus, Philip E. Converse, and Willard L. Rodgers, "The Quality of
American Life: Perceptions·, Evaluations, and Satisfactions" (New York: Russell Sage Foundation, 1976) .
Glick, Paul, and Arthur Norton, "Perspectives on the Recent Upturn in Divorce
and Remarriage," Demography, Vol. 10, No. 3 (August 1973).
Hayge, Howard, "Families and the Rise of Working Wives-An Overview,"
Special Labor Force Report 189 (Washington, D.C.: U.S. Department of Labor
Bureau of Labor Statistics, 1976).
Johnson, D. F., "The U.S. Labor Force: Projections to 1990," Special Labor Force
Report 156 (Washington, D.C.: U.S. Department of Labor, Bureau of Labor
Sta tis tics, 1973) .
Jones, Carol A., Nancy M. Gordon, and Isabel V. Sawhill, "Child Support Payments in the United States" (Washington, D.C.: The Urban Institute, Oct. 1,
Kantner, John, and Melvin Zelnik, "Sexual Experience of Young Unmarried
Women in the United States," Family PZanning Perspectives, Vol. 4, No. 4
( October 1972) , p. 8.
Kreps, Juanita M., "Some Time Dimensions of Manpower Policy," in Jobs for
Americans, Eli Ginzberg, ed. (Englewood Cliffs, N.J.: Prentice-Hall, 1976).
Mason, Karen Oppenheim, John Czojka, and Sara Arber, "Change in U.S. Women's Sex-Role Attitudes, 1964-74" (University of Michigan, August 1975).
Moore, Kristin A., and Steven B. Caldwell, "Out-of-Wedlock Pregnancy and Childbearing" (Washington, D.C.: The Urban Institute, September 1976).
Ross, Heather, and Isabel V. Sawhill, "Time of Transition : The Growth of
Families Headed by Women" (Washington, D.C.: The Urban Institute, 1975).
Smith, Ralph E., "The Impact of Macroeconomic Conditions on Employment
Opportunities for Women," prepared for the U.S. Congress, Joint Economic
Committee, Series on "Achieving the Goals of the Employment Act of 194~0th
Anniversary Review" (Washington, D.C.: Government Printing Office, Jan. 3,
Smith, Ralph E., "Unemployment and Labor Force Growth" (Washington, D.C.:
Urban Institute, October 1976).
Taeuber, Karl E., and James A. Sweet, "Family and Work: The Social Life Cycle
of Women," in Women and, the American Economy, Juanita M. Kreps, ed.
(Englewood Cliffs, N.J.: Prentice-Hall, Inc., 1976).
U.S. Commission on Civil Rights, "Last Hired, First Fired: Layoffs and Civil
Rights," draft report (October 1976).
U.S. Department of Commerce, Bureau of the Census, "Household Money Income
in 1974 and Selected Social and Economic Characteristics of Households," Current Population Reports, P-20, No. 100 (Washington, D.C.: Government Printing Office, 1975); and "Marital Status and Living Arrangements: March 1975,"
Current Po.pulation Reports, Series P-20, No. 287 (Washington, D.C.: Government Printing Office, 1975).

Federal Reserve Bank of St. Louis
Federal Reserve Bank of St. Louis

Federal Reserve Bank of St. Louis

Federal Reserve Bank of St. Louis




I. Sex discrimination in employment goes to court____________________
A. The Supreme Court's role: Long rather silent and now spoken_
B. Federal district and circuit courts: A critical look at title VII's
application to sex discrimination cases___________________
II. In fulfillment of the title VII mandate: A proposal for improvement__
A. Need for administrative resources_________________________
B. Need for counsel________________________________________
C. Need for judicial resources_______________________________
D. Need for change in judicial appointments policies___________


This article has a single aim: it proposes to assess the extent to
which the Federal courts have implemented title VII of the Civil
Rights Act, as applied to sex-based discrimination in employment, and
through a critical eye it seeks to recommend ways by which the Nation may be brought closer to affording and enjoying e4ual employment opportunity without regard to sex.
Only the most uninformed or partisan observer of Federal legal
developments in the area of employment discrimination over the past
10 years would venture to term the entire process either a stunning
success or an abysmal failure. Instead, an accurate description of
the outcomes of this process, centering upon legally initiated change
in the direction of equal employment opportunity, must range the
spectrum between these extreme characterizations of success and failure. W ~ must look to the hazy middle, where the realities-landmark
judicial decisions concerning discrimination in employment; thousands
of discrimination claimants without the means of bringing- their cases
to court; overburdened bureaucracies charged with policmg affirmative action; responsive institutions and recalcitrant ones-play across
a screen of evaluative description.
At the center of our screen stand certain persistent patterns:
Women workers remain disparately undercompensated, underutilized
and underemployed. Simultaneously, a greater and greater percentage
of women are seeking to join the labor force, and an increasing number
of women work for necessities. Ethnic minority women continue t9
face double discrimination, resulting in the intensification of patterns
of discrimination for these women workers. Changes wrought by antidiscrimination laws are virtually invisible in comparative studies of
the gross statistical measures of sex-based discrimination.
*Attorney an'1 teacher employed by Emrnl Rights Advocates, Inc .. In San Francisco,
Calif. A plalntitl's' counAel in severnl title VII cases, challenging a variety of employment
practices for sex and racial discriminn Uon.
Federal Reserve Bank of St. Louis


Yet it is the view of this author that the consequences of antidiscrimination laws in general, and of title VII of the U.S. Civil
Rights Act of 1964 in particular, have been formidable. Title VII
phenome:qa will be the focus of this article's descriptive section, because these phenomena are so highly relevant to the issue: where
does the female worker stand in the U.S. economy in 1976, insofar
as her congressionally created legal right to be free from sex-based
discrimination in employment is concerned~



Discrimination on account of sex appears in myriad forms, from
overt exclusion of women from particular types of work and management levels, through somewhat subtler deprivations of equal opportunity purportedly or actually connected to pregnancy, child rearing,
"averages" of size, strength and physical ability, and norms of preemployment experience and conditioning, to employer retaliation
against activist women who object to discrimination in employment.
The vast majority of female white-collar workers are tracked into
office and clerical work, and the vast majority of female blue-collar
workers are tracked into the lowest paid and least responsible positions, often as unskilled laborers. After more than a decade of title
VII litigation involving sex discrimination in employment, these patterns of stratification, underutilization and disparate compensation
remain generally unchanged in the Nation's workforce. 1
One factor to be considered in any explanation of the great distance between the antidiscriminatory theory of title VII and socioeconomic reality for women workers consists of the actual results of
title VII litigation involving sex-based discrimination. Let us take,
for example, the frequency of class relief in discrimination cases
brought under title VII. Case decisions reported 2 for the years 1965
through mid-1975 indicate that in only 13 percent of all sex discrimination cases have courts ordered any class relief, to wit, injunotions
benefiting groups of workers, back pay awards to groups, and related
remedies. (See table 1, below.) By contrast, 24 percent of all racediscrimination cases reported 8 for this period resulted in courtordered relief to classes. Nor has the rate of court-ordered class relief
shown an increase in recent years, in either race or sex discrimination
cases. ( See table 1, below.)
Awards of class relief may well be the :rp_ost accurate quantifiable
indicator of the applied strength of title VII in the courts. This is
because class relief is supposed to be awarded under title VII whenever a policy or practice of an employer, employment agency or labor
organization has harmed a protected group by discrimination, necessitating relief to the class to make it whole. Reality differs sharply
from this principle: class relief has been hard-won under title VIi,
and it is not frequent.
1 "A Statistical Portrait of Women in the United States," Current Population Report,
Serles P-23, No. 58, pp. 26-46 {U.S. Department of Commerce, Bureau of the Census,
April 1976).
• Volumes 1 through 9 of Commerce Clearlnghouse's "Employment Practices Decisions"
constitute the data base of tables 1 and 2 of this article. There is no publication that
reports all title VII decisions,
• See footnote 2, supra.
Federal Reserve Bank of St. Louis

Table 1 illustrates this proportion about the relative infrequency
of court-ordered class relief in sex discrimination cases, and about the
general infrequency of class relief in both race and sex discrimination
By type of case
Race discrimination cases

By sex of plaintiff(s)

Sex discrimination cases





1965 to early 1968___________________________
Mid 1968 to early 1970_______________________
Mid 1970 to mid 1971__ ______________________
Late 1971 to mid-1972 _______________________
Late 1972 to mid-1973 _______________________
Late 1973 to end of 1973 _____________________
End of 1973 to mid-1974 _____________________
Mid-1974 to late 1974________________________
End of 1974 to mid-1975 _____________________






Overall: 1965 to mid-1975 ______________





Period of decisions a


























1 "Class relief" quantified in table 1 includes everY order containing an award of back pay to a group, or injunctive
relief to a group, or goals and/or timetables or any combination of these remedies. 42 U.S.C., sec. 2000e-5(g) governs dispensation of these remedies.
• Because settlements made prior to trial are only reported on a sporadic basis, these figures cannot and do not include
settlements made prior to trial. It must be emphasized that most title VII cases do not go to trial; the adequacy and effectiveness of consent decrees in sex discrimination cases is a subject worthy of thorough and separate review.
•These dates in table 1 roughly correspond to the decisionmaking periods encompassed by vol. 1through 9. See footnote
2, supra.

Perhaps in the first decade of title VII cases, Federal judges primarily have been engaged in defining "sex-based discrimination in
employment," rather than in remedying it. I,t does seem that the first
10 years of this type of litigation have been absorbed in laying the
basic boundaries of judicial mterpretation of title VII where daims
of sex-based discrimination in employment have been at issue. To
assess the futuristic utility of title VII litigation as a means of achieving equal economic opportunity for women, an examination of these
basic judicially laid bounda,ries and their legal and societal significance is required. In this assessment, let us begin with the first decade
of title VII decisions by the U.S. Supreme Court.

A. The Supreme Oourt's Role: Long Rather Silent and Now Spoken
While deciding numerous cases concerning racial discrimination
claims under title VII between 1965 and 1975, until 1976 the U.S.
Supreme Court had offered its views in but one case concerning a sex
disorimination claim under title VII, entitled Phillips v. MartinMarietta Oorp., 400 U.S. 542 (1971). 4 The title VII race discrimination decisions of the Supreme Court cover a wide array of significant
issues, such as: When will a prima facie neutral employment practice
be found to violate title VII's prohibition against racial discrimination j 5 What must an individual denied employment show to prove
• Phillipa was decided in a per curiam opinion, remanding the case for a determination
of the validity of the employer's claim that sex was a "bona tide occupational qualification" (b.f.o.q.) justifying exclusion of mothers of preschool children from its employ.
Justice Thurgood Marshall wrote a concurring opinion, which endorsed a narrow view of
the "b.f.o.q." exemption In PhtlUpa.
• GriggB v. Duke Power Oo., 401 U.S. 4241 (1971).
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race discrimination? 6 When must back pay be awarded in title VII
race cases~ 7 Will an arbitrator's decision bar a race claim under title
VII? 8 When may or must a court order an award of retroactive seniority to a class of minority persons under title VII? 9 What is the relationship of title VIPs 1972 amendments to the Federal employment
system? 10
Toward the end of the first decade of title VII sex discrimination
cases presented to the Supreme Court, a group of cases 11 reached the
Court, culminating in the decision of General Electric Co. v. Gilbert,
45 U.S.L.W. 4031 (12/7/76) (hereinbelow, "GE v. Gilbert"). This
group of cases raised essentially one issue: Does an employer's exclusion of its employees' disabilities arising from pregnancy, from the
benefits of its disability insurance or sick pay program, constitute sex
discrimination in violation of title VII? By a 6-3 majority, the Court
in GE v. Gilbert held that General Electric's exclusion of pregnancyrelated disabilities from its disability compensation scheme did not
violate title VII, upon the reasoning that this exclusion does not
discriminate against women, either overtly or in effect.
In a dissenting opinion, Justice John Paul Stevens observed in
pertinent part:
... [T]he rule at issue places the risk of absence caused by pregnancy in a
class by itself [footnote omitted] ... By definition, such a rule discriminates on
account of sex; for it is the capacity to become pregnant which primarily
differentiates the female from the male.
45 U.S.L.W. at 4041.

Also in dissent, Justices Wil1iam Brennan and Thurgood Marshall
noted that, in order to reach its result, the majority had pushed aside
the reasoning of six U.S. courts of appeals and of the Equal Employment Opportunity Commission (E.E.O.C.) and that the majority had
"studiously ignore[d]" those parts of the factual record in GE v.
Gilbert that contradicted its conclusion./d. 45 U.S.L.W. at 4037--4039.
In order to comprehend the tremendous bearing of Gilbert upon
the status of the female worker in the United States, two areas of the
case's impact must be explored. The first area is specific to the central
issue raised by the case-now that pregnancy and childbearing may
provide legally respected bases for differential treatment of the female
employee, whether because of the cost of equal treatment, because of
the notion that pregnancy is a personal or family choice for which
employers or male employees should not have to bear expenses, or
for any other reason, a great loophole has been built into the foundation of title VIPs prohibition against sex-based discrimination in
• McDonnell Douglas Corf). v. Green, 411 U.S. 807 (1973).
Albemarle Pa,,er Co. v. Moody, 422 U.S. 405, (1975).
8 Alea,ander v. Gardner-Denver Co., 415 U.S. 36 (1974).
• Franks v. Bowman Transf)orlation Co., 44 U.S.L.W. 435,6 (1976).
1 Chandler v. Roudebush, 44 U.S.L.W. 4709 (1976) ; Brown v. General Services Administration, 44 U.S.L.W. 4704 (1976),
11 GE v. Gilbert1 discussed infra; American Telephone ,g Telegraph Co. v. Communication
Workers of America, docket No. 74-1601, 44 U.S.L.W. 3067; Lake Oswego School District
v. Hutchison, docket No. 75-568, 44 U.S.L.W. 3285; Liberty Mutual Insumnce Co. v.
Wetz-el, remanded on procedural _ground, 44 U.S.L.W. 4350 (1976) ; Nashville Gas Co. v.
/!/atty, docket No. 75-536, 4.4 U.S.L.W. 3254; R(chmond Unified School District v. Berg,
docket No. 75-1069, 44 U.S.L.W. 3459. After deciding GE v. Gilbert, the Supreme Court
granted certiorari to review the decisions in Batty and Berg, supra, which involve lsRueR


of compulsory pregnancy leave and of employers' refusals to permit disabled pregnant
employees to draw accrued sick leave benefits. 45 U.S.D.W. 3508 (Jan. 25, 1977). Thus, the
full implications of GE v. Gilbert for other claims of sex-based discrimination In the
pregnancy context presently remain unresolved.
Federal Reserve Bank of St. Louis

employment. Pregnancy and childbearing historically have generated,
or served to rationalize, a host of discrimmatory policies and attitudes
that burden •the female worker. 12 Indeed, one of the deepest roots of
sex discrimination is planted here: Since some women ( and no men)
become mothers, all women ( and no men) may be reasonably viewed
as temporary, economically unreliable and even whimsical participants in the world of nondomestic work; they are worthwhile as
workers only until pregnancy ( or even, only until marriage) ; the
costs of equal training, promotions, and other employer investments
are therefore wasted on them.
It is sensible to observe that this disparaging socioeconomic perspective upon the role of the female worker in this country's economy,
given the force of law in the context of the Supreme Court's determination in OE v. Gilbert as to what constitutes sex discrimination
under title VII, threatens to reverse every advance in the struggle
of millions of women workers for equal employment opportunity
through hw. To give employers the legal option of minimizing the
costs of their operations, on the circular ground that pregnancy
renders all women a risky or expensive labor resource, legally reenfranchises and reinforces the cycle of economic instability arising
from employment discrimination against women.
If the Court had rejected the invitation offered by the employer in
OE v. Gilbert, and i:f the Court had refused to return women to a legal
position of presumed unreliability in the work force, then future uses
of title VII would offer strength in the process of uprooting sex discrimination in employment of a magnitude comparable to title VII's
strength in the process of uprooting racial discrimination in employment.13 If Gilbert had been decided in favor of those discriminated
against, lower courts that have waffled or wavered from the straightforward purpose of title VII in sex discrimination cases would have
received an unambiguous prescription and direction from the Supreme
Court: Sex discrimination in employment can no more be legally defended by arguments about the expensiveness or hazardousness of affording equal opportunity than can racial discrimination in employ,
ment. Under GE v. Gilbert, the lower courts have received no such
Examination of the second area of impact of Gilbert, closely related
to the first, assures that the importance of the Supreme Court's decision
in Gilbert has not been overstated so far. In Gilbert, the Supreme Court
was called upon to determine whether the action of the Equal Employment Opportunity Commission, in promulgating a strong, decisive
guideline mandating equal treatment of pregnancy-related disabilities
by employers, should be given great deference by the Federal courts.
1 9 A thorough account of the multiform nature of pregnancy-based discrimination
against women was rendered to the Court in the brief amlci curiae of National Organization
of Women et al. on behalf of petitioner in the case of Liberty Mutuai Insurance Oo. v.
Wetzel, see footnote 13, supra, in 1975.
19 This article contains several references to the stringently antldiscriminatory interpretations of title VII made by courts deciding race discrimination cases. These references go to decisions such as those cited in footnotes 7-11, supra. The author surely does
not seek to imply by these references that all courts at all times have followed those
strict principles in race discrimination cases, but only that those strict principles have
received considerable articulation in judicial precedents, including a line of Supreme
Court decisions in title VII cases. This line of decisions has been menaced by the shadow
of Washington v. Davis, 44 U.S.L.W. 4789 (1976), but the basic rule of Grigg8 v. Duke
Power Oo. (see footnote 7, supra) still appears to hold a majority upon the Supreme
Court. Cf. Gli/ v. Gilbert, 4CI U.S.L.W. 4037 (concurring opinions of Blackmun, J. and
Stewart, J.).
Federal Reserve Bank of St. Louis

The Supreme Court's declaration that great deference is due to the
EEOC's guidelines, presented in its decision of Griggs v. Duke Po-we1·
Co., 401 U.S. 424 (1971), was tested for the applicability of this principle to sex discrimination cases in GE v. Gilbert. Now that the Supreme Court has invalidated the EEOC guideline that was at issue in
Gilbert, the authority of other guidelines of the EEOC as to sex discriminatfon-guidelines that condemn sex stereotyping, narrow the
"b.f.o.q." (bona fide occupational qualification) exception, prohibit
marital status-related sex discrimination, and so forth 14-has been
severely undercut.
The necessary generality of the language of title VII itself, which
provides little, if any, particularized guidance to courts in the process
of defining discrimination, often has been given specific meaning in
sex dscrimination cases through judicial respect for and application
of these EEOC guidelines. Yet the majority opinion in GE v. Gilbert
points courts away from these guidelines, leaving Federal judges (and
employers, employment agencies and labor organizations governed by
title VII) with the highly troublesome histoncal standard of equity,
to wit., "the length of their own feet," by which to determine what constitutes sex discrimination in employment.
vVorse, the majority opinion points judges deciding sex discrimination cases under title VII into a labyrinth: Under GE v. Gilbert, these
judges are instructed to look to equal protection decisions in order to
ascertain what constitutes unlawful discrimination on account of sex,
under 42 U.S.C. 2000e et seq. Since the Supreme Court's equal protection decisions concerning sex discrimination have been so marked by
expediency, weakness, and lack of commitment to the principle of legal
equality, a great majority of Federal legislators in 1972 saw the need
for passage of the equal rights amendment to the U.S. Constitution.
The court majority's gesture in GE v. Gilbert toward equal protection
decisions as a touchstone for defining sex discrimination m employment
must be viewed as a predominantly political and nonlegal message to
Federal judges. This unsubtle signal reads: "If you want to find your
way through (around) the forest of title VII cases, go lose yourselves
in the thicket of equal protection precedents." 15

B. Federal District and Circuit Courts: A Critical Look at Title
VIl's Application to Sew Discrimination Cases
The crucial implications of the Supreme Court's decision in Gilbert must not be permitted to overshadow a full assessment of lower
court dispositions of sex discrimination cases litigated under title VII
during the past decade. For it is Federal district and appellate court
decisions that chiefly have written the chapters concerning sex discrimination in the book of title VII, since 1965.
Generally, where employment discrimination on account of sex has
appeared to these courts in the form of expressly exclusionary poli" The EEOC's "Guidelines on Discrimination Because of Sex" are published at 29 CFR
sec. 1604.01 et seq. (1972).
15 Specifically, prior to the passage of title VII in 1964, the Supreme Court had not
determined that any of the instances of sex discrimination against women in the employment sphere which were presented to it violate.d the U.S. Constitution. Bradwell v. Illinois,
83 U.S. (16 Wall.) 130 (1873); Miller v. Oregon, 208 U.S. 412, 28 S. Ct. 324. 52 L. Ed.
551 (1908) ; Goesart v. Oleary, 335 U.S. 4'64, 69 S. Ct. 198, 93 L. Ed. 163 (1948).
Federal Reserve Bank of St. Louis

cies--e.g. Leah Rosenfeld and other women shall not be agent-telegraphers for Southern Pacific because most women are physically incapable of performing this job 1• ; Celio Diaz and other men shall not.
be flight attendants for Pan Am because customers prefer women 17such policies have been found to violate title VII. Likewise, where
employment discrimination on account of sex has appeared to these
courts in the form of overt reliance upon expressly sex-discriminatory
State laws, title VII has been held to have been violated. 18
Subtler, more implicit and more individualized forms of sex discrimination in employment, as well as situations in which the proof
of discrimination derives from statistical demonstrations of disparate treatment of women, have received far more uneven treatment
by Federal courts. While plaintiffs in sex discrimination cases consistently rely upon the strict rules that have been developed in race
discrimination cases under title VII, courts do not necessarily follow.
A few major examples should suffice to illustrate this ove>rall pattern
of judicial ambivalence toward nonobvious sex discrimination cases.
In -a rare title VII decision ordering affirmative action in hiring
and promotion on behalf of a class of female employees, the district
court made findings that the employer's discrimination against women had been conscious, and that it had resulted in total exclusion of
women from particular jobs.'" In 1976, the court of appeals vacated
this trial court's order of goals and timetables for hiring and promotion of women, declaring that the trial court had not specifically
found tha,t enough women were qualified to justify the goals, and
further proposing that there are differences between sex discrimination and race discrimination under title VII, such that:
. . . precedents from one area may not be freely interchangeable with those
of the other.
Ostapowioz v. Johnson Bronze Oo., 12 E.P.D. ,r11, 166 (3rd Cir. 1976).

The reasoning of the court of appeals in Ostapowicz is tautological,
in that it does not say why this case should not be governed by race
discrimination precedents. But, more important, for purposes of this
inquiry, is the candor of this appellate court about its view of title
VII as applied to sex discrimination.
Relative to comparable race discrimination cases involving discrimination in hiring, placement and promotions, the plaintiff females'
case in Ostapowicz was compelling and strongly proved, by both
quantitative and qualitative evidence. 20 Missing, at the level of the
court of appeals that vacated the order of goals in Ostapowicz, was
a sense of the absolute priority of eliminating sex discrimination in
employment that courts of appeals have repeatedly 21 recognized in
race discrimination cases.
In another recent and illustrative decision, a district court was
presented with statistical showings that the State of Wisconsin had
distributed merit and incentive pay in a manner that greatly dis1• Rosenfeld v. Southern Pacific Oo., 444 F. 2d 1219 (9th Cir. 1971).

D·iaz v. Pan American Airways, 442 F. 2d 385 ( Cir. 1971).
See, for example, LeBlanc v. Southern Bell Tel. &; Tel. Oo., 333 F. i>npp. 602 (E.D.
La., 1971); Hays v. Potlatch Forests, Inc., 465 F. 2d 1081 (8th Cir. 1972); Krause v.
Sacramento Inn, 479 F. 2d 988 (9th Cir. 1973).
19 Ostapowicz v. Johnson Bronze Oo., 369 F. Supp. 522 (D. Pa. 1973).
00 Compare, for example, Rios v. Local 6/18, 326 F. Supp. 198 (S.D.N.Y. 1971) ; Rowe v.
General Motors Oorp., 457 F. 2d 348 (5th Cir. 1972).
21 See footnotes 7-12 and 15, supra.
Federal Reserve Bank of St. Louis

favored female employees. Despite the strength of the numerical
showings of present discrimination against women employees b_y the
State, the district court granted summary judgment to the State,
holding that the plaintiffs must prove, and had not proved, that the
State overtly had discriminated against women in the past. W isoonsin
N.O.W. v. State of Wiisoonsin-F. Supp.-12 E.P.D. ,r11, 140 (W. D.
From these and other similar decisions in sex discrimination cases,22
it is fair to conclude that judicial standards governing disposition of
sex discrimination cases have diverged substantially from standards
developed in race discrimination cases under title VII.
At least one other 1976 decision brings this reality about judicial
treatment of sex discrimination cases out into the open. In Oram,er v.
Virginia OommMIIWealth Dniversity,-F. Supp.-, 12 E.P.D. ,r 10,068
(E.D. Va. 1976), the plaintiff was a male who sued under title VII
because he had been denied employment as a professor because of his
sex. The University's defense 23 claimed that it had hired two equally
qualified women pursuant to an affirmative action program. Despite the
plaintiff male's concession that the University had no improper motive
in its action 24 and despite his failure to prove that his qualifications exceeded those of the women hired, the district court held in his favor,
and declared that affirmative action "only perpetuates discrimination."
By contrast, women who have brought title VII claims against universities and colleges ·£or sex discrimination in academic hiring have almost universally seen their claims rejected,25 no matter how strong, on
theories such as the subjective sensitivity of decisionmaking in academic hiring, 26 and even upon the women's inability to show conscious
or overt bias against them. 27 In short, whereas women have won virtually nothing in the academic discrimination arena through title VII,
because of the express willingness of courts to give extraordinary deference to academic decisionmakers where women candidates have been
rejected or passed over, the plaintiff male in the Oommonwealth Dniversit-y case readily won, without having to meet the heavy burden of
proof of discrimination laid down in title VII cases brought by women
in academe.
This author urges that part of the answer to the question, "Why has
title VII not been consistently applied to all types of discrimination
made unlawful by this statute?" lies in the matter of militancy, and
in the prevalence among many judges of a different gut feeling about
sex discrimination than these judges have, or at least display, about
•• See. for example. Causey v. Ford Motor Oo., 382 F. Supp. 1221 (M.D. Fla.. 197 4 \,
revers!'d In part, 516 F. 2d 416 (5th Cir. 1975) ; Jurinko v. Wiegand Oo., 497 F. 2d 403 (3d
Cir. 1974) .
.. It should he emphasized that colleges and universities 1?enerally, which have wl<lely
reslRted affirmative action, certainly are not the best defenders of such programs when
challenged by white males such as plaintiff Cramer.
.. Of course, the university's motive is not dlspositlve: an employer in l?OOd faith may
still violate title VII. But the discrepancy between judicial treatment of this question In
Ornmer and In cases brought by women Is noteworthy. See cases cited In footnotes 28
and 29, Infra.
"'The chief exception to this pattern of denials of redress anpears In the !?ranting of a
preliminary Injunction to a female professor bringing a title VII AeX discrimination case
In ,Tohnson v. University of Pittsburgh, 359 F, Supp. 1002 (W.D. Pa. 1973), This case Is
still In trial, as of 1976.
26 SPe Faro v. New York Uni11ersity, 502 F. 2d 1229 (2d Cir. 1974): Green v. Board nJ
Regents of Teams Tech Univ., 835 F. Supp. 249 (N.D. Tex. 1971), affirmed 474 F. 2d 594
(5th Cir. 1973): Sime v. Board of Trustees, 526 F. 2d 1112 (9th Cir. 1975).
"'See cases cited in footnote 28, supr8'
Federal Reserve Bank of St. Louis

racial discrimination. Women are not ghetto-ized geographically or
residentially. Women have not rioted and died in the streets of the
United States, except as members of other groups. Women as women
have not been the subjects, objects, and sometimes victims of voter
registration drives, bus-burnings or school desegregation battles in
and ou~ of Fe~eral courts. To deny that these ~vents and_ processes
concerrung racism have had effects on the ser10usness with which
judges, including bigoted ones, view race discrimination in employment is to :{>retend that courts are run by machines, and not by human
beings. This past seems, in this respect, at the very least a prolog to
th~ obduracy of some courts being called upon to order an end to sex
discrimination in employment.
The difference in majority judicial attitudes toward sex discrimination vis-a-vis race discrimination is well-illustrated by another set of
~itle VII case developments; namely, decisions concerning the protestmgworker.
Percy Green engaged in unlawful protests, including a lock-in of employees and a stall-in of cars, at a McDonnell Douglas plant. McDonnell Douglas refused to rehire Mr. Green. 28 The court of appeals, in
deciding Mr. Green's title VII action for race discrimination •and retaliatory treatment, declared:
" ... if McDonnell's refusal to rehire Green rests upon management's personal
dislike for Green or personal distaste for his conduct in the civil rights field,
Green is entitled to some relief." (4 E.P.D. § 7742 (8th Cir.1972) ).

Percy Green's plight then reached the Supreme Court, and the
Supreme Court held that Mr. Green must be afforded the opportunity
in his title VII litigation to prove that the company's defense, that lie
was not rehired because of his unlawful protest activities, was a pretext for racial discrimination against him.
Protesting women certainly have not fared as well as Mr. Green in
title VII cases, even when it is com:iidered that he lost upon remand. 29
In several cases where female employees have spoken out agaj.nst discrimination (in no case by stalling-in or locking-in), they have received
a rude awakening in bringing their title VII cases. For example, there
is Stella Fogg, who began work at New England Telephone in a department where all males were supervisors, and all females were underlings. Defendants' agents repeatedly told Ms. Fogg that the promotion
she sought was to a position that could only be filled by a man. 80 The
district court denied Ms. Fogg relie~, stating in relevant part:
Mrs. Fogg had a knack for stepping on her supervisors' toes if they got in
her way. She was an aggressive, ambitious employee determined to push her way
ahead. She went over the heads of her supervisors in Boston by writing directly_
to the President of the Company ... Fogg v. New EngZand Telephone .£ Telegraph Oo., (5 E.P.D. § 8010 (D.N.H.1972).)

Other title VII decisions that have adopted the legally circular but
realistically devastating approach, that the plaintiff was not unlawfully discriminated against because she was too ag-gressive, teach an
additional lesson. Some of these decisions, showmg an injudicious
"" Green v. M oDonnelZ Douglas Oorp., 463 F. 2d 337 (8th Cir. 1972).
"'Green v. McDonnell Douglas Oorp., 390 F. Supp, 501 (1975,),
ao Fogg v. New England, BelZ Telephone cE Eelegraph Oo., 346 F. Supp. 645 (D.N.;H.

Federal Reserve Bank of St. Louis

preoccupation with what constitutes a desirable personality on the
part of a female rather than an attention to the issues of law and fact
before them, have gone not against women claiming sex discrimination, but, instead, against black women claiming racial discrimination
under title VII. See, e.g., Thomas v. J. 0. Penney, - F.Supp. -, 9
E.P.D., 10,130 (D. Tex.1975) (Ms. Thomas, the first black sales clerk
in the Beaumont, Tex., store, was found by the trial court to be "over
sensitive, over aggressive in demanding what she considered to be her
rights and thus demonstrat[ing] an attitude not conducive to harmony") ; Smith v. St. Louis Railway, - F.Supp. -, 10 E.P.D. , 10,
277 (N.D. Ala. 1975). (A plaintiff black female lost her race discrimination claim; the district judge noted that one o:f the :facts against her
was that she emphatically believed she had been discriminated against).
Thus, the double standard in judicial disposition o:f title VII cases
is not solely explicable in the terms candidly offered by the court of
appeals in Ostapowicz, to wit., that proof sufficient in a race discrimination case may be insufficient in a sex discrimination case. The factor of
the sex of the plaintiff, whether or not the title VII claim is actually
based upon that factor, must be taken into account in understanding
why title VII actions involving women often have not resulted in
principled outcomes.
Emphatically, not all sex discrimination cases brought under title
VII have been handled in the fashion demonstrated by the above discussion. A few courts have adamantly refused to apply different standards to sex discrimination cases under title VII than those developed
in race discrimination cases. 31 However, for purposes of this article,
it is sufficient to point out the fact that this double standard has sometimes been utilized, and that vindication of legal rights of women
workers is therefore a quite chancy venture.
I£ title VII is to become a reliable means of attack upon each of the
many kinds of discrimination in employment against women that
prevent women from receiving a full share of employment opportunities, the causes of this disparity in judicial application of title VII
must be found and removed.





There are many changes that need to be made if equal employment
opportunity in the United States, without regard to sex, is to become
a reality for all persons, and for women in particular. Congress can
initiate and sustain prerogatives as to only some of these changes, 32
The proposal of this author urges only those changes that Congress,
and no other authol.'ity, can accomplish.

A. Need for Administrative Resources
The year 1976 saw the closing of Government-funded title VII projects across the Nation. 33 The problems of the Equal Emplovment Opportunity Commission amount to nothing less than a vicious cycle. InSee, for example, East v. Romine, Inc., 518 F. 2d 332 (5th Cir. 1975).
For example, Congress has done much to commence and catalyze legal change toward
nondiscrimination against women by passage of the Equal Rights Amendment. While
Congress formally can do little to affect the State ratification process, it must prepare to
construct the legislative means of enforcement of the ER.A's guarantee.
88 For example, the title VII project of the Lawyer's Committee In San Francisco,
Calif., was forced by withdrawal of funds to close In August 1976. Other projects were
closed before the end of 1976.
Federal Reserve Bank of St. Louis

adequate resources in the EEOC have led to an inadequate work product, cited in justification of continuing legislative actions aimed at
diminution of financial support to the EEOC. It appears that attorneys for EEOC and other governmental agencies have not been
particularly successful in litigation where sex discrimination in employment is at issue. Table 2 shows this pattern.

Type of case





Total number_......................................................





Procedu raI dismissal• granted (percent)...............................
Procedural dismissal reversed on appeal (percent).....................
Class certification denied (percent)....................................
Class certification denial reversed on appeal............................
Individual relief denied (percent).....................................
Class relief denied (percent)..........................................
Denial of relief reversed on appeal (percent)...........................
Class certification granted (percent)...................................
Individual backpay granted (percent)..................................
Class backpay granted (percent)......................................
Individual injunction granted (percent).................. ••••.••••••••
Class injunction granted (percent).....................................
lloal and timetables ordered (percent).................................
Settlement with class relief approved (percent).........................
Award of relief reversed on appeal....................................

8. 62
1. 72
10. 34
18. 97
60. 34
10. 34
63. 79
20. 69
8. 62

5. 88
5. 88
5. 88
5. ES
5. 88
5. 88

8. 06
1. 61
6. 45
9. 68
17. 74
56. 45
9. 68
59. 68
19. 35
8. 06

7. 69
7. 69
7. 69
7. 69

------ - -69.10. 34
64. 71
11. 29

• See footnotes 2 and 6, supra.
• The category "procedural dismissal" as used herein includes all premerits dismissals of ar.tions on FRCP rule 12
grounds, except dismissals of parties defendant based upon failure to name them in the EEOC charge.

Of course, funding is not necessarily the full answer to changing
the pattern of losses shown in table 2. It is highly likely that the
same simple of priority of ending sex discrimination that has
impaired judicial forces (see section I, above) has rendered the EEOC
and other supposed enforcers of legal prohibitions against sex discrimination m employment less than adequately dedicated to this
B. Need jO'I' Oounsel
Title VII provides that a court may appoint counsel to claimants
of discrimination in appropriate cases. 42 United States Code, section
2000e-5(f) (1). This judicial power is useless without a budget. The
worker who is impoverished by reason of discrimination is usually
unable to secure counsel; this group of people, many thousands of
whom are women, actually have no rights under title VII until they
have lawyers to represent them. Furthermore, even the middle-income
claimant often cannot afford the tremendous litigation costs ( attorneys, court reporters, statistical experts, production of documents)
necessary to fight against discriminating institutions and corporations.
Also, as long as the likelihood of success on the merits of a sex discrimination case is made unpredictable by the phenomenon of judicial reinforcement of discrimination ( see section I, above), the discerning lawyer cannot afford to take these important, difficult cases of sex
discrimination in employment upon the contingency that attorney's
fees might be awarded to him/her under 42 United States Code, section
Federal Reserve Bank of St. Louis

2000e-5 (k). Finally, the amounts of such awards are nothing short of
erratic, as much reflecting the variation in judicial dedication to the
importance of title VII litigation as reflecting the uniqueness of this
0. Need for Judicial Resources
Title VII litigation appears to constitute an increasing proportion
of the Federal Judicial workload. Reactions to this growth have included efforts to curtail the availability of class actions,84 to impose
new procedural barriers upon title VII claimants,85 to restrict certain
groups' access under title VII altogether, 36 and even to characterize
discriminatory policies and practices as not legally actionable in order
to prevent the hypothesized deluge of similar cases. 87 These judicial
reactions become the beginning of a vicious cycle, as appellate court;$
must increasingly bear the escalating responsibility of reviewing such
judicially engrafted inhibitions upon the force of title VII. Increases
of human and financial resources to the Federal judiciary must be
designed b_y Congress to match the court's title VII workload, if the
law is to be enforced.

D. Need for Change in Judicial Appointments Policies
As a constitutional matter, Congress retains the power and responsibility of screening, and of accepting or rejecting, every appointee to
the Federal bench. As a practical matter, this author is informed that
these judicial appointments involve big-time wheeling, dealing, tradeoffs, 2-for-l's, partisan bargains, and an array of other :political strategies, between interested Senators and the President m particular.
This progress is objectionable insofar as the focus of this article is
concerned because of its result: female and minority candidates are
disproportionately excluded from consideration in this process of
divvying up the Federal bench.
As of 1975, to the best of this author's knowledge, there were five ( 5)
female district judges and one (1) female Federal appellate court
judge, out of over 600 on the Federal bench. Of these six ( 6) , one was
a black female. As four members of the U.S. Supreme Court observed,
in Frontiero v. Richardson in 1973 : 88
It is true, of course, that when viewed in the abstract, women do not constitute
a small and powerless minority. Ne-vertheless, in part because of past discrimina- ·
tion, women are vastly underrepresented in this Nation's decisionmaking councils. There has never been a female President, nor a female member of this Court..
Not a single woman presently sits in the U.S. Senate, and only 14 women hold
seats in the House of Representatives. And, as appellants point out, this underrepresentation is present throughout all levels of our State and Federal
.. See, for example, Rich v. Martin-Marietta Corp., 522 F. 2d 333, 341 (10th Cir. 1975).
( "If classes were always limited as they were in this case, it would ell'ectively make

rule 23 a nullity. It is understandable that hard pressed trial courts would not consider
this too unfavorable a result • • *").
a& See, for example, McDonald v. General MillB, Inc., 387 F. Supp. 24 (E.D. Calif. 1974),
vacated In part, - F. Supp.-, 9 E.P.D. para. 9868 (E.D. Cal. 1974).
•• See Hackley v. Johnson, 360 F. Supp, 1247, 1249 (at footnote 2) (D.D.C. 1973),
reversed and remanded, 520 F. 2d 108 (D.C. Cir. 1975).
87 See, for example, MiZZer v. Bank of America, 418 F. Supp. 233, 236 (N.D. Calif. 1976).
"• • • it would not be difficult to foresee a Federal challenge based on alleged sexmotivated considerations of the complalntant's supervisor in every case of a lost promotion, transfer, demotion, or dismissal • • • [s]uch beini the case, it would seem wise
for the courts to refrain from delving into these matters •
•• 411 U.S. 677 (1973).
Federal Reserve Bank of St. Louis

Whatever the details of the Federal judicial appointive process may
be at any given time, qualified women overwhelmingly have been excluded at all stages. This author proposes that there is one and only
one way to achieve full and fair inclusion of women on the Federal
bench. Affirmative action, which should be understood as a series of
sustained and concrete efforts at every stage toward the goal of a representative Federal bench, must be engaged m by those legislators having
actual authority and influence over judicial appointments. In this
regard, a relentlessly hard look must be taken at traditional evaluative
sources of candidates, such as the American Bar Association, which is
an organization that has only just begun to make efforts to overcome
its own profound, systemic sex and racial discrimination. These indispensable steps toward overcoming the long history of discrimination
against females and minorities in Federal judicial appointments cannot be effectively taken by any group save our Federal legislators.
There are few if any valid alternatives to the approach of express
congressional intervention to achieve inclusion of women and minority
persons in the Federal judiciary. Because jury trials generally are
unavailable in title VII actions, 39 the litigative option of a jury trial
for avoiding a biased Federal judge is essentially foreclosed in these
cases; and, of course, the effectiveness of jury trials as a strategy of
avoiding bias in court trials turns upon the debatable premise that a
number of jurors will be likelier than a given judge to treat a title VII
action without sex-based or other classificatory biases of their own.
Nor do proceedings to disqualify sexist or racist judges from hearing
title VII actions generally offer a feasible alternative for avoiding
biased triers, both because of the political delicacy of such proceedings 40 and because of the sheer difficulty of proving bias in the event
of a refusal by the court to disqualify itself. 41
To the extent that judicial prejudice toward women, minorities, and
other discriminated-against groups constitutes a psychologically deeprooted phenomenon, surely the approach of affirmative action in judicial appointments can be criticized for its nonresponsiveness to some
of those dimensions. The strongest of such criticisms is that those Federal judges already appointed will at best be encouraged indirectly to
reconsider their biases, through contact with female and minority
judges, and that even this ameliorative effect is neither certain 42 nor
controllable. As a related matter, the extraordinary and paradoxical 43
•• Cf. Ourt-is v. Loether, 415 U.S. 189 (1974) ; but see Albemarle Paper Oo. v. Moody,
cited at footnote 9, supra. ( dissenting opinion of Rehnquist, J.).
•• The author believes that a motion to disqualify a Federal judge on the ground of bias
is almost universally unwelcome, not only to the judge concerned, but to those who
would have to hear that judge's title VII docket if bias were admitted.
,1 If a judge refuses to disqualify himself (herself) for bias under 18 U.S.C. 144, another
judge of the court may hear the evidence of bias. See, for example, U.S. v. Garramone, 374 F.
Supp. 256, 258 (E.D. Pa. 1974), stating: "Sec. 144 contemplates a bias or prejudice
stemming from religious, ethnic, sociological, or other similar extrajudicial grounds."
One experienced Federal trial attorney, who will remain anonymous, reports: "To disqualify a Federal judge for bias against your client, you must prove that the judge burned
your client in effigy for each of 30 days in a row." Perhaps the danger of forum-shopping
via disqualification proceedings under sec. 144 accounts for this result; nonetheless, the
implication for the problem at hand ts inescapable.
•• The opposite effect may occur, to the degree that contact with the targets of bias can
inflame or exaggerate that bias.
'"Quite ironically, the only title VII action tn which a motion for refusal has resulted
tn a written opinion, denying said motion, Blank v. Sullivan & Oromwell, - F. Supp. - , 19
E.P.D. par. 10,365 (S.D.N.Y. 1975), is before Judge Constance Baker Motley of the
U.S. District Court for the Southern District of New York; counsel for defendants therein
grounded his motion to disqualify Judge Motley in part upon the fact that Judge Motley
ts a black female.
Federal Reserve Bank of St. Louis

pressure upon some female and minority judges to resist any appearance of "compensatory" bias may stalemate the transition from categorical bias to individualized fairness for some time.
Finally, the criticism is well taken that the part of affirmative action
in judicial appointments which goes directly to consideration of a
candidate's personal biases is the most difficult part to achieve, and
may be far more crucial to the realization of change than the "easier"
part of goals and timetables.
Nonetheless, the proposal of affirmative action in Federal judicial
appointments embodies a value that transcends all such pragmatic
criticisms as to its mechanical difficulties and political feasibility. Were
the United States judiciary made subject in its composition to the
affirmative action principle, there is no question that Federal enforcement of antidiscrimination law, particularly through the judiciary,
would be given the incomparable credibility and strength that arises
from the authority doing unto itself that which it is doing unto others.
Federal Reserve Bank of St. Louis

By MAncu



A. Title VII of the 1964 Civil Rights Act________________________________
B. The Equal Pay Act of 1963__________________________________________
1. Legal interpretation of the act_______________________________
2. Effectiveness of the Equal Pay Act___________________________
C. Executive Order 11246______________________________________________
1. Enforcement of the Executive order__________________________
2. Effectiveness of the order____________________________________
D. Title IX ---------------------------------------------------------E. Effect of the equal rights amendment________________________________
F. Conclusion --------------------------------------------------------


That sex discrimination in employment has been a widespread practice is beyond dispute. That pervasive sex discrimination in the workplace is still a critical problem also cannot be questioned. 1 It is important, therefore, to assess the effectiveness of the existing legal remedies
available to combat sex discrimination in employment in order to determine whether they adequately serve their intended purposes.
Title VII of the 1964 Civil Rights Act 2 has played a leading role as
the vehicle through which courts have defined employment practices
that are considered sex discriminatory, and through which courts
have provided relief to those discriminated against. However, there are
other Federal laws which prohibit sex discrimination in employment,
and which provide alternate or supplementary options to title VII.
In certain respects, these laws have advantages over title VII, either
because of the sanctions they provide or because of the agencies charged
with their enforcement. However, in order to review the effectiveness
of these alternatives, it would be useful to describe these laws and their
relationship to title VII.





1964 CIVIL



Title VII prohibits discrimination by employers in their employment practices on the basis of sex. It is interpreted and enforced by the
Equal Employment Opportunities Commission (EEOC).
•An attorney with the Women's Rights Project of the Center for Law and Social Policy
in Washington, D.C., and a 1970 graduate of the University of Pennsylvania Law School.
••A 2d year student at the University of Pennsylvania Law School and a student intern
at the Center for Law and Social Policy.
1 Women who worked at year-round tull-time jobs in 1974 earned only 57 cents for
every dollar earned by men. Just as startling, in 1974 women with 4 years of college
education had lower incomes than men who had completed only the ei~hth grade. U.S.
Department of Labor, Employment Standards Administration.I. Womens Bureau. ",The
Earnings Gap Between Wome.n and Men" (Washington, D.1..:.: Government Printing
Office 1976).
• 42 U.S.C. sec. 2000e. A paper in this compendium prepared by Mary C. Dunlap, "The
Legal Road to Equal Employment Opportunity: A Critical View,"· discusses the elfecttveness of title VII a:s a remedy to sex discrimination.
Federal Reserve Bank of St. Louis


The EEOC has the authority to investigate complaints, make a finding as to whether unlawful discrimination occurred, and if so, Ito seek
a remedy in court. I:f after a specified time period EEOC has not investigated a complaint, a comJ?lainant may seek a "right to sue letter"
:from the agency, go to court directly and sue the employer. I:f successful, the individual discriminated against can receive relief :for the discrimination suffered as well as reimbursement of the costs of the suit,
including attorneys' fees. This right to cour:t redress as individuals or
through class actions, including the possibility of recovery of attorneys'
fees if, has been the critical reason why title VII has been one
of the most effective tools available.
However, title VII has had only limited success. In part, the effectiveness of the VII is hampered because EEOC has been unable to
shoulder the major burden of securin~ compliance with the law. An insufficient budget and administrative ineptitude have been responsible
for EEOC's inability to mount an aggressive enforcement campaign.
Instead, enforcement has been left to the private individuals who have
been discriminated against, through private lawsuits in courts. The
provision of an award of attorneys' fees to ·successful plaintiffs has
facilitated access to courts, at least to some degree.
However, private groups and individuals are ill-equipped to shoulder
the enforcement burden alone. Those discriminated against are often
unable, for financial and other reasons, to secure lawyers and to press
their claims in court. In addition, the harrassment and intimidation
suffered by complainants is a further hindrance to their willingness
and ability to go to court. Therefore, since EEOC plays such a limited
role, and those discriminated against face serious obstacles in going to
court for redress, very few instances of discrimination are ever exposed
and remedied.
Moreover, because of the design of title VII, little incentive is given
to employers to eliminate discriminatory practices before they are
sued. In large part, this is because title VII remedies are mainly
prospective in nature, with back pay as the major exception. There are
no penalties available under the act. An employer therefore has little
to lose by waiting to change discriminatory practices until forced to
do so by a court. Back salary would have been paid by a nondiscriminating employer in any event, and any future changes ordered by a
court presumably also would have been instituted by an employer
seeking voluntarily to eliminate discriminatory practices. By waiting
for a court to order back pay, the company has the use of the funds in
the meantime. And, of course, there are good possibilities of settling
a case on a compromise basis, or of a company's winning even if it has
discriminated. This virtual absence of any sanction for noncompliance,
coupled with relatively few cases ever brought to court, accounts for
the relative ineffectiveness of title VII.



The Equal Pay Act (EPA) passed in 1963, was the first Federal
law to prohibit wage discrimination by sex, despite the fact that many
such bills had been introduced prior to that time. Unlike title VII
passed the following year, the EPA does not touch upon any area of
employment discrimination outside the realm of compensation. Its
enactment was deemed necessary in light of the fact that women, who

• 29 U.S.C. sec. 206(d).
Federal Reserve Bank of St. Louis


then constituted one-third of the labor force, were earning an average
of only 60 percent of the average wage of men.4 It is, of course, a sad
commentary that 14 years after the passage of the act, women now earn
only 5'7 percent of the average wages for men.
The EPA mandates equal pay for equal work on jobs requiring
equal skill, e:ffort and responsibility that are performed under similar
working conditions within any establishment. Such differentials are
permissible, however, if based upon seniority, merit or incentive systems or any factor other than sex. Employers may not bring their
establishments into compliance by means of lowering the wages earned
by any group of employees.
EPA does not cover as large a number of employees as does title
VII. However, the exemptions to coverage have been narrowed in
recent years. 5 Originally, 11 categories of employees were not subject
to the act. 6 Taking 19'72 as a sample year, there were an estimated 2
mnJion enterprises covered with more than 46 million employees
a:ffected. 7 The EPA was amended by the Education Amendments
Act of 1972 to include executive, administrative, and professional employees and outside salespersons.8 Moreover, in 19'74, further
amendments included additional State and local government emplovees, most Federal employees and others.9
Employees who feel they have a claim under the EPA may opt to
bring suit for back wages,10 liquidated damages including double damages for willful violations,11 attorney fees and court costs through a
• Statement made by President Kennedy upon sliming the EPA on June 10, 19113, cited
In Albert A. Ross and Frank V. McDermott, Jr., "The Equal Protection Act of 19611: A
Decade of Enforcement," 16 Boston College Industrial and Commercial Law Rev. 1-73
(November 1974) (hereinafter "Ross and McDermott article").
5 It has bPen estimated that three-fourths of the emploved nonsupervlRory workforcE',
exclnil!ng outside sales workers, and almost seven-eighths of the nonsupervisory emplovPeR,
excluding outside sales workers in the private sector, were covered by the act. See "Minimum Wage and Maximum Hours Standards Under the Fair Labor StanrlardR Act." an
Pconomic Pfl'ects study submitted to Congress, 1977 <Washington, D.C.: U.S. Department
of Labor, Employment Standards Administration, 1977), p. 51'.I.
• Rec. 213, supp. 1975, enumerates 11 categories of employees who al'e exemnt If thev
emplo_..-.,d "In a bnnR fide evecntive. admlnlRtrative, or professional capncity" ; "in the
capnc1tv of outside salP.Rman"; by an:v retn.11 or service establishment if more than 50
nPrcPnt of the annual dollar volume for sales of such goods and servlres Is made within
the State ; by an amusement or recreational estnblishment: bv certain manufacturing
rPtnll<>rs; In certain fishing and seafood operations; in certain types of a.gricultural
nctlvities ; by a local newspaper; by a small Independently owned public telephone company : RS a seaman on a vessel other than an American vessel ; or on a casual basis in
ilomestlc service to provide babysitting or companionship services for Individuals unable
to care for themselves.
7 John Fl. Bnrns n.nd Catherine G. Burns, "An Analysis of the Equal Pay Act," 24 Labor
Law .Tournnl 92, February 1973.
8 Since 1972, Investigations of the Wage and Hour Division showed higher e<lucatlon
Institutions owed some 8,000 employees, manv professional, about $10 million in hnck pay,
Several 1J!stltutions have paid more than $100,000 in back wages to employees. Howpver,
not nll. of the back wnires found tl"e h1tve :vet hPen nitld. "Elqu1tl Opnortnnlty In Higher
Education." biweekly newsletter, W••hlngton, D.C., Education News Services Division of
Capitol Publications, Inc. (Feb, 4, 1977), p, 8.
• 1974 amendments to Fair Labor Standards Act of Apr, 8, 1974. Public I.n.w 93-259,
RR Rtat. 5R. amending 29 U.S.C. sec. 201 et sen. (1970) ; in Brown v. Oity of 811nta R"rba..-11,
4!'i TT.S.L.W. 2351, Jan. 14. 1977, U.S. district court, CRllfornia, the rourt hPld that the
1974 RmPndments to the Fair Labor Standards Act (which apnlled the Pnnal pav provisions to Fednal and State employees) constituted a. valid exPrcise of rongressional nowf'r,
notwithstanding the Supreme Court's earlier decision in National Leag11e of Oities v.
l!Rer11. 44 U.S.L.W. 4674 (1976), In Useri1 it was found that the amen<l.ments' extension
of minimum and hour protection to State n.nd local irovernment emnlovePR constltut<>d
lnv1tlid FedPral regnlatlon of State governmental activities. The Court decided that the
J/174 e,ctenslon of the Elana! Pay Act would not impinge on the States' soverehwtv since
the arg11ment that decision to discriminate in pn.y on the bn.sls of sex is an essenttnl and
lnt<>gral State function Is both asinine and an aft'ront to human dlgnltv." 4!l U.S.Ii.W. at
211112. flee also Ohristemen v. Iowa, 45 U.S.L.W. 20811, An!\". 14, 1976 (TT.S.D.C. N. IowR),
an<l TJser11 v. Allegheny Oity Institution Dist., 411 U.S.L.W. 2251. (3d Cir.). Oct. 2R. 1!1711.
10 It Is important to note that back pay may be recovered for 2 vears for nonwillful
violations and 3 years for w1llful. In title Vil, the limit is 2 years.
11 Prior to the enactment of the 1974 amendments, sec. 16(cl prevented the Secret1try
from bringing an Rctlon to recover back wages in a Involving a question of first
lmnrpsslon. essentially rendering the remedy of sec. 16(c) totally 1neft'ectlve. Ross and
McDermott, op. cit,, p. 11.
Federal Reserve Bank of St. Louis

private attorney. However, unlike title VII, no class actions may be
brought. Alternatively, the employee may seek the assistance of the
Wage and Hour Division of the Department of Labor by filing a complaint with the Division. If merit is found, the Labor Department
itself may go to court to seek an injunction to restrain continued violations and prevent withholding of back wages legally due.11a
Moreover, the Wage and Hour Division is empowered to conduct
investigations of employers' compliance with the Act, whether or not
complaints were received. In contrast, the EEOC acts on the basis of
complaints. There are currently approximately 1,000 compliance officers across the country, but it has been estimated that only 15-20 per
cent of their time is devoted to enforcement of the EPA. 12
Most of the compliance investigations conducted are not made in
response to a complaint filed by an employee. 13 These general, routine
compliance investigations are key in allowing for an overall strategy
for enforcement. In addition, they facilitate the ability of the investigator to keep complaints confidential, for an employer does not know
whether or not the investigation stemmed from a complaint. As a
result, harassment and retaliation are kept to a minimum.
Upon a finding by the Wage and Hour Division of a violation of the
EPA, voluntary compliance is usually obtained, including an agreement to pay back wages. It has been estimated that more than 95 per
cent of equal pay cases are settled out of the courts.u
Table I indicates the amounts found due by the Labor Department
in 1969-1972.
As can be seen from this chart, as a result of the 1,115 establislunents
Fiscal year:
1969 ________ -- ---- -- -- -- -- ------ --- _____ -- -------- -- ---- -- ------ ---- ---- -------------1970 ___ -- -- -- -- ---- -- -- -- -- -- -- -- -- -- -- -- -- -- -- -- -- -- -- -- -- -- -- -- -- -- -- -- -- -- -- -- -- -- -1971_ __ -- -- -- -- -- -- -- -- -- -- -- -- -- -- -- -- -- -- -- -- -- -- -- -- -- -- -- -- -- -- -- -- -- -- -- -- -- -- -- -1972 ___ -- -- -- -- -- -- -- -- -- -- -- -- -- -- -- -- -- -- -- -- -- -- -- -- -- -- -- -- -- -- -- -- -- -- -- -- -- -- -- --

Fiscal year:
-- -- -- -- -- -- -- -- -- -- -- -- -- -- -- -- -- -- -- -- -- -- -- -- -- -- -- -- -- -- -- --_
1966 ___

------ ---- -- -- -- ---- -- -- ------ -- -- -- ---------- ---- -- -- -- ---- --_
1968 ----1969 __________________________________________________________________ _
1970 __________________________________________________________________ _
1971 __________________________________________________________________ _
1972 __________________________________________________________________ _
1973 __________________________________________________________________ _
1974 (6 mo) ________________________________________________ -- ---- -- -- --


1, 115

Number of
under the

found due

16, 100
17, 719
16, 507

4, 585, 344
6, 119, 265
14,842, 994

Source: Memorandum of Morag Simchak, Chief, Branch of Equal Pay Discrimination, U.S. Department of Labor (January 1974). Ross and McDermott, Op. cit. p. 10.
11 , Prior to the enactment of the 1974 amendments, section 16(c) prevented the Secretary
from bringing an action to recover back wages in a case involving a question of first impression, essentially rendering the remedy of section 16 (c) totally ineffective. Ross &
McDermott, op. cit., p. 11.
12 Telephone conversation with Mr. Michael McCarthy of the Department of Labor
Standards Office of Equal Pay and Employment Standards, Apr. 20, 1977.



Burns, op. cit., p. 92.

Burns, op. cit., p. 95.
Federal Reserve Bank of St. Louis

investigated in 1972, more than 29,000 employees were found to have
been underpaid under the EP A. 15
A w~ll-publicized settlement leading to substantial wage adjustments m part under the EPA was that entered into with American
Telephone & Telegraph. In 1970, the EEOC conducted an investigation of the employment practices of A.T. & T., and found race and sex
discrimination in their nonmanagement employee programs. Because
at the time the EEOC did not have the power to go to court, the agency
petitioned the Federal Communications Commission (FOO) to order
the elimination of these sex and race discriminatory practices pursuant to A.T. & T.'s request for a rate increase. An extensive hearing
was conducted by the FOO, and the Department of Labor joined the
effort. In January, 1973 a settlement with A.T. & T. was reached
whereby $15 million in adjustments was to be paid to 15,000 employees
discriminated against on the basis of race and sex. Moreover, an adjustment in wage rates estimated at $23 million each yea,r was agreed
to. Finally, A.T. & T. agreed to adopt an affirmative action plan requiring serious modifications in their policies and practices. 16 Questions have been raised, however, about whether A.T. & T. has been
meeting the goals set forth in the plan.
A second aspect of the settlement took the form of a consent decree
entered in U.S. District Court on May 30, 1974, covering management
employees. The decree involved changing the wage structure for promotions, and it was estimated that approximately 17,000 employees
(10,000 women) would receive wage adjustments of $14.9 million
under the change. Moreover, 7,000 employees (4,200 women) would
receive $7 million in back pay awards. This was the first major settlement reached under the 1972 amendments to the Equal Pay Act which
extended coverage to professional and managerial employees.17
The large sums found due resulting from these investigations
strongly indicate the pervasive nature of sex discrimination in wage
rates and the need to reach all of the other establishments with a much
more widespread campaign than the Wage and Hour Division has thus
far waged. One distressing fact is that as of February 22, 1976, the
Wage and Hour Division had a backlog of 1,800 comp1aints received
under EPA but unresolved, as indicated in table II. It is hoped that a
more vigorous enforcement effort will be undertaken in the future.

Fiscal?siar: _______________________________________ _
1970 _________ -- -- -- -- -- -- -- -- -- -- -- -- -- -- -- -- -1971 _____ -- -- -- -- -- -- -- -- -- -- -- -- -- -- -- -- -- -- -1972 ___ -- -- -- -- -- -- -- -- -- -- -- -- -- -- -- -- -- -- -- -1973. -- -- -- -- -- -- -- -- -- -- -- -- -- -- -- -- -- -- -- -- -1974.. --- -- -- -- -- -- -- -- -- ---- -- -- -- -- -- -- -- -- -1975 _____ -- -- -- -- -- -- -- -- -- -- -- -- -- -- -- -- -- -- -1976. ---- -- -- -- -- -- -- -- -- -- -- -- -- -- -- -- -- -- -- -1976 1_21,- - 1976-Jan.20,
- -- ----- ------ -- -- ---- -- ------ -- -----Sept.
1977 _____________________ _








1, 798

1 Transition

quarter, June 21-Sept. 20, 1976.
Note: Litigation-Over 1,024 cases have been filed since the act's effective date.

10 There have been amounts recovered under the Equal Pay Act pursuant to private
suits as well. For example, ln 1973 a settlement was reached pursuant to a case filed in the
northern district of Indiana, Burry v. General Electric, whereby the company paid $300,000
ln back pay and agreed to a $1 million increase In wages. Winn Newman, "Policy Issues,''
1 Signs: Journal of Women in Culture and Society 270, table 2 (spring, 1976).
10 Significantly, no changes in the employment policies related to pregnancy were adopted.
17 The Spokeswoman (July 15, 1974), p. 1,
Federal Reserve Bank of St. Louis

1. Legal Interpretation of the Act
In order to establish a viplation of EPA, a showing must be made
that the "employer pays different wages to employees of opposite
sexes 'for equal work on jobs the performance of which requires equal
skill, effort, and responsibility and which are performed under similar
conditions.' " 18 Failure to prove each of these elements results in dismissal since the act is brought into play only when the jobs in g_uestion
are equal. That is to say, the EPA is not relevant to determme reasonable differentials for unequal work.
A significant amount of litigation has dealt with the meaning of
"equal work." Equality does not require that the jobs be identical, but
they must be "substantially equal," 19 even if the nature of the jobs
makes it impractical for both sexes to work interchangeably.20 The
doctrine of substantial equality was discussed by the Court of Appeals
for the Fifth Circuit in Hodgson v. Brookhaven Hospital:
As the •doctrine is emerging, jobs do not entail equal effort, [and skill and responsibility] even though they entail most of the same routine duties, if the
more highly paid job involves additional tasks which (1) require extra effort
[skill and responsibility], (2) consume a significant amount of the time of all
those whose pay differentials are to be justified in terms of them, and (3) are
of an economic value commensurate with the pay differential.S1

It is important to note that the skill, effort and responsibility involved
are to be determined by the actual demands of the position and not
from the job classification or description. For example, where the
employer justifies a higher male salary because he has some special
ability which the female in the comparable job does not, a showing
that the job does not in reality require that skill will result in a finding
of an EPA violation. Following this reasoning the third circuit in
[(s~ry v. Allegheny Oownty Hospital, supra, recently held that beauticians and barbers held equal jobs :for purposes of EPA and were
entitled to equal wages.
Many employers arbitrarily try to accord greater weight to physical
effort required on the job than to skill, job responsibility and working
conditions, but the court in Hodgson v. Daisy Mfg. Oo. 22 struck down
that reasoning as a means of characterizing jobs as unequal. That
court also made it clear that "effort" entails both physical and mental
labor, with neither automatically commanding higher wages if the
de,g-ree of effort expended is comparable.
Another issue often raised concerns additional tasks performed by
male employees and whether such tasks justify a higher salary. In
order to justify the differential wage under such circumstances, the
employer must demonstrate that every employee receiving the higher
wage is performing the extra task and that everyone performing the
extra task is receiving the higher wage. Further, the employer must
show that the primary job functions of the two groups are somehow
18 Corning Glass Works v. Brennan, 417 U.S. 188, 195 (1974). Johnson, .Tanet A.. "The
Emrnl Pa:v Act nf 196,3: A Practical Analysis." 24 Drake Law Rev. 570, p. 591 11975).
19 Flchultz v. Wheaton Glass Co., 421 F. 2d 2519 (3d Cir.), certiorari dented, 398 U.S. 905
20 Hodgson v. Robert Hall Clothes, Inc., 473 F. 2d 589 (3d Ctr. 1973), cert1orar1 dented,
414 TT.S. 866 (1973).
21 Hodgson v. Brookhnven Generai Hospitai, 436 F. 2d 719, 725 (5th Cir. 1970).
22 Hodgson v. Daisy Mfg. Co., 317 F. Supp. 538, 544 (W.D. Ark. 1970), affirmed in part,
reversed in part, and remanded per curiam, 445 F, 2d 823 (8th Cir. 1971).
Federal Reserve Bank of St. Louis

made qualitatively different by the presence of the additional duty.
Differential wages have been struck down when based upon extra jobs
which do not in fact exist 23 or which consume minimal time and •are
of little significance.24
In examining the employee's responsibilities ( described as the
"degree of accountability required in the performance of the job, with
emphasis on the importance of the job obligation" 25 ), higher wages
have been deemed justified for employees in supervisory roles or in
positions requiring that they make decisions materially affecting the
employer's business operations.26 The EPA has also been held inapplicable where a group of higher paid employees had accident prevention
duties 27 or security: responsibilities. 28
However, even if unequal pay for an "equal" job is shown, the employer may still justify wage differentials if they result from a system
of seniority, merit or incentive, or any other factor other than sex,
provided the system is "a systematic normal system" based upon
"objective, written standards." 29 The ascertainable criteria for these
systems must be known, available and equally applied to all employees. 30
An employer must justify paying even one member of one sex at
a different rate than members of the opposite sex performing equal
work by showing that sex factors provided no part of the differential
basis. For example, night shift workers might legally receive higher
wages because of the undesirability of the work, even if the shift is
comprised solely of one sex. However, if that shift also receives a
higher base rate than the shift staffed by the opposite sex performing
the same work or the sex-differentiated shift employees are the only
ones on those shifts earning more than their corresponding day
workers, a violation of EPA would occur.31
"Red circle" rates (higher rates legitimately paid to one set of
employees because of some special circumstances which are not sexrelated), may be permissible in recognition of prior achievement and
experience if relevant to the job requirements and evenhandedly applied to both sexes. For example, they may be allowable for a bona
fide training program, in which case the court will look for the existence of several factors:
In summary, the cases suggest that the courts look to the following factors as
tests for the legitimacy of such programs: whether the trainee is aware of the
program's existence ; whether the employee is actually hired as a trainee ;
whether the work performed by the trainee and the regular employees is substantially the same ; whether the program entails any instruction, courses or
28 Brennan v. Goo11e Oree'k OonsoUdated Ind. 8oh. Dist., ll19 F. 2d 53 ( 5th Cir. 1975) ;
Brennan v. Woodbridge li/ohooZ District, 8 CCH .Empl. Prac. Dec. 5719 (D. Del. 1974) .
.. Brennan v. Bd. of Ed., 374 F. Supp. 817 (D.N.J. 1974). In Brennan v. OwensboroDavies Oty. Hosp. (6th Cir. 1975), No. 73-1261, 10 EPD para. 10, 404, the court struck

down a wage dill'erentlal between nurses aides and orderlies upon finding that they performed much the same work. Although generally only orderlies set up traction and
assisted In removing casts, these duties were found to have been performed "so Infrequently that they did not render the jobs of aides and orderlies substantially different.
The average additional portmortem work done by orderlies was deemed to constitute a
"modest difference" which did not justify the existing wage differential. 10 EPD, p. 570!1.
25 29 CFR 800.12-9 (1974).
26 Brennan v. Victoria Ban'k and Trust Co., 493 F. 2d 896, 899 (5th Cir. 1974).
srr Hodgson v. Daisy Mfg. Oo., supra.
28 lilchulz v. Ky. Baptist Hospital, 62 CCH Lab. Cas. 44 (W.D. Ky., 1969).
29 Brennan v. Victoria Ban'k ana Trost Co., supra.
• 0 29 CFR 800.144 (1974).
31 Oorning GZaBB Wor'kB v. Brennan, supra at 204-205.
Federal Reserve Bank of St. Louis

supervision ; whether there is a written, formalized program ; whether trainees
are actually rotated through various jobs to get a better comprehension of the
employer's business operations ; whether rotation occurs due to completion of
the training program rather than the employer's personnel needs; and whether
the program is available to members of both sexes.'"

Temporary assignments may also serve as a permissible reason to
pay an employee at a different rate than others performing the work,
as is true for temporary or part-time employees, as long as the practice
is applied without discrimination against either sex.33
Differential wage treatment cannot be justified by claiming that it is
costlier to employ women, 34 nor may employers rely on the "market
force" theory that women will work for less money than men, 35 since
it is just this sort of discrimination that the EPA was designed to
remedy. It is not clear, however, whether an employer may, because
of some "economic benefit," pay higher wages to one group of employees. In Hodgson v. Robert Hall, supra, the Court of Appeals for
the Third Circuit allowed higher wages for all the male employee
group in the men's department than were being paid to the female
employees who worked in the women's department, in part because of
the greater profits realized in the men's department and the fact that
the court found the sex segregation was justifiable. The court held
that under those circumstances wage differentials not related to actual
job performance could be maintained for the economic benefit of the
employer. The fifth circuit held differently, finding in a similar situation that the differential was based on sex, although there was no proof
in that case that the men's department was more profitable for the
employer. 36
The implications of the Robert Hall case are quite disturbing. If
employers can look to profitability as a basis for wage rates, the effectiveness of the EPA in many circumstances might be seriously undermined.
13. Effectiveness of the Equal Pay Act
As can be seen by the number and size of back pay awards made
under the EPA, the statute has had a significant impact on remedying
discrimination in wage rates. However, the fact should be noted that
as of January 1977 the Wage and Hour Division has found $135,590,752
due but only $29,i:i62,135 has been restored, as indicated in table Ill. 37
32 Janet A. Johnson, op. cit., pp. 1570, 1596.
•• 2-9 CFR 800.147 (1974) .
.. See U.S. Department of Labor, Employment Standards Administration, Women's
Bureau, "The Myth and the Reality" (Washington, D.C. : Government Printing Office,
April 1973) for discussion of absentee rates, work-life expectancy, and job rates.
35 Brennan v. Victoria Bank and TruBt Oo., 493 F. 2d 89-6 (5th Cir. 1974).
••HoagBon v. City Store,, Inc., 332 F. Supp. 942 (M.D. Ala. 1971), affirmed sub nom.
B1·ennan v. Oity 8torea, Inc., 479 F. 2d 235 (5th Cir. 1973).
37 Although the moneys found due are only estimates of what is owed, and may, therefore, be inflated, the large disparity with the amounts actually restored is disturbing.
Federal Reserve Bank of St. Louis

Number of
under the
Equal :~{


Income restored


Fisca I year:

1970 ____________ -- -- -- ______ -- ____ -- _______ - -- lllb= ========== == == ==== == == ==== ====== =======


1976 __________ -- ______________________________ _
1976 ·----- __ -- -- -- -- -- ___ ----- -- -- -- ---- -- ----Sept. 21, 1976--Jan. 20, 1977 ·--------------------TotaL _----------------- ____________________ _


16, 100
17, 719
32, 792

I 18, 005, 582
• 20, 623, 830
l, 487,464

I 17,331
• 16,768

I $4, 626, 251
• 6,841,443


239,175 135, 590, 752
Sept. 21, 1975-Jan.20, 1976 __________________________==================
1. Not included in th_ese figu1es i~ $6,300,000 paid under the Equal Pay Act by American Telephone & Telegraph to 6,100
of its employees. While the v1olat1ve practice was originally disclosed by several wage-hour investigations, the resolution
of the ~r~blem throughout the entire American Telephone & Telegraph operating system was secured through litigation by
the So)1c1tor's ~ffice b~t _was not based on indi\idual compliance actions. This amount is thus not included in uge-hour
compliance action stat1st1cs.
2 Not included i~ these figures i~ $7,oqo,ooo which the comrany agreed to restore to 7,000 employees. This is the2d
consent decree which was entered into with A.T. & T. covering equal pay violations at management level.
'Transition quarter, June 21-Sept. 20, 1976.

Several explanations have been advanced concerning the mounting
backlog of complaints. The answer lies in part in the fact that investigators have been given additional responsibilities, including age discrimination and the expanded coverage of the EPA and Fair Labor
Standards Act (FLSA), yet the number of investigators has not been
expanded accordingly. Moreover, the professional employment cases
are more complex and more difficult for investigators to understand
and resolve. Finally, there a·re those who raise the question that the
commitment to enforce EPA may not be as strong as it should be.
Even if more vigorous enforcement were secured, the effectiveness
of EPA will continue to be limited. A serious drawback of EPA is that
even where virtually identical jobs are at issue, there are exceptions in
the act which allow differences in wage rates if they are based on factors other than sex. Decisions such as that in Robert Hall underscore
the limitations of EPA because of these exceptions.
Further, the EPA has no effect on the critical problem of women
clustered in low-status, low-paying jobs where there are no male
counterparts. And it should be noted that most women working outside the home work in such jobs. EPA does not provide a vehicle for
moving women into nontraditional jobs, nor does it address the need
to upgrade the status and pay of jobs traditionally held by women. For
example, it has long been suggested that traditionally female jobs such
as nurse or secretary have been undervalued in relationship to jobs such
as "salesmen." 88 The EPA cannot be used to addre5s this issue. It is
38 In the State of California, a clerk-typist II must have a high school education, knowledge of office machines and equipment, grammar, spelling, and so forth. A warehouse
worker must have the ablllty to read and write Engllsh; there are no educational or
speciallzed skllls required. Warehouse workers, virtually always male, make $199 more
per month than clerk-typists, a 97-percent female class. 7 "The Spokeswoman" 4 (Mar. 15,
Federal Reserve Bank of St. Louis


precisely because the great bulk of women in paid employment work
in "women's jobs" 39 that the Equal Pay Act, even if enforced to its full
potential, is of important but limited utility.

In 1964, the President issued Executive Order 11246 (32 Fed. Reg.
12319), which prohibits Federal contract funds from going to employers who discriminate in their employment J?Olicies or practices on
the basis of race, color, religion, or national origin. In 1968, the order
was amended to include sex. Executive Order 11375 (32 Fed. Reg.
1~303). For the most part, the employment practices prohibited by
title VII are also prohibited by Executive Order 11246. Therefore its
scope is broader than the Equal Pay Act. However, the employers
covered are limited to those receiving Federal contracts.
The Executive order is enforced by the Office of Federal Contract
Compliance Programs (OFCCP) within the La:bor Department.
OFCCP has in turn delegated enforcement responsibilities to Federal
agencies which each focus on different industries. 40 The program is
divided into construction and nonconstruction contractors.
The approach of this Executive order differs from that of the Equal
Pay Act or title VII, in that the major remedy is not direct relief to
the individuals discriminated against in the form of back pay, promotion, reinstatement or the like. Instead the sanction is termination of
Federal contract funds 41 if the discrimination is not remedied. Of
course, back pay, promotion, et cetera can be secured by OFCCP in
order that the :fund cutoff remedy not be used.
Moreover, Executive Order 11246 has a unique and critical aspect
which could be its greatest strength. Pursuant to regulations issued
under the Executive order, contractors must develop affirmative action
plans in order to remain eligible for Federal contracts. With the development o:f and adherence to good affirmative action plans, enormous
progress could be made in the eradication o:f sex discrimination in
In addition, unlike title VII or the Equal Pay Act, there is no express provision under Executive Order 11246 for a private right of action, and there has yet to be established a clear right o:f individuals to
go to court directly and sue the Federal contractor i:f it has sex•• "Although the future may hold more options, the largest nroportlon of women with
paM employment currently work in clerical/sales occupations. These typists, clerks. secri>taries. and office machine operators comprise • • • 88 percent of those In the paid
labor force.
"Twelve percent of all women are in professional, technical. and manai:erlal johs. hut
half of this group work In education or health fields, principally in teaP-hlng anil nn~sing.
Only 9 percent of women arP. members of labor unions." Barbara Rrvant. "Amerienn
Women Today and Tomorrow" (Washington, D.C. : National Commission on the Observance of International Women's Year, March 1977).
• 0 The 11 compliance ae:encles are the Atomic Energy Commission, Department nf A<rrlcnltnre, Department of Commerce. Department of Defense, Department of Health, F.rlucatlon, and Welfare, Department of the Interior, Department of the Treasurv. Denartment
of Transportation, General Services Administration, U.S. Postal Service, Veterans'
"A further sanction is referral of the case to the .Tustice Department for suit.
•• The whole operation of affirmative action plans is now being reviewed hv tJ->e co,,rts,
In light of charges of "reverse discrimination." See, for example, Gramer v. Virginia Oommonwealth University, 415 F. Supp. 673 (E.D. Va. 1976) for a case Involving Executive
Order 11246, presently on appeal to the Fourth Circuit Court of Appeals.
Federal Reserve Bank of St. Louis

discriminatory employment practices. As a result, individuals discriminated against have tended to rely upon the OFCCP and delegated Federal contract oompliance agencies to enforce the Executive order and
to investigate complaints filed by the aggrieved individuals or groups. 43
The agencies can conduct investigations either pursuant to a complaint or their own plan o:f spot checks o:f contractors :for compliance
with the provisions of the Executive order. 44 It is expected that employers will agree to remedy discrimination under the threat o:f :fundtermination.
Unfortunately, on the whole this reliance upon OFCCP :for enforcement has been misplaced. Most of the compliance ,agencies have yet
to develop vigorous enforcement efforts, and OFCCP has failed to
exercise its authority to require that such efforts be made. Moreover,
since there have been so :few enforcement efforts, there has been very
little case law interpreting the Executive order.
1. Enforcement of the Executive Order

A series of reports by the General Accounting- Office (GAO) have
reviewed the enforcement efforts under Executive Order 11246 and
found those efforts to be seriously wanting. 45 Moreover, enforcement
ha;s been particularly inadequate m the area of sex discrimination.
For example, GAO has found that compliance agencies often did not
investigate to see if discrimination was systemic and affected a class
of employees. Similarly, they did not review whether there was a need
:for back pay. 46 It was not until March 1975 that OFCCP published
proposed guidelines on back pay for affected class employees. Yet it is
through back pay and class relief that the most effective remedies to
discrimination can be 3/chieved.
In addition, GAO has found that during fiscal year 1972-74, virtually ,all efforts o:f the OFCCP regional staffs were devoted to monitoring the construction program. Yet, the construction program is not
geared to the problems o:f sex discrimination, and still only requires
affirmative action through goals and timetables to be developed :for
race and national origin, not £or sex.' 7
"" In a recent change In its regulations, OFCCP will not retain any responsibility for
Investigating complaints.
« Unfortunately, compliance agencies responsible for enforcing Executive Order 11246
do not have the same record of success in keeping the identity of complainants confidential as the Wage and Hours Division under the EPA.
•• "EEO Program for Federal Nonconstruction Contractors Can Be Improved," MWD75-63 (Washington, D.C. : General Accounting Office, 29, 1975).
"Colleges and Universities With Government Contracts Provide Equal Employment
Opportunity," MWD-75-72 (Washington, D.C.: General Accounting Office, Aug 25 1975)
"Report to Congressman Jones on the Federal Equal Employment Program· fo; North:
east Oklahoma Construction Projects Is Weak," MWD-76-86 (Washington, D.C. : General Accounting Office, May 28, 1976).
"More Action Needed To Insure That Financial Institutions Provide Equal Employment
Opportunity," MWD-76-95 (Washington, D.C. : General .Accounting Office, June 24
•• Gregory J. Ahart, testimony and prepared statement on the evaluation of the contract
compliance program In nonconstruction Industry, hearings, U.S. Congress, Subcommittee
on Fiscal Policy,. Joint Economic Committee, 93d Cong., 2d sess. (Washing-ton, D.C. :
Government Printing Office, Sept. 11, 12, 1974). The Ahart article summarizes the findin,:s
of the GAO report, "EEO Programs for Federal Nonconstruction Contractors Can Be
Improved," prepared for the U.S. Congress, Subcommittee on Fiscal Policy of the Joint
Economic Committee, 29, 1975.
41 Aavocates for Women v. Marshall, Civ. Action No. 76--0862, presently
pending D.D.C.
challenges this omission.
Federal Reserve Bank of St. Louis

The weaknesses in the enforcement program were summarized as
At least two compliance agencies were approving affirmative action programs
that did not meet department guidelines. Some agencies were reluctant to initiate
enforcement actions and therefore they extended conciliation efforts with contractors beyond department time limits. Some compliance agencies did not always
conduct the required preaward reviews. Of the 13 compliance agencies, 12 had
not identified all contractors for which they were responsible, and most agencies
were not reviewing an adequate portion of the contractors for which they were
responsible. Ahart, op. cit., p. 568.

Moreover, enforcement o:f Executive Order 11246 has not improved dramatically since the Ahart article and the GAO report dated
May 5, 1975. A GAO report dated August 25, 1975, dealt with enforcement of the order by the Department of Health, Education, and Welfare (HEW) and was entitled "More Assurances Needed That Colleges and Universities With Government Contracts Provide Equal
Employment Opportunity." The report concluded, for example, that
sanctions for noncompliance were not initiated and affirmative action
plans riot approved. Significantly, in its published annual operating
plan for fiscal year 1977, the Office for Civil Rights (OCR) in HEWthe Office charged with the responsibility of enforcing the Executive
order-announced it would investigate virtually no new sex discrimination complaints filed under Executive Order 11246 and would conduct no general reviews of compliance with this order. 41 Fed. Reg.
41776 and the following (September 23, 1976). In short, OCR announced its enforcement of the order had come to a standstill. 48 And
OFCCP had not secured any change in this policy. At the present time,
there is a backlog of over 500 Executive order complaints. Finally,
GAO prepared a report dated March 30, 1977, concerning the Office for
Civil Rights in HEW. This report repeated the distressing conclusions
of the earlier reports prepared.
There are several possible explanations for this total lack of enforcement of Executive Order 11246. OCR itself claims that it lacks
sufficient resources to do a better job, an explanation which appears to
lack credibility. Women's groups have been shocked to learn that
during the last several years OCR has returned, unspent, millions o~
dollars to the Treasury. As of May 1977, there were over 200 authorized slots in OCR which were unfilled. These unfilled positions represented more than one-fourth of all OCR positions. Given these hard
facts, coupled with lack of training of the personnel which OCR does
have and the absence of established routine procedures for enforcement, it is clear that OCR has been either unwilling or unable to develop a serious enforcement efTort of the Executive order.
GAO has also prepared a report on the enforcement of Executive
Order 11246 by the Treasury DeJ?artment against financial institutions dated June 24, 1976, and entitled "More Action Needed To Insure That Financial Institutions Provide Equal Employment Opportunity." The summary on the cover page of the report stated:
'"A suit was filed and ls currently penlting against HEW and the Labor Department for
failure to enforce the sex discrimination provisions of the Executive order against universities. Women's Equity Aotion League et ai. v. OaUfano et ai., D.D.C. (Civ. Action No.
Federal Reserve Bank of St. Louis

Treasury has ma(le limited progress in insuring that financial institutions
follow equal employment opportunity practices. The program's credibility has
been seriously impaired by Treasury's record of nonenforcement..-ven in instances of financial institutions' deliberate refusal to comply with requirements.48

13. Effectiveness of the Order

The unique aspect of Executive Order 11246 is its sanction of Federal fund cutoff and requirement of the development of affirmative
action plans.50 However, because individual lawsuits are not encouraged by the structure of the Executive order, enforcement of its provisions has depended upon the efforts of the OFCCP and the compliance
agencies. As discussed above, Government agencies to date have been
unwilling or unable to provide effective enforcement of this order.
Since the Executive order was amended to include sex in 1968, virtually no Federal funds have ever been terminated or contractors debarred because of their sex-discriminatory practices. And because the
sanction of the Executive order is for practical purposes never invoked, there is little compliance with it on the part of employers receiving Federal contracts.
That is not to say, however, that the Executive order has secured no
gains for women at all. Some employers have been willing to develop
effective affirmative action plans or enter into settlements providing
some remedies for past dis0rimination. For example, under the Executive order in a settlement with the Veterans' Administration, McNeil
Laboratories, a subsidiary of Johnson & Johnson, has adopted a maternity leave policy guaranteeing workers reinstatement without loss of
pay, job status and seniority after childbirth, miscarriage, and abortion.51 However, until the Government indicates its willingness to impose sanctions when necessary, recalcitrant employers can continue to
refuse to change sex-discriminatory employment practices without
fear of losing Government contracts.




Title IX of the Education Amendments Act of 1972 52 prohibits sex
discrimination in employment or student programs or policies of educational institutions receiving Federal funds. The title IX regulations
dealing with employment are very similar to those guidelines issued
by the EEOC under title VII. 53 The sanction under title IX is similar to that of the Executive order-fund cutoff to institutions which
discriminate. 64 Moreover, the problems with title IX are similar to the
Executive order as well.
.. See also report on the "Treasury Department's Contract Compliance Program for
Financial Institutions," U.S. Senate, Committee on Banking, Housing, and Urban A1fairs,
94th Cong., 2d sees. (Washington, D.C.: Govemment Printing Office, 1976).
00 In the area of construction contracts, the failure to require goals and timetables for
sex severely impairs this elfectiveness.
111 The Spokeswoman1 Mar. HS, 1977, p. IS.
60 20 U.S.C. sec. 1681 et seq.
68 In fact, the title IX regulations dealing with pregnancy-related disabiUUes are modeled after the guidelines struck down by the Supreme Court in Gilbert v. General Jilleotrio,
45 U.S.L.W. 4031 (1976). However, ,HEW has taken the position that the title IX regulations are valid, despite the ~lbert ruling.
"' Its coverage with regard to educational institutions is broader in that it includes
institutions receiving Federal funds of grants, loans, and so forth, in addition to contracts.
Federal Reserve Bank of St. Louis

The agency charged with the primary enforcement responsibility
for title IX is also the Office for Civil Rights (OCR) in HEW. Although title IX was passed in 1972, regulations implementing the
statute were not promulgated until 1975. Until that time, virtually no
enforcement of title IX took place. 55 Moreover, the most recent GAO
report on OCR dated March 30, 19-77, concerns the enforcement of title
IX and indicates that the situation has improved little since 1975. And
the GAO states :
In short, OCR does not have a comprehensive and reliable management information system which provides top-level officials with the basic data needed for
making management decisions and improving the Agency's efficiency and effectiveness in carrying out its civil rights enforcement responsibilities. Ibid. at 6.

In short, although title IX prohibits schools from using sex discrimination in employment, little practical change has come from
this prohibition. Moreover, a recent court case challenged the intent
of title IX and whether its purpose was to prohibit sex discrimination in employment at all. In Romeo School District v. Oalifano,
W.D. Mich. (April 6, 1977), the court held that title IX was intended to cover student programs, but not employment. HEW has indicated that it intends to appeal the case and to continue to apply
title IX to sex discrimination in employment. It is expected that the
Romeo decision would be overturned on appeal.
Given the serious problems of HEW enforcement of title IX, its
effectiveness as a remedy to fight sex discrimination in employment
may well turn upon whether there is a private right of action for
individuals and groups to sue schools directly under the act. Attorneys' fees are available if such a right is found. 56 Courts are just
beginning to consider the question.
In Gannon v. Vnive1•sity of Ohiea!J0,51 ·the seventh ci,rcuit held
that there was no private right 0£ action i£ a single individual was
bringing suit rather than a class. However, the seventh circuit has
decided to rehear the case, so that it has come to no final conclusion
on the question. In Piascik v. Cleveland Museum of A.rt, 45 U.S.L.W.
2310 (N.D. Ohio 1976), the court did find a private right of action.
If such private suits are brought, the effectiveness of title IX might
be improved dramatically.

The impact of the passage of the equal rights amendment (ERA)
on the elimination of sex discrimination in employment is difficult
to project. Because the ERA applies to governmental action, its real
potential is in the area of Government employment.
With passage of the ERA, any sex discrimination in public employment would be subjected to strict scrutiny by the courts. 58 As is
65 See report of the U.S. Cbmmlsslon on Civil Rights, "The Federal Civil Rights Enforcement Elfort-1974," vol. Ill, "To Insure Equal Educational Opportunity," January 1975.
Gil Civil Rights Attor1_1eys' Fees Award Act of 1976 (Oct. 19, 1976), Public Law 94-5,59.
"' Oannon v. University of Ohioago et al., Civil Action No. 76-1238 (presently pending)
U.S. Court of Appeals for the Seventh Circuit.
68 Presently, rather than requiring strict scrutiny and a compelling State interest, distinctions based on sex can be justified if they serve important governmental objectives and
are substantially related to the achievement of those interest. In contrast race and national
origin discrimination are subjected to stri~t scrutiny; See Orafg v. Boren; 45 U.S.L.W. 4057
(Dec. 20, 1976).
Federal Reserve Bank of St. Louis

true with any other issues based on constitutional rights, individuals
would have direct access to courts in which to press their claims.
One important issue limiting women's employment prospectsveterans' preference programs-might well be affected by the ERA.
Veterans' preference laws are specifically exempted from title VII,
42 U.S.C. § 20003-11 (1970). Because so few women are accepted to
serve in the Armed Forces, on the whole veterans' preferences tend
to give men an advantage. Passage of the ERA might require that
other means less detrimental to women be found to ease veterans'
reentry into civilian life and reward service in the Armed Forces.
For example, the veterans' preference might be extended to the veterans' spouses.
A further impact of ERA might be to press States to take affirmative acts to mitigate the effects of past discriminatory practices. Such
plans could include experiments with more flexible work hours, education leave programs and the like.



In sum, there are a variety of Federal laws prohibiting sex discrimination in employment. Each has its own advantages and disadvantages. However, all of the laws require strengthening. For example, more stringent sanctions to correct discriminatory practices
should be available under title VII. Furthermore, it is extremely
important that existing laws either be interpreted by courts or expressly defined by Congress so as to require review of traditional
female jobs in order to see whether they are rated fairly compared
to traditional men's jobs.
Because most women who work outside the home do so in "women's"
jobs, it is critical that the pay, status, and benefits of these jobs be
assessed according to neutral principles. Should jobs requiring manual
dexterity, often held by women, be paid less than jobs requiring
physical strength, often held by men~ Are the tasks performed by
secreta,ries worth less than those performed by "salesmen 1" To date,
existing sex discrimination laws have not been used in any major way
to address these questions. Yet, since most women are employed in
these "women's" jobs, a fair resolution of these questions is essential.
Nevertheless, even with deficiencies in the design of the present
laws, together with the problem of lack of resources to press cases,
inability to find lawyers, and fear of retaliation, important gains have
come from lawsuits of private citizens.
Unfortunately, not as much can be said for Government efforts to
spearhead enforcement. In no case is the responsible Federal agency
fully meeting the expectations of the law; it is not implementing regulations by aggressively bringing suits or seeking far-reaching settlements that will change sex-discriminatory employment policies of
employers across the country. At the moment, we can point only to
isolated Government victories. Yet the private sector cannot carry
the burden alone. It is only with more vigorous, widespread and consistent Government enforcement and a willingness to use available
sanctions that we will see widespread movement which will si!mifi0
cantly change the employment picture for women.
Federal Reserve Bank of St. Louis







r. Identification of the problem______________________________________

II. Major changes in the work place___________________________________
III. Documenting job segregation______________________________________
A. Slow movement into male dominated fields__________________
B. Vertical mobility_________________________________________
IV. Causes of job segregation__________________________________________
V. Conclusion : Economic forces affect segregation______________________




Occupational segregation by sex exists when individual women are
unable to make career choices freel:y, unfettered by subtle or implicit
societal barriers. Such career choices include whether to work in
unpaid production at home or in the workplace. Occupational segregation by sex also exists when employers have fixed perceptions of
the role potential of women that give priority to women's sexual
attractiveness or their motherhood or wifehood roles. As a result,
employers treat all women working for pay as if they are secondary
workers, weakly attached to the market, who only qualify for positions of lower status that are subordinate to those held by men.
The results of sexism in occupational segregation are fourfold.
First, women tend to be segregated and crowded into certain "female"
occupations such as primary and secondary teachers, nurses, secretaries, typists, office clerical workers, retail sales clerks, health technologists, waitresses, sewers, assemblers, and manufacturing checkers.
Women are excluded or discouraged from going into some other occupations, particularly positions involving administration or supervision
of men, top leadership and power. Second, within a given occupation,
women tend to be concentrated in the lower levels. Third, women's
work is less highly valued than men's. Fourth, the total economic
product of society is lower than it otherwise would be if women with
skills and ability were permitted to produce up to the limits of their
In short, occu_pational segregation by sex currently results in the
over-representation of women in the less favorable occupations. Even
if equal pay for equal work ~s achieved, equality of ?pportunity will
not occur srmultaneously. This paper does not deal with the problems
of attaining equal pay for equal work.
Before World War II and even as late as 1950, the world of work
sharply segregated women into jobs that were "helping" positions
for men, nurturing children, the ill, or the disadvantaged, or working
•Professor of economics, Southern Methodist University, Dallas, Tex.
Federal Reserve Bank of St. Louis


in other people's homes. Women were expected to stay in the labor
force only a short time or to be part-time or part-year workers. Jobs
thought to be suitable for women were often extremely specific in
job content, with little or no possibility of promotion and that could be
filled by intermittent workers. Continuous job service and career development were not expected. Even fathers who aspired to college
educations for their daughters talked about the value of young women
getting some kind of skill certification as insurance against the possibility that something might happen to their future husbands.




Since World War II and particularly since 1960, we have become
aware of two major changes in the workplace related to women and
their employment. These changes have had ripple effects throughout
society, but many rigidities in the world of work have remainded.
The increased number of women in the American civilian labor
force, which has been well documented,1 is clearly one of the most farreaching transformations of our history. From 1950 to 1975, the number of female workers has more than doubled. Since 1940, the number
nearly tripled. Fifty-six percent of all women in the United States
aged 18 to 64 years are now in the civilian labor force. The recent
increase in the number of mothers with children under 6 who are
working in the market place is particularly sharp.2 It is difficult to
imagine what the level of gross national product would be in the
absence of the current rates of labor force participation of women,
even allowing for alternate sources of labor supply, such as younger
There are those, even today, who like to think of women workers
as a residual labor force, to be called upon when needed on a temporary
basis and sent back to the kitchen and the nursery when not needed.
Such a view does not fit the modern aspirations of a work force with
many women who see themselves as developing careers and working
for much, if not all, of their adult lives.
The young woman of today is concerned about how she is goino- to
develop as a whole person; whether she should marry and have children; how and whether she and her husband are going to fit together
marriage, children, and two careers; how much she should invest in
her own education, and what is the likely pay-off of such an investment.
She has little doubt, however, that at some time in her life she will
be interested in the opportunities available for paid employment. 3
She then wonders what her chance to contribute to her family and to
society will be. Will she find a society receptive to her making a contribution in a meaningful way that will permit her to maximize her
potential~ Even though she is questioning, her expectations of the
1 "Employment and Training Report of the President" (Washington, D.C.: Government
Printing Office, 1976), pp. 143, 213, and 228.
• The labor force participation rate of wives who had children under 6 years old doubled
from 18 percent in 1960 to 37.4 percent in 1976; at the same time the labor force participation rate of all women aged 20 to 24 Increased from 45 to 65 percent. U.S. Department
of Labor, Bureau of Labor Statistics, Jan. 12, 1977, unpublished data: U.S. Department of
Commerce, Bureau of the Census, Current Population Reports, Serles P-50, No. 29 (Washington, D.C.: Government Printing Office).
• The worklife expectancy at birth for a female was 22.9 years in 1970. compared with
40.1 years for the male. Howard N. Fullerton, James J. Byrne, "Length of Working Life for Men and Women, 1970," Monthly La or Review, February 1976, p. 32. (U.S.
Department of Labor, Bureau of Labor Statistics.)
Federal Reserve Bank of St. Louis

market place are far greater than were those of her older sisters and
her mother and aunts. The increase in women's labor market expectations is also a major transformation in our history.
The more education a woman has, the more likely she is to want to
work. The increase in women's expectations is shown by the proportion
of women going to college, the proportion of woman who are college
graduates, and the shifts in majors of women currently in college. In
1974, the proportion of women 18 to 19 years of age going to college was
33 percent, after a steady rise from about 15 percent in the early
1950's. In 1974, the proportion of men 18 to 19 years of age going to
college was also 33 percent, but that represented a fall from the peak
of 44 percent in 1969. The drop in college enrollment by men occurred
after 1969 because the labor market took a downward turn during
this period after more than 10 years of steady, substantial growth.
Many young men decided to seek alternative career paths in the depressed labor market; in contrast, young women were not deterred
from their desire for upward mobility by means of a college education, despite the depressed labor market. 4
Rising expectations of young women are also shown in the changes
in freshman career plans, in spite of declining labor markets. Increasing numbers of women, upon entering college, plan to major in fields
that have been atypical for women. The proportion of first-year college women who planned to be business majors increased from 3.3 percent in 1966 to 8.5 percent in 1974. Similarly those young college
women who said they planned to become lawyers increased from 0.7
percent of all women entering college in 1966 to 2.3 percent in 1974.
The percentage of these women hoping to become doctors increased
from 1.7 percent to 3.5 percent. The big changes were (a) the decrease
in the proportion of young women planning to become elementary or
secondary teachers, 34.1 percent in 1966 but only 11.9 percent in 1974
( a realistic view of the expected fall in demand for teachers) ; ( b)
the increase in the proportion planning to go into health services (including nursing but excluding doctors) from 11.9 percent in 1966 to
22.7 percent in 1974; and ( c) the increase in the undecided group,
from 3.6 percent in 1966 to 12.6 percent in 1974. 5
Young women who realize that the market for teachers is depressed
and likely to remain so for some time apparently are moving in large
numbers to health service professions, other than doctors. At least,
this is their first idea. This is not surprising, given the ideas of many
• The data are quoted from current population surveys of the U.S. Bureau of the Census
by Dr. Richard Freeman in "The Overeducated Americans" (New York City: Academic
Press, 1976), pp. 33-38. He uses the data as part of the evidence he quotes to show that
the work world is becoming better for women. I suggest this evidence better supports a
findlng that young women ln the early 1970's have rising expectations that the work world
will be open to permitting them to make maximum contributions in it.
It also should be. noted. that the proportion of college graduates who are women is slowly
moving upward. It was 40.2 percent in 1963-64 and 44.4 percent in 1973-74. For the
incrPase over the 10-year period, see table 237 in "Statistical Abstract of the United States,
1975" (Washington, D.C.: U.S. Department of Commerce, Bureau of the Census) and
"Earned Degrees Conferred, 1972-73 and 1973-74, Summary Data." NCES 76-105 (Washington, D.C.: U.S. Department of Health, Education, and Welfare), p. 21.
6 Data from the American Council on Education quoted by Freeman, op. cit., p. 40. ThP.
proportion of women enrolled in medical school Increased from 6 percent In 1960 to 1R
percent in 1974, with the proportion of women ln the first-year class in 1974 up to 22
percent. The proportion of women enrolled In law schools increased from 4 percent in 1960
to 19 percent In 1974, with the proportion of women in the first-year class in 1974 up to 23
nercent. See J"ohn B. Parrish, "Women In Professional Training-An Update," Monthly
Labor Rezlew (November 1975), p. 50.
Federal Reserve Bank of St. Louis

of their parents, teachers, and counselors that the realistic vocational
interest of young women should be in supportive roles and in occupations requiring lower investment in human capital; nor is it surprising,
given previously increasing societal needs for workers in health areas. 6
Health professions other than doctors are a traditional area for employment of women; 93 percent of the nurses, dieticians, and therapists in 1974 were women. Movement from teaching to nursing or other
health professions ( excluding doctors) therefore does little to break
down barriers to occupational segregation by sex.
The desire of women to move into law, medicine, and management
does knock on those barriers.



Given the sharp increase in numbers and proportion of women now
employed outside the home and given the rising aspirations of women,
the question then is whether there have been important shifts in the
occupational distribution by sex. (1) Are women still crowded into
the same "female" occupations i Yes. Sex typing of jobs is still dominant. (2) Is there movement of women into male-dominated fields i Yes,
a little. (3) Do women have vertical mobility; have they moved into
top-level positions of a given occupation and thus been able to demonstrate their ability to supervise men and to assume leadership roles~
No, there is not much vertical mobility. One must therefore conclude,
based on the above three factors, that occupational segregation is still
very much present, in spite of legislation calling for an end to discrimination based on sex. As a result, only a limited number of jobs are
available to women, and college trained women tend to be seriously
The 57 occupations in which at least 100,000 women were employed
in 1973 are shown in table 1. About 75 percent of all women workers
were employed in these occupations. The 10 largest occupations in
which more than 40 percent of all women workers were concentrated
were secretary, retail trade salesworker, bookkeeper, private household worker, elementary schoolteacher, waitress, typist, cashier, sewer
and stitcher, and registered nurse. Of the 10 largest, women comprised
83 to 99 percent of the workers in the particular occupation, except
for retail trade sales workers, where women comprised 69 percent. Of
the 57 largest, women made up more than 75 percent of the employees
in 31 ( or more than half) of the occupations. Male employment showed
much less occupational concentration. The 10 largest occupations for
men employed less than 20 percent of all men workers, compared with
the 40 percent noted above for the 10 occupations employing the most
women. The 57 occupations with the largest number of men employed
covered 52 percent of all men workers; whereas the 57 largest occupations for women, as noted above, employed about 75 percent of the
women. 7
• The expanding room for women in health service occupations may be diminished in the
late 1970's by health policy developments which will result in a slowdown in hospital
expansion and an improvement in wages and working conditions which will make health
service jobs more attractive to white males. See Rashi Fein and Christine Bishop, "Employment Impacts of Health Policy Developments, forthcoming in a special report of the
National Commission on Manpower Policy, Washington, D.C.
• 1975 Handbook on Women Workers, pp. 89-92.
Federal Reserve Bank of St. Louis



Percent Women as per•
cent of total
of women

Total ________________________ -- -- -- -- __ -- -- -- -- -- -- -- -- -- -32,446
White-collar workers ______________________________________________ = = =
60. 7
Professional, technical workers ________________________________ _
Accountants _____________________________________________ _
Librarians, archivists, and curators _________________________ _
Personnel and labor relations workers_ _____________________ _
Registered nurses ________________________________________ _
Health technologists and technicians ________________________ _
Social workers ___________________________________________ _
Teachers, college and university ___________________________ _
Teachers, except college and university _____________________ _
Elementary school teachers ____________________________ _
Kindergarten and prekindergarten teachers ______________ _
Secondary school teachers __ •_________ ·----- ___________ _
1. 7
M Writers'/"!i~ts, and entertainers ___________________________ _
anagers, a m1n1strators. __ ·-- __________________ ·--------- ___ _
Restaurant, cafeteria, and bar managers ____________________ ,
Sales workers. ___________________________ ----------·--------2,240
Hucksters and peddlers_. __________ ·-------------·----- ___ _
Real estate agents and brokers_ __ ··-----------------------4.8
Sales clerks (retail trade>-----------·----------------·--·-Clerical workers._. ___________________ ·---------------·------34.3
Bank tellers. ___________________________________________ -.9
Billing clerks ____________________________________________ _
~:~i~~=pers ~
Counter clerks (except food>--··--·--------------------- ___ _
Estimators and investigators (n.e.c.). _______________________ _
File clerks. _______________________________________ ·-•... -·
Keypunch operators •••.... -· •• -·-·-··-.....• -· .. ·-••......
Payroll. an_d timekeeping clerks •.•........ ·--····--··-······
Receptionists_-·-·-· .....•.•.•....••.•...... --.. ·-.. ·-•.••
Secretaries_---·-·-· .....• -· ••.•..••........ ·-••.... __ .• -·
Statistical clerks_.·-.....•.••••..• ·- ••••.. ·-·-..••.. __ ••••
Stock clerks and storekeepers ••.... ·-·······-··-······-·--·
Teachers aides (except school monitors) ••••..... ·--·····-·-·
Blue•co11!1W~t:: operators __ .·- -- -- •• -· ••.. -· ·-••.. ·- ..•• ·- .. -· -·
Craft and kindred workers. __ -··············-·-·---·· .. ···-·--·
Oper:/~~~ollar supervisors._._ ••. ·-•••• ·---·· ••...... -· ••.... -·
1. 8
Assemblers ___ ._ .• ·-.. ·-·-•. -· .......... ·-.. -· -- •. -· ·- -· -·
1. 2
Chec~ers, examiners and inspectors (manufacturing) __ ··----··
Clothing ironers and pressers.. ·--···-···----····-··-·-··-··
Dressmakers and seamstresses (except factory) •. ·-····-······
Laundry and dry cleaning operators (n.e.c.).·--·---·······--·
1. 3
Packers and wrappers (n.e.c.) •••••••• ·-····-···-·······-·-·
Sewers and stitchers •• _-·-·-····-····--·--·-···--·-··--···
Textile operatives.·--····-·········-······- __ -· •••••• -·· .•
Non farm laborers ••••.•••• __ .··--··-··· __ -·-··.-··--····-·-·-·
Service w!~C::::r~andlers ~
Private household workers._··-··········----· __ ---····· .. ---··
Child care workers.······-·-·······-·········-·····-··-··1.9
Private household cleaners and servants·-·····---··········17.5
Service Workers (except private household) ••••••.• ·-···········2.2
~le.1:!ng _servi~e workers .••••• ·---· __ ·-··-······--···· ••••
u, mg interior cleaners.··--·--···---·-······-·--······-·
Lodging quarters cleaners._·--·-·--··-·--·-·-· .. ··---·-···.
Janitors and sexton•-··········-·-······--·--······----···.
Food service workers •• ···-····-·-···· •. ----··-··-···-··-··
1. 7
Cooks •••• __ .. _••• _•• ___ ••• _•••••• --.••• -•• - -. -· -- -• •
Food counter and fountain workers ... ·-··----·-···-----·
Waiters, waitresses, and helpers ••••. ·-·-········----···
Health service workers ••• ·····-····--···-·---·······-··-··
Dental assistants ..... ····-·- .••.• ·-··-· __ ·····----····
Health aides and trainees (excluding nursing)·-··-··---···
Nursing aides, orderlies, and attendants ••• ·---·····-····
Practical nurses ••• _••••• -·-·-·-··--····-····-· •••.. ·---··
Personal service workers •••••• ·-··-·--···············-····
Child care workers.-· ........•...••.•.. -·--·-····--·-·
Hairdressers and cosmetologists •• ·····-···--·····-·---514
Farm workers ••••• ·····-·····-··-·-···.·············--········-·-

~= :::::::::::::::::::::::::::::::::::::: ::::

~=:: :::::::::::::::::::::::::::::::::::::::

48. 7

82. 1
33. 7
97. 8
71. 5
84. 5
97. 9
49. 5
33. 7
18. 4
41. 4
77. 2
86. 7
76. 2
49. 5
99. l
68. 5
17. 6
49. 7
49. 5
63. 3
61. 5
95. 5
98. 3
58. l
54. 2
12. 6
69. 7
83. 9


Source: Based on U.S. Department of Labor, "1975 Handbook on Women Workers," Bulletin 297 (Washington, D.C.:
Government Printing Office, 1976), pp. 89-91.
Federal Reserve Bank of St. Louis

The above statistics show that women are concentrated in selected
occupations much more than men are. The concentration of women
into these few selected occupations has resulted in these occupations being relatively crowded, as evidenced by the relatively low
wages paid in them. There is a reserve pool of qualified women outside
the labor force who would be willing to work in these female jobs
if the wages were increased or conditions of work improved.
Another facet of this question is the growing concentration of
women in "female" jobs during the last 15 years. The 10 occupations
in which most women were employed in 1973 are listed in table 2. In
some oases, summary data for a broader occupational group is also
given in order to permit comparisons when the detail 1s not available. Because the data in this table are from different sources with
slightly different definitions and are based on samples which are subject to normal sampling error, general comparisons should be made,
rather than specific ones. (Dashes are used when data are not available.) Trends may be meaningful even though differences between
the selected years are small.






All occupations...........................................
39. O
38. 9
38. 4
37. 7
32. 8
Nurses, dieticians, therapists.........................................
93. 1 •.•......•
94. 4
96. 0
Registered nurses...............................................
98. O
97. 8
97. 3
97. 5
Teachers, except college...................................
70. 6
169. 2
69. 9
70. 2
72. 6
Elementary school teachers.......................................
84. 3
84. 5
83. 6
85. 8
Salesworkers, retail trade..................................
61. 6
160. 9 ••.•.....•.•.•.•.•.•••••••..••
Sales clerks, retail trade.........................................
69. 4
69. 0
64. 6
63. 3
89. 2
88. 3
82. 0
83. 4
87. 7
86. 7
83. 5
76. 9
Secretaries, 9"Pists, and stenographers.......................
98. 4
198. 4 •••......•
96. 6
96. 5
97. 6
96. 6
94. 2
Operatives except transport................................
39. 5
140. 4
39. 2
37. 9
35. 5
Sewers and stitchers... ••••.•••••..•.......•.••••••••.••••.....•••••......
95. 5
93. 7
94. O
Food service workers......................................
74. 6
174. 7
69. 7
68. O
67. 6
82. 9
88. 8
86. 6
Private household workers.................................
98. O
198. 2
98. 3
96. 6
96. 4
• U.S. Department of Labor, Bureau of Labor Statistics, "Employment and Earnings" (Washington, D.C.: Government
Printing Office, Janaury 1976), table 18, p. 146. Employed persons 20 yr and over; annual averages of monthly data.
2 Unless otherwise specified, 1974 data are from U.S. Department of Labor, Bureau of Labor Statistics, "Employment
and Earnings" (Washintgon, D.C.: Government Printing Office, June 1975), table l, p. 7. Annual average of monthly data,
• U.S. Department of "labor, "1975 Handbook on Women Workers" (Washington, D.C.: Government Printing Office,
1976), pp. 89-91. Annual averages of monthly data.
' U.S. Department of Commerce, Bureau of the Census, 1970 Census of Population, "Detailed Characteristics of the
Population U.S. Summary" (Washington, D.C.: Government Printing Office, 1973), table 221. Employed,persons 14 yrs.
old and over, pp. 718 ff,

As the proportion of women increased among all occupations in the
last 15 yearst. !he most numerous jobs for women remained largely,
female Jobs• .M.any of these female jobs have become even more concentrated with women as the market expanded, as in the case of retail
sales clerking, bookkeeping, cashiering, secretarial and typing work,
and food service work including that of waiter. In a declming labor
market, private household jobs became more highly concentrated with
women. Reg-istered nursing and elementary school teaching positions
showed little change, remainin~ highly concentrated with women.
Most of the increase in women m the labor force has been absorbed
through expansion of clerical and service worker jobs, which traditionally are "female" jobs.
Federal Reserve Bank of St. Louis

A. Slow Movement Into Male Dominated Fields
Another aspect o:f recent changes in occupational segregation is
whether women now are being employed in fields long considered
male preserves; that is, higher paid professional and managerial jobs.
The question arises as to what proportion is suitable to be selected as
the norm :for women's participation in an occupation-50 percent, the
same proportion women have o:f all jobs ( 41 percent in 1976), or a
looser definition based on free choice without barriers. As long as
women are in low proportions in some fields, all we need to say is that
barriers should be removed so that more women who wish to do so
may move into the male-dominated fields. As long as the major direction :for policy is clearly "more," we need not stop now to worry about
how much more.•
Women are beginning to move slowly into male-dominated professions as shown in table 3.




38. 4
38. 9
All occupations.....................................................
40. 0
40. 5
All professional, technical............................................
21. 6
23. 7
Architects ............•.............•.............•.....•...................•......•
19. 5
19. 0
Computer specialists.............................................
I. 3 •.........
10. 2
Engineering and science technicians.........................................
7.0 .........•
Lawyers and judges.............................................
9. 3 ..•.......
Physicians, dentists.............................................
10. 1 .........•
Religious workers...............................................
Clergymen .........................................•........•...........•.....•
30. 9
Teachers, college and university..................................

• 1970

a 1960

37. 7
39. 8
26. 0
3. 5
19. 6
I. 6
10. 9
8. 5
2. 9
28. 4

9. 0
23. 7

1 U.S. Department of Labor, Bureau of Labor Statistics, "Employment and Earnings," (Washington, D.C., Government
Printing Office, June 1975), table 1, p. 7. Annual average of monthly data.
2 U.S. Department of Labor, "1975 Handbook on Women Workers," Bulletin 297, (Washington, D.C., Government Print•
ing Office 1976) pp. 89-91. Annual averages of monthly data.
'U.S. Department of Commerce, Bureau of the Census, 1970 Census of Population, "Detailed Characteristics of the
Population, U.S. Summary," (Washington, D.C., Government Printing Office, 1970), table 221. Employed persons 14 yr.
old and over, pp. 718 ff.

The proportion o:f women in the total for all professional fields is
highly influenced by the concentration o:f women in the high employment areas of primary school iteachers and nurses. In the specific professional areas that traditionally have been male dominated, more
women are being employed as accountants in 1974 than in 1960. Similarly, the proportion o:f women employed as college and university
teachers has increased. Smaller gains have been made in law and medicine since 1960. Extremely small gains have been made in engineering,
with possible regression since 1970.
The proportion o:f all women college graduates working in professional occupations :fell :from 81 percent in 1969 to 69 percent in 1974.
This drop was related to the reduced chance o:f getting a teaching job
in secondary or elementary schools; this reduced chance :fell :from 49
percent in 1969 to 43 percent in 1974. 9
·women have also been moving slowly in the last 15 years into management positions, but there is still a long way to go as shown in table 4.
8 Kenneth E. Boulding and Barbara B. Reagan, "Guidelines To Obviate Role Prejudice and
Sex Discrimination," American Economic Review (December 1973), p, 1050.
• Richard Freeman, op. cit., p. 171.
Federal Reserve Bank of St. Louis

Interpretation of the data on women in management is clouded by the
fact that a higher proportion of women than men counted in the management category serve as supervisors, rather than true managers.
Furthermore, the earnings and promotion possibilities of managers are
related to the size and market power of their firms. Women managers
may be less likely ,than men to be with the larger, more powerful firms.
Sharp increases have been made in the employment of women in
such positions as bank officials and financial managers. The market has
expanded from about 24,000 such jobs in 1960 to over 300,000 in 1970
and to over 500,000 in 1974, an increase that is related to the growth
in branch banking. The growth of women's proportion of such employment from about 9 percent in 1960 to 21 percent in 1974 is one of
the sharpest changes observed. Women also gained in positions such as
sales manager and department head in ,retail trade as the number of
such jobs grew.









All occupations.....................................................
38. 9
38. 4
37. 7
32. 8
Managers and administrators except farm..............................
18. 5
18. 4
16. 5
14. 7
Bank officials, financial managers.................................
21. 4
19. 4
17. 6
8. 7
Buyers and purchasing agents....................................
24. 9
25.1 •.••.......•.......•
Buyers, wholesale and retail trade............................
36.3 ••••....•.
29. 5
35. 5
Health administrators................................................................
44. 6
75. 1
Officials, Administrators; public administration; n.e.c................
20. 8 •••••....•
17. 4
Restaurant, cafeteria, bar managers...............................
33. 9
32. 4
32. 5
Sales managers, department heads, retail trade.....................
32. 4
28. 9
23. 8
23. 4
Sales mana~ers except retail trade....................................................
3. 5
<. l
School administrators...........................................
27. 8
29. 0
26. 5
25. 6
College ..•.••.•........•..••....•. ·.••••..••..••••••...•...•.......•.••••..•..•
23. 5
30. 7
Elementary and secondary.......................................................
25. 0
' U.S. Department of Labor1 Bureau of Labor Statistics, "Employment and Earnings" (Washington; D.C., Government
Printing Office, June 1975), taole 1 p. 7. Annual average of monthly data.
• U.S. Department of Laborl "1975 Handbook on Women Workers," Bulletin 297 (Washington, D.C., Government
Printing Office, 1976), pp. 89-~l. Annual averages of monthly data.
a U.S. Department of Commerce, Bureau of the Census, 1970 Census of Population, "Detailed Characteristics of the
Population U.S. Summary," (Washington, D.C., Government Printing Office, 1970), table 221. Employed persons 14 yrs.
old and ov,er, pp. 718 ff.

Health administration is another occupational group with tremendous growth from 1960 to 1970; the number of jobs grew from about
7,000 to 84,000. In this group of jobs, however, men were employed in
such large numbers that ,the proportion of women managers decreased
from 75 percent of the health administrators to 45 percent in the 10year period. "\Vomen also lost ground from 1960 to 1974 •as buyers in
wholesale and retail trade, as well as college administrators from 1960
to 1970.
Although not considered a separate occupational category, the number of women who are on the boards of large corporations is rdated
to women's role in management. Data on the relative number of board
positions held by women is incomplete. A listing of the women members of the boards of directors of 237 corporations in the United States
was made by Business and Society Review in the winter issue of 197576.10 It was noted that appointment of women to boards of directors
was just a trickle in 1972 and prior years, but increased more rapidly
thereafter. Eighty of the women listed were appointed in 1975. Over
10 (No author), "Who Are the Women in the Board Rooms," a survey, Business and
Society Review, No. 16 (winter 1975-76), p •. 5.
Federal Reserve Bank of St. Louis

the years, a few women were appointed to corporate boards because
of family relationships to the men who founded or owned the businesses. Now additional women are being asked to serve because of their
own accomplishments and knowledge. As company leaders begin to
think about adding women as directors, they have a tendency to select
women who already sit on another board, as indicated in table 5.
Number of

Number of

Number of




Total •••••••••••••••••••••••••••••••••••• -·--------·-------

Women on more than 1 board_·-··---------------------------------36 ---·-··------91
Women with family affiliation to founder or presidenL________________
Boards with 2 to 4 women directors_·--------------------------------------------21
Boards with 1 or more women who do not have family affiliation to
founder or president_. _______________________________________ --··--···-·-····-203 ·- ________ --··
Women on 1 or more boards and who do not have family affiliation to
founder or presidenL--··------·-------··-·-·--·--------------·
170 ------------------·-·-·----Source: With thanks to Dr. Alva Clutts, School of Business Administration, Southern Methodist University, for making

these counts from the directory listing in Business and Society Review (Winter, 1975-76), and bringing them to my attention.

Of the 237 corporations who have at least one woman director, only
203 have women who ·are not Telated to :the founder or president and
only 170 women hold these positions. Obviously there should be more
opportunity in the board rooms of many corporations for women with
skills and experience to make a contribution.

B. Vertical Mobility
Once a woman has tmined for a male•domim.tted field and obtained
employment in ·an e,ntry level position, occupational segregation by sex
still exists unless women have vertical mobility comparable to that
of men. In part, this is a function of on-job-training opportunities.
Employers with limited perceptions as to women employees' promotability will be reluctant to make on-job-training opportunities available to them. Women may be excluded from informal networks. Sex
discrimination can take many subtle forms that slow or deter women's
progress up the professional or manageri. aa ladder.
It is not enough for counsellors to urge a young woman to feel free
to train for entry into a male-domilllated field if her interests lie in that
field. Active support systems, and attitudinal changes must also be
made aviailable if she is to have equal opportunity in the male-dominated profession or occupaJtion.
Many of the "female" occupa)tions have extremely limited channels
for promotion. Many occupations have been fragmented inltJo specific
tasks requiring pre-employment training. Specific training for clerical
or se,rvice tasks leads ,to permanent typecasting. Licensing and ,accreditation keep work groups sepamte.d and without promotiollJal possibilities. For example, nurses' aides do not leia.rn on the job how to be
nurses; they have to attend school to do so.

About two.Jthirds of nil jolbs in New York City municipal hospt1lals dlo not have
educational or training requirements for entry, but neither do they have promotional possibilities....
Even in industries where promotional ladders are common, certain jobs were
traditionally isolated. An example of particular interest invoives telephone op
Federal Reserve Bank of St. Louis

erators. The American Telephone and Telegraph Co., in agreeing to affirmative
action for .enhancing equal employment opportunity, now provides for exit from
this job by removing sex as a barrier to horizontal or vertical mobility. Since the
plan cannot, however, create experience linkages between the operator job and
other jobs, the oompany has to train the operators who move into craft jobs as
if they were newly hired.
The point is important ,because it illustra,tes how closely the condi/tions for
market protection are related to jolbs ra,ther than to the people who fill lthem.
Equal opportunity as a strategy tends to increase the pool of eligibles in oompe,tition for the better j•obs, but iit does not make good jobs out of poor ones.11

A study of labor market changes between 1960 and 1970, from which
the above quotaJtion was excerpted, arrives 'at the following conclusion: Among 270 labor market segments in the occupational-industry
matrix, only 38 had a oonside,rahle proportion of their jobs so organized as to make possible promotion based on on-job training. The
38 occupation-industry segments were composed primarily of managers aild sales people in finance, insurance, and real estate; professional,
technical, and craft workers in public administration; professional
workers in manufacturing and trade; managers in wholesale manufacturing, construction, agriculture, retailing, other consumer services,
education, health, restaurants, and utilities; and craft workers in manufacturing, transportation, utilities, and other consumer services.
These occupation-industry groups were among the higher paying
groups. They provided only 11 percent of all jobs in 1960, but expanded to cover 16 percent of all jobs in 1970. The increase occurred
primarily in public administration. Manufacturing and utilities had
relatively declining employment from 1960 to 1970. These 38 segments
with strong internal promotion ladders were not occupation-industry
groups with many women emrloyees. 12
• •
If the occupational groups m the above study were d1vided mto categories based on .avemge annual e1arnings, women would be concentrn;ted in three of ,the four lowest paid categories, as of 1970. The proportion of women falling in the three lowest paid categories ranged
:from 65 to 76 percent. The earnings ratios for these low-paid groups
ra.nge<:l :lirom 43 to 78 percent of the average eiarnings of all the groups.
Perhaps most discouraging of all, :the domimmce of women in these
three low-paid caJtegories had increased from 1960 to 1970. The occupations in these groups were primarily office and
work in manufacturing, nondurable retailing, finance, insurance,
creal estate and some service industries; technical work in health
and product services; sales work in nondurable retailing; and service work in education, restaurants, and other consumer service
ind us\tries. 13
·women are subjected to typecasting in the 11abor market. They have
limited occupational mobility, either horizontal or vertical. Consciousness of their occupational seg-regation is heing raised, but 'barrieTS to
their progress still exist.



Why does occupational segregation by sex persist? 1Vhy are women
continuing to enter traditional Jobs for women instead of being hired
in nontraditional jobs? Clearly, more women entering into traditional
11 Marcia Fredman, "Labor Markets: Segments and Shelters," Landmark Studies (Montclair, N.J.: Allenheld, Orman & Co., 1976), pp. 42 and 43.
12 Ibid., pp. 42 and 72.
13 Ibid., pp. 21, 71-73.
Federal Reserve Bank of St. Louis

jobs makes it even more difficult to reduce barriers to employment of
women in nontraditional jobs because of the continually larger numbers involved. Until sizable numbers of women throughout the economy-in business, universities, and Government-hold leadership and
executive positions with policymaking responsibilities, occupational
segregation by sex and sex discrimination will not be eliminated. The
total economy and the society as a whole will be the loser, as well as the
women and families involved. White men gain when they can restriot
entry to their jobs, but women Jose more than white men gain; thus
society suffers ia net loss.
Part of the explanation for discrimination must lie outside the field
of economics; some employers continue to discriminate against women,
even when it is in their economic interest to hire women for non-traditional positions. Some employers will not hire woman in top-level
posit.ions even when women are "good buys"-.tha.'t is, a woman who is
currently unde.r-employed in relation to her training and experience
could be hired 1and hell' work upgraded with only R re.asonruble increase
in pay. Economic incentives 'to the employer have not 1been enough to
open up opportunities ito more 'than a few highly qualified women.
Recent new laws 1against sex discrimin1ation in employment are now
on the books. However, lack of enforcement, slowness of jud:iciaJ processes, suibtle but strong retaliation against people who mise individual
discrimina.tion cases for discussion and judgment, tthe ruttitude of those
in power that these issues are not serious all have tended to negate the
effectiveness of antidiscrimination legislation. Only the persistent
pressure of women activists has kept antidiscrimination measures
alive. Recent efforts to end university dbligation to enforce antisex
discrimination measures represent a case in point of continuing pressure to undo even limited progress--a negative precedent if these efforts were to prevail.
UntU our society finds ways to show that sex discrimination will
not be tolerated, and powerful political leaders do more than make
token 'appointments of ,a few women, the waste of occupational segregation will persist.
There are many reinforcing and interlock-ing facrors causing occup,ation1al segregation by sex to persist. First, !there is ithe cumula.tive
effect of past discrimination. There is outright discrim:in"<ttion against
individual women of skill and ability. There is also backlash, particula.rly today, from men who feel ve.ry insecure when women in the work
world are in posiitions that are not subordinate to them. Most important numerically is the J11arrow perception that many men in positions
of power have of the. potential of women in the work world. Such men
never think of women for management, executive, and leadership positions. These na,m-ow at,ti1tudes are supported by institutions throughout
our culture which have long ·and deep historical mots.14 They are based
on atdtudes that (1) woman's primary role is in the home, (2) her
attachment to the labor fioroo is !temporary or seconclrury ~ the home,
(3) she is interested only in intermittent work to meet rising costs in
periods of inflation, or to ea-rn just "pin money." The recent expectations of women who been entering .the Laibor furce attest t;o the
14 For detailed analysis, see Martha Blaxall and Barbara B. Rea~an, editors, "Women
ln the Workplace, the Implications· of Occupational Segr<•gatlon" (Chicago: University of
Chicago Press, 1976).
Federal Reserve Bank of St. Louis

opposite view. Many women are ser1ous about their caroors and their
work role potential. They are interested in making the gre.iatest possible economic contribution to their :families 15 as well as to the productivity of society. Women are dismayed at the negative attitudes,16 the
h1stitutional barriers, the waste involved when they are not .permitted
to develop 1:Jheir careell"S fully after investing in their human c:api~al:
Many top male executives are completely blind to the sex d1scnnnnation involved in occupational segregation. They are so imbued with
the rightness of the view that men should be in all the top positions
that underutilization of women employees is beyond their current understanding. Even calling the issue to their.attention may not result
in immediate awareness. It takes repeated efforts and often personal
involvement through wives and daughters before real insight occurs.
This blindness is not limited to older men, nor to business leaders.
Some political leaders, even relatively young ones, also lack insight,
despite the fact that politicians should be particularly sensitive to current trends in women's role potential. Recently, a business executive
was quoted in the press as saying that he !asked his secretary if she felt
discriminated against because of her sex.· She said, "Of course not."
As a form of proof, this is analogous to the Southern planter in the
early 1930's who ,asked his black sharecropper if he liked his position.
The answer was, "Yes, sir, Boss, and I appreciate it."
The increased awareness of many men in power positions of the
moral wrong and economic inefficiencies in racial discrimination has
provided a strong basis for extending and widening their view of the
role potenti,al of women. The surprise to women is the slow rate at
whfoh employers' views have changed 'and sex discrimination has
ended. Women ,are also surprised at the strength of the backlash
against women moving into higher positions, even though the movement is so infinitesimal.
Male executives today often fear "reverse discrimination" when in
fact women really are not going anywhere in the top echelons. Examination of a business, government agency, or university may reveal this.
Unless a male superior supports and pushes a female so as to open opportunities for her, she does not go very far up the ladder. Men think
nothing of a male executive supporting and pushing a male protege.
But when the protege is a woman of talent and skill, many men see this
as undue :favoritism, instead of a simple normal protege situation.
Some of the resistance against opening opportunities for women to
move up the executive ladder in the world of work comes from men
who themselves :fool insecure and indeed are inadequa,te -as managers.
Unfortunately, in our culture there are still men who are unable to
deal with women ,at work in positions other than subordinate ones.
They are not willing to see women move into positions where in the
future the,y might conceivably compete with them or their close male
In the world of work, efficiency ratings are commonplace. It is time,
in my opinion, to rate -an executive on his ability to work with women
and his willingness to open opportunities for them at :top levels. If he
15 This is not a new attitude for women. It is just that the means have changed.
1 • A male colleague of mine Quips that the reason occupational segregation by sex persists
is slmple--the cost of a sex modification operation is so high.
Federal Reserve Bank of St. Louis

is unable to handle this, his management ability should be appropriately downgraded. As with racial discrimination a,t work, inner feelings do not have to be monitored; actions do!



The future effect of efforts to end sex discrimination and Teduce sex
role stereotypes in the workplace may well depend on the general health
of the economy and its growth rate, as well as on the strength of agents
of change. Merely opening entry level positions in atypical fields for
women, although useful, will not solve the problem. The policy of
using women only when the economy needs them, and the blindness
to role potential of women can easily block advancement of new entrants. Concurrent movement of women in top level executive positions and into the corporate board rooms is also necessary. At this
point, the potential competition of women with men for top level jobs
is very threatening to men. It is particularly threatening if the growth
of the economy and thus the increase in the number of executive level
jobs is low. Differing growth rates for the overall economy suggest
different scenarios.
If la.bor markets expand through the second half of the 1970's, the
rising expectations of women and the movement of women into the
labor market may well shift former pa.tterns and reduce barriers to
women in the workplace. On the other hand, if labor markets remain
depressed through the second half of the 1970's, the rising expectations
of women workers may well come into sharp conflict with the realities
of occupational segregation and the barriers to their occupational mobility. At least two alternate outcomes are possible with depressed labor markets. The ensuing conflict between women's expectations and
the barriers to their occupational mobility may be enough to chang-e
the previously established equilibrium and to open greater opportunities for women. Such movement may be small. Nevertheless, a small
amount of movement may be large enough to ease social tensions, even
though full productivity gains are not realized.
An even more likely scenario in a slow economy with relatively high
unemployment rates would be increased rigidities in occupational segregation by sex and decreased opportunities for women. This could be
a reaffirmation of the old view that worn~~ are s~ondairy 'Yor½:ers in
the labor market and male heads of fam1hes receive priority m employment. Economic forces will be a major determinant of the future
opportunities for women.
Federal Reserve Bank of St. Louis






I. Introduction _________________________________________________ _
A. "Reserve" supply of women workers and labor demand _____ _
B. Some major questions _________________________________ _
II. Nontraditional jobs: Concepts and measurement _________________ _
III. Female
non-traditional occupations since 1960_____ __
A. penetration
Measures used
B. Effect of reC'ession _____________________________________ _
C. Substantial female penetration and total employment growth_
D. Highest degree of substantial female penetration ___________ _
E. Female growth areas without substantial female penetration __
F. Women's job growth versus men's job growth ____________ _
G. Summary of female penetration into male intensive jobs ___ _
H. Men at lower educational/occupational levels _____________ _
IV. The view from the shop floor and the office ______________________ _
A. Racial differences in job distribution among women ________ _
B. Importance of job satisfaction __________________________ _
C. Influence of marital and family status ___________________ _
D. Effect of working conditions ____________________________ _
E. Vertical mobility in office settings _______________________ _
V. Earnings ____________________________________________________ _
VI. Policy objectives and options __________________________________ _









The concept of full employment embraces the qualitative as well as
the quantitative satisfaction of job needs. A full employment policy
must therefore offer not only more jobs to accommodate all who wish
·and ·are able to take paid work; it must also offer a wider variety of
jobs and a greater access to the higher level positions in the occupational hierarchy than are now available to women and ot:her groups
whose opportunities have been limited 'by societal factors. Occupational barriers which thwart the full utilization of capacities are antithetical to a full employment program and costly to individuals and
the Nation.
In turn, progress toward achieving the quantitative and qualitative
goals of full employment is likely to stimulate the labor force participation of women, accelerating the long-run upward trend and possibly
establishing higher ultimate participation rates than might prevail
without sustained full employment. Research on the labor force behavior of women, especially married women, has established that ris•senior Research Associate, Conservation of Human Resources, Columbia University,
New York.
**Professor of Economics, City College of the City University of New York, N.Y.
Federal Reserve Bank of St. Louis


ing numbe,rs of job opportunities are associated with increases in female labor force participation rates. 1

A. "Rese1"Ve" Supply of Women Workers and Labor Demand
Beyond the absorption of the discouraged or hidden unemployed
such as oocurs in a recovery period of the business cycle,2 sustained
full employment would draw on the labor reserve of women who currently regard themselves as outside the labor market. 3 Some indication
of the size of the female labor reserve is given in 1970 census data on
la:bor force pamicipation rates for females aged 16 and over within
each State, subdivided into the urban, rural nonfarm, and ruml farm
population. A wide disparity of female participation rates emerges
from this tabulation, and the chief, but not sole, cause appears to be
differences in the local availability of jobs. Support for this interpretation arises from the fact that male participation rates within the
same geographical breakdown also were widely dispersed in ·approximately the same pattern, although male rates were all conisistently
higher than female rates. The latter ranged from a low of 17.3 percent
in the rural farm areas of North Dakota to a high of 55.9 percent in
the totally urban District of Columbia. The other low female participation rates, not. exceeding 24 percent, occurred in the rural farm
areas of West Virginia, South Dakota, and Louisiana, while the other
high rates we,re all in urban areas, and were highest in Alaska, Hawaii,
and North Carolina, where the urban rates were 51.4, 50.3, and 48.8
percent respootively. 4
One of the ways to measure the gap in jobs for women, which a
full employment policy would have to fill, is to postulate that the
female labor foroo participation rates established in the highest areas
would prevail all over the country if a full-employment volume of
jobs were available. For example, a female participation rate of perhaps 50 percent under full employment in 1970 (instead of the 1970
actual rate of 41.4 percent) would have resulted in a female labor
force ( aged 16 and over) 6.4 million larger than the actual 30.5 million in 1970, of whom 1.6 million were unemployed at census time. 5
The total deficit of female jobs thus would have been 8 million. In
fact, a female labor force participation rate of 50 percent is forecast
by the BLS for 1985 in projections issued in 1976.6 Judging by past
1 G. B. McNally, "Patterns of Female Lll!bor Force Activity," Industrial Relations (May
1967) ; T. A Finegan, "Participation of Married Women in the Labor Force," in C. B.
Lloyd, ed., "Sex, Discrimination, and the Division of Labor" (New York: Columbia University Preas, 1975) ; J. Mincer, "Labor Force Participation and Unemployment: A Review of
RPcent Evidence." in R. A. Gordon and M. S. Gordon. editors, "Prosperity and Unemployment" (New York: Wiley, 1966) ; A. Tella, "The Relation of Labor Force to Employment,"
Industrial and Labor Relations Review (April 1964).
• N. S. Barrett, "The Economy Ahead of Us : Wlll Women Have Different Roles?" in
J. l\L Kreps, editor, "Women and the American Economy: A Look to the 1980's" (Englewood Clifl's: Prentice-Hall, 1976), p. 15'6; New York Times, Sept. 12, 1976, "Women Entering Job Market at an 'Extraordinary' Pace"; U.S. Department of Labor, Bureau of Labor
Statistics, news release (Sept. 15, 1976), "The U.S. Labor Force in 1990: New Projections."
• C. G. Gellner, "Enlarging the Concept of a Labor Reserve," Monthly Labor Review
(April 1975): A. D. Butler and C. O. Demopoulos, "Labor Force Behavior in a FullEmployment Economy," Industrial and Labor Relations Review (April 1972) ; N. J. Simler
and A. Tella, "Labor Reserve and the Phllllps Curve," Review of Economics and Statistics.
(FPbruary 1968) ; W. Vroman, "The Labor Reserve: A Reestimate," Review of Economics
and flhtistics (October 1970).
• U.S. Bureau of the Census, 1970 Census of Population, "General Social and Economic
Characteristics, U.S. Summary" (Washington, D.C., Government Printing Office, 1973),
PC (1 l-Cl. tab!P, 163.
6 Thi/I., table 90.
6 U.S. Department of Labor, Bureau of Labor Statistics, news release (Sept. 15, 1976},
"The U.S. Labor Force in 1990 • • •," table 1.
Federal Reserve Bank of St. Louis

outdating of such projections, it is likely that this participation rate
will be reached before 1985 even in the absence of full employment.
Our calculation of the female labor reserve may exaggerate the
available female labor supply by assuming too great a uniformity
across geographical areas in the characteristics and situation of the
female population and in their potential responses to job opportunities. On the other hand, no allowance is made in this calculation for
the stimulatory effects of quantitative full employment on female
labor force participation rates in all areas, including those where
the rates are now highest. Such a quantitative projection also omits
entirely the potential boost to female participation rates which might
result from a wider choice of jobs and access to the better-paid jobs
as an inherent component of a full employment policy. 7 Little is known
about the ways in which a greater penetration of women into maledominated ·occupations would affect female participation rates, since
the major impacts might be on women already in the labor force.
On the demand side, the difficulty of achieving full employment
in various parts of the country is suggested by projections of employment growth by regions for 1970-85 ; the range in growth rates is
from a low of 21 percent in New England to 38 percent in the Far
West. 8 It is clear that a full employment policy would require programs to meet geographical variations in both the number of jobs
available and the number of jobs desired. In the same way, projections of the occupational composition of employment in the years
ahead reveal disparities between the likely developments in job openings and the preparation and desires of both men and women for
entry jobs and for posts on an upward mobility track. 9 Here again
fine tuning may be necessary in the full employment program. In
short, a combination of the quantitative and qualitative aspects of full
employment policy implies a dynamic interplay between the supply
and demand sides such that a stable full employment equilibrium is
unlikely to be reached. Instead the best to be hoped for is a moving
approximation in which the gap between demand and supply is
B. Some Major Questions
The challenge to policy is complex. Can enough jobs be created for
all who would want them under the expansive conditions of full employment? Can enough attractive jobs be created to satisfy both
men and women? Is the opening of more nontraditional jobs to women
workers through occupational desegregation a sufficient measure to
achieve equality with men? How adequately does an occupational
desegregation policy meet the needs of various subgroups of women,
especially those with low educational attainment and occupational
status? Do black women have special perceptions of the issue? Finally,
• F. D. Welsskoff (Blau), "'Women's Place' In the Labor Market," Proceedings, American
Economic Assqclatlon (May 1972), p. 165; E. James, "Eft'ects of Women's Liberation," In
C. B. Lloyd, op. cit., pp. 387-391, app. 15.2.
• L. A. Lecht, "Changes in Occupational Characteristics: Planning Ahead for the. 1980's''
(New York: The Conference Board, 1976), table 2.3.
• Lecht, op. cit., pp. 16-21, 39-41; J. L. Norwood, "Norwood and the Workplace" Signs
(spring 1976 supplement), pp. 278-281; M. F. Crowley, "Professional ManpowPr: The Job
Market Turnaround," Monthly Labor Review (October 1972) ; Neil Rosenthal and Hall
Dillon. "Occupational Outlook for the Mld-1980's," Occupational Outlook Quarterly (win,
ter 1974); H. Wool, "Future Labor Supply for Lower Level Occupations," Monthly Labor
Review (March 1976) ; J. N. Hedges, "Women Workers and Manpower Demands In the
1970's," Monthly Labor Review (June 1970).
91-686-77--- 8
Federal Reserve Bank of St. Louis


can an occupational desegregation policy be framed entirely in terms
of the needs of women, omitting a corresponding movement for men~
In this context, the discussion of women and nontraditional jobs
will begin with concepts, definitions, and measurement. It is followed by a detailed review of changes in women's penetration of
the male-intensive occupations from 1960 to the present, including
a discussion of earnings and subgroups of women. The final section
considers the policy issues surrounding increased female access to
nontraditional jobs in relation to a full employment policy.



Nontraditional occupations for women are not a fixed category,
but vary over time, and from place to place. For most purposes, nontraditional jobs at any given time may be defined as those in which
women form a considerably smaller proportion of the workforce
than their current share of 'the total employed population.
In the work settings where most women are employed, it is customary to make occupational distinctions which label certain jobs
nontraditional for women.10 Whether or not the workplace is simply
a replica of the social relationships of men and women in all other
aspects of life. the result of job labeling within the firm has been to
place men higher than women in the job hierarchy, as measured by
status and salary levels, to give men supervisory roles over women at
work, and to reserve for men most of the upward mobility within
the enterprise. Questions of differential access to the higher ranks
within an organization arise even where there is a gender-neutral
occupation, such as secondary school teaching. From a broader perspective, girls are seen as receiving signals from society from an early
age that male intensiYe occupations are not suitable for females. There
is thus both a horizontal and a vertical aspect to the restrictions of
women because of male-dominated occupations. The former involves
limitations on original choice and preparation for an occupation, choice
of firm, job assignment, and job changes. The latter concerns restricted
upward mobility within the work organization or into more prestigious
or better-paying firms.
This separation of men's work from women's has been sufficiently
pervasive and observable, even in the inadequate national occupational data, to produce numerous theoretical forays into the causes
and process. Drawing on the insights of one or more academic disciplines, the resulting theories have yielded a welter of views, not
always consistent with one another. The divergencies among economists are notable, as recent reviewers of the literature indicate. 11
Empirical efforts also have been made to measure occupational differences between men and women, and to establish the trends over
time, using a varietv of indexes. One of the measures concerns occupational concentration by sex, showing the number of occupations in
which a given proportion of the labor force of each sex is found. While
1o H. T. Schrank and J. W. Riley, Jr., "Women in Work Organizations," in J. M. Kreps,
op. cit.
11 F. D. Blau and D. L. Jusenlus, "Economists' Approaches to Sex St>gregation in the
Labor MarkPt: An Appraisal." Signs (spring 1976 supplement) ; C. B. Lloyd, "The Dlvl~1on of Labor Between the Sexes," in Lloyd, op. cit. ; J. F. Madden, "Economic Dimensions
of Occupational Segregation; Comment III," Signs (spring 1976 supplement) ; H. Kahne
and A. I. Kohen, "Economic Perspectives on the Roles ot Women In the American Economy," Journal of Economic Literature (December 1975), pp, 1256-1262.
Federal Reserve Bank of St. Louis

occupationa'l concentration appears to have diminished over the years
for women, men are still distributed more widely than women over occupations, even after allowance is made for the larger number of men
in the labor force.i 2 Another measure focuses on the occupational dissimilarity between men and women. Called an index of occupational
segregation by some analysts, this measure has shown little change
over th~ years in the prevalence of a high _degree of sex-labeling of
Measures which identify male and female intensity of the detailed
occupations are another way of assessing the trend in female penetration of nontraditional jobs. By .all accounts, the proportion of
women in male-intensive occupations has changed little since moo.
While the progress registered from 1960 to 1970 was small, it suggests a trend toward greater penetration by each sex into nontraditional occupations.14 A rather staggering figure can be extracted from
the Bergmann-Adelman basic calculations on the distribution of men
and women in male intensive occupations. If women had been represented in these occupations according to their proportion of the whole
employed population, it would have been necessary to shift more than
10 million women into the male intensive occupations. By the same
token, over 10 million men would have had to take up female intensive occupations in order to redress the balance in that sector and to
find jobs in the 1970
Another way of looking at sex polarization is by a tabulation of the
occupations rather than their total employment. Depending on the
base year chosen, the results tend to conform to those for employment.i8 On the whole, the various measures cited here confirm that
some slight changes have occurred since 1960 in the occupational distributions of both men and women, tending toward a reduction in
the segregation.
Some find the existence of occupational separation of either sex
offensive in itself. But for most, the objections to the existence of male
intensive occupations arise from the evidence that men have higher
rates of pay and total earnings than women. Consequently much of
12 v. K. Oppenheimer, "The Sex Labeling of Jobs," Industrial Relations (May 1973;
D. Sommers, "Occupational Rankings for Men and Women by Earnings," Monthly Lahor
Review (August 19714), pp. 50-51; J. N. Hedges, op. cit., p. 19; "Manpower Report of the
President, 1974," p. 107; M. H. Stevenson, "Relative Wages and Sex Segregation by
Occupation," in C. B. Lloyd, op. cit., pp. 182-187: V. K. Oppenheimer, "The Female
Labor Force in the United States : Demographic Factors Governing Its Growth and
Changing ComP.ositlon" (Berkeley: University of Callfornia Press, 1970).
a E. Gross, 'Plus ca Change • • •? The Sexual Structure of Occupations Over Time,"
Social Problems (fall, 1968)) ; F. D. Blau, "Sex Segregation of Workers by Enterprise
in Clerical Occupations," in R. C. Edwards, M. Reich, and D, M. Gordon, editors, "Labor
Market Segmentation" (Lexington, Mass. ; D. C. Health, 1975), pp. 257-278 ; Connell of Economic Advisers, "Economic Report of the President" (1973), p. 155; R. L. Oaxaca, "Some
Observations on the Economics of Women's Liberation," Challenge (July/August 1976),
p. 32.
"V. K. Oppenheimer, "r:l'he Sex Labellnll of Jobs." pp. 219-221 • H. Zellner, "The
Determinants of Occupational Segregation, In C. B. Lloyd, op. cit., p. 126 ; R. D.
Roderick and J. M. Davis, "Correlates of Atypical Job Assignment" (Columbus: Center
for Human Resource Research, the Ohio State University, 1972) ; B. Bergmann and
I. Adelman, "The 1973 Report of the President's Connell of Economic Advisers : Thi- Economic Role of Women," American Economic Review (September 1973), table 1; F. D. Blau,
"Sex Segregation -," op. cit., p. 257 ; C. L. Jusenlus, "Occupational Change," "Dual
Careers: A Longitudinal Study of Labor Market Experiences of Women," vol. 3, p. 22
(Washington : Department of Labor, Manpower Administration, R. & D. Monograph 21,
1 • Bergmann and Adelman, op. cit., table 1.
18 M. K. Freedman, "Labor Markets: Segments and Shelters" (Montclair: Allan held.
Osmun, 1976), p. 87; J. L. Laws, "Psychological Dimensions of Women's Work Force
Participation," in P. A. Wallace, editor, "Some New Perspectives on Equal Employment
Opportunity and the .4.T. cf T. Case" (Cambridge: MIT Press, 1975).
Federal Reserve Bank of St. Louis

the theoretical and empirical work has centered on explanations of
these sex differences in earnings. 17 Some studies maintain that tho
exclusion of women from male-dominated occupations is less responsible for wage rate and earnings differences than is unequal pay within
occupations, as they are classified in national data. Other studies
acknowledge the effects of simultaneous forces tending toward higher
ea,rnings for men. 18
Whatever the theories and studies have shown in their disputatious
presentations, public policy has been clear in its assumptions and
goals. Responding to one of the strongest and clearest revolutions of
rising expectations of this century, as embodied in the Women's Movement, Government action to permit increased entry of women into
nontraditional jobs has been expressed in several fieces of legislation, notably the Equal Pay Act of 1963, title VII o the Civil Rights
Act of 1964, and title IX of the Education Amendments of 1972, in
affirmative action measures, in the Federal Contract Compliance program (Executive Order 11246 as amended by Executive Order 11375
in 1967), and in such actions as the Department of Labor's sponsorship of a specific program in suburban New York to train women for
nontraditional jobs. State and local equal opportunity and human
rights legislation and commissions also have been established. Without prejudging the efficacy of these measures which had little impact
by 1970, we proceed to a detailed analysis of female penetration of
male intensive occupations, drawn chiefly from census data which
are comparable for 1960 and 1970.
SINCE 1960

In 1960 about 2.7 million women were employed in male intensive
occupations, and these in turn accounted for over 60 I?ercent of all
employment. Women in male intensive occupations constituted a smaJl
minority, 13.5 percent, of all women workers. (Table 1). They also
accounted for only about 7 percent of total employment in the male
intensive occupations at a time when women comprised 33 percent of
all workers. Ten years later the 1970 census showed (table 1) just
over 4 million women in the male intensive occupations, which accounted for 56 percent of all employment. Women in male intensive
occupations constituted 15 percent of all women workers, only a little
above the 1960 share. Similarly, women accounted for 10 percent of
all the workers in male intensive occupations while they were 38 percent of the tot1J.l employment.
17 H. Kahne and A. I. Kohen. "Economic Perspectives . . . ," p. 1258 ; see also I. V.
Sawhill, "The Economics of Discrimination Against Women: Some New Findings,"
Journal of Human Resources (summer 1973).
18 S. W. Polachek, "Discontinuous Labor Force Participation and Its Ell'ect on Women's
Market Earnings," In C. B. Lloyd, op. cit., p. 118; J. T. Addison, "Sex Discrimination: Some Comparative Evidence," British Journal of Industrial Relations (Jul_y_ 1975),
pp. 263-266; B. Chiplin and P. J. Sloane, "Sexual Discrimination In the Labor Market,"
British Journal of Industrial Relations (November 1974), pp. 77-81.
Federal Reserve Bank of St. Louis



1960 t
Total empl0ymenl2________
Total male employment•--------Total female employment'_______
male intensive occupationsIn•- ____________________





17. 9


15. 0

• 19. 2

51. 6

(789. 7)

(4. 0) (I, 359. 5)

(5. 0)

(7. 9)


(15. I) (I, 904. I)

(9. 5) (2,723. 7)

(10. 0)

(II. 3)



10. 4


~I. I)

~2. 5)
7. 9)

146. 0
49. 7

266 ---------- 34,746.4 ---------- 36,806.9 --------------------



63. 7


(48. 6)

•Male intensive with SFP I by 1970 __


intensive occupa!ions_in•••


418 ---------- 61,455.5 ---------- 72,484.8 ---------- 11,029.3
418 __________ 41,480. O ·-·-·-·--- 45,291. I __________ 3,811.1
100. 0 19,975.5
100. 0 27, 193. 7
100. 0 7,218.2

Very male intensive(VMI)•___
Moderately male intensive
(MMI) •-- __ - -- --·-·-----VMI with SFP by 1970 _______
MMI with SFP by 1970 _______


Growth 1960-70




12. 7



I, 269. 5

0) (123.6~
6. 7) (I, 145. 9

13. 5



(0. 6~ (304. 0)
(5. 7 (I, 715. 4)

The total number of detailed occupations analyzed in this study. A few were excluded.
• 14 yrs. and over. Excludes "occupation not reported."
3 Ml (male intensive) means that 75 or more percent of employment in the occupation was male; VMI (very male in•
tensive) means 90 or more percent; MMI (moderately male intensive) means 75-89 percent.
• 100 percent.
1 SFP (substantial female penetration) means a rise of 5 or more percentage points in the femala share of employment in
~n occupation.

Source: U.S. Bureau of the Census, Census of Population, 1970, "Detailed Characteristics of the Population, PC(l)-Dl, U.S. Summary." (Washington: Government Printing Office, 1973), table 221.

The pace of change was more rapid in the male intensive occupations than in others. But, against the goal of ending occupational
segregation or achieving a share of women in each occupation equal
to the share of women in the total employed population, the advance
from 1960 to 1970 seems miniscule. Still, there are no guidelines on
the proper, feasible or desirable rate of change ih female entry to
male dominated occupations. In the context of a long historical process,
the 1960-70 developments may appear significant.

A. 111ea,sures Used
In order to analyze the changes since 1960 three measures have been
used. The first two subdivide male intensity (MI) into very male
intensive (VMI) and moderately male intensive (MMI). The third,
measuring the degree of women's entry into male-intensive occupations, is called "substantial female penetration:' or SFP. Male intensive occupations are defined as those where men held 75 percent or
more of the jobs ( or women held 25 percent or less) in 1960, a criterion
derived from the male share of 67.2 percent in total employment. Of
the 418 occupations, 266 were male intensive in 1960. (Table 1.) within
this MI category, occupations with 90 percent or more male workers
(203 of the 266 male intensive occupations) are designated as
Vl\fl (very male intensive). Occupations with 75-89 percent males,
(63 of the 266 occupations) are called MMI (moderately male intensive. The next category would be gender-neutral occupat10ns in which
men and women are represented in roughly their proportions in total
Federal Reserve Bank of St. Louis

employment; this category accounts for under one fifth of all employment. Female intensive occupations complete the list.
Within the MI occupations, the moderately male intensive (MMI),
as compared with the VMI occupations, accounted for the greater share
of employment in both 1960 and 1970. (Table 1.) While the rate of
advance was higher for the VMI than the MMI, the latter's absolute
growth was larger. In terms of the types of occupations in the two MI
subdivisions and the progress made by women to date, the greatest
challenge to female penetration lies in the VMI sector which contains
more of the prestigious and well paid occupations. In fact, much of
the anecdotal material about women who have invaded male bastions concerns the occasional breaching of a VMI wall, such as in coal
mining, the military forces, the ministry, the Alaskan pipeline construction, or State parks.
In 1960 MI employment of females was predominantly blue collar
and, within that group, largely centered in the lower level occupations.
(Table 2.) While under half of the increase in MI employment from
1960 to 1970 was in the blue-collar occupations, the whole MI category
in 1970 was still predominantly blue collar. A gradual shift is evident,
since two of the highest rates of increase from 1960 to 1970 were in
white-collar fields.
1960 AND GROWTH 1960-70

All occupations ___________
technical and kindred _________________________
farm _________________________
Sales workers __________________
Clerical and kindred workers _____
Craftsmen and kindred workers •.•
operatives, except transport_ ________________________

in M11
occupations as

of Mil

13. 5




2,693.8 • 1,389.4

Total employment
(male plus female)




51. 6 61,455.5


Per- 1960-70

cent (percent)


17. 9









59. 7
15. 8
3. 2


9. 7


9. 2
17. 0







95. 7
100. 0


26. 7

6. 3

221. 8



11. 3

85.4 5,754.2
0 -- -------- -- ------------------ 1,717.9



Transport equipment operatives __
Laborers, except farm •• _________
Farmers and farm managers ______
Fann laborers and farm foremen
Service workers, except privatehousehold____________________
4. 7
Private household workers _________________

Male intensive (Ml) means that 75 or more percent of employment in the occupation was male.
• 100 percent.
. Source: U.S. Bureau of the Census, Census of Population, 1970, "Detailed Characteristics of the Population, PC(l)-Dl, United State Summary." (Washington, D.C., Government Printing Office, 1973), table 221.

The record of women in nontraditional jobs and a measure of their
advance from 1962 to 1974 are covered to some extent in selected current population survey data on a year-to-year basis.19 Of the 441
detailed occupations reported, only 65 had sufficient consistency of
u S. H. Ge.rfln:tle, "Occupations of Women and Black Workel'B," Monthly Labor Review
(November 1975).
Federal Reserve Bank of St. Louis

definition and reliability of trend to serve for analysis. And of these
65 occupations, 36 were MI, as defined here. Almost half of the latter
had a more rapid rate of female penetration after 1970 than from
1962 to 1970, while an additional four occupations proceeded at the
same rate of advance as previously. Some acceleration of penetration
from 1970 to 1974 therefore may be assumed.
B. Effect of Recession
The onset of the recession led to many woeful reports and dire predictions that most women who had recently penetrated the male intensive occupations faced dismissal as "last in, first out." The full details
will not be known for some time, but some preliminary information on
employment changes from 1974 to 1975 suggests that in a number of
MI occupations women fared better than men, either holding steady
or increasing their total numbers in jobs as the men declined or at
best held steady, while in other occupations women did no worse than
men. 20 Among the specific occupations where there was a more favorable position for women than men in employment changes 1974-75
are : salaried managers and administrators ( except farm) , carpenters,
other construction crafts, metal craft, drivers of motor vehicles, construction laborers, and :farm managers.
Another group of occupations showing women no worse off than
men in the recession employment changes included: professional and
technical ( excluding health workers and noncollege teachers), salesworkers (nonretail), mechanics and repairers, craft supervisors, transport equipment operatives (other than vehicle drivers), nonfarm
laborers (manufacturing), protective service workers, paid :farm
laborers. These figures need to be supplemented by more detailed data,
especially for individual establishments, and government employment
at all levels. At present there is no general data base to support the
view that women have suffered a major setback due to the recession,
regarding employment in the nontraditional occupations.
0. Substantial Female Penetration and Total Employment Growth
In order to gage the growth over the decade 1960-70 of female
employment within specific male intensive occupations, our measure of
SFP (substantial female penetration) has been used instead of the
percentage increase in :female employment in individual occupations.
The criterion for SFP is an increase from 1960 to 1970 of 5 or more
percentage points in the female share of employment in an MI occupation. The choice of this criterion reflects the fact that the female
share of total employment increased by 4.9 percentage points between
1960 and 1970 (from 32.8 to 37.7 percent). Since this overall increase
would tend to raise the female share by a few percentage points in
many specific occupations, the flat differential of 5 or more percentage
points identifies those with above average performance. SFP by itself
does not tell anything about the employment pattern for males in these
,. CalculationR from data in S. M. St. 1111.rle 11.nd R. W. Bednarzik, "F.mployment and
TTnemplo:vment DnrinA" J975." Sneclal Labor ForcP. Report 185, table 18 (Washington: U.S.
Bureau of Labor StatistiCI!. 1976). See also a study by R. E. Smith of the Urban Institute.
a• reno,.ted in New York Times, Nov. 2. 1976; "How Women Fared During the Recession,"
OECD Observer, September/October 1976.
Federal Reserve Bank of St. Louis

Female expansion in the 53 SFP occupations accounted for over
half of the employment increase of females in all 266 MI occupations
from 1960 to 1970. The larger part of that expansion was in the 28 MMI
occupations. In fact, several occupations moved from their 1960 MMI
status to gender-neutral in 1970 as a result of the penetration by women.
According to our detailed examination, almost half of all 53 MI occupations with SFP were concentrated in two major occupational
groups: craftsmen and clerical occupations, with the professionaltechnical group not far behind. But in terms of absolute growth in the
numbers of female workers, clericals were in first position ( accounting for nearly one-third of the whole SFP increase), professionaltechnical workers were second (just under one-fifth), next came operatives, then sales; transport and crafts each accounted for only about
6 percent of the whole.
Considerable interest is attached to the relation between the growth
patterns of total employment ( male plus female) and substantial female penetration (SFP). The preceding discussion, focusing on the
growth of female employment in MI occupations, has postponed this
discussion, but now asks: Does it make a difference whether rapidly
growing female employment in a given occupation goes in tandem with
mcreased male employment there, or replaces male employment 1 In
investigating the female penetration of male intensive occupations, it
is important to evaluate carefully the oocupations with a net decline
in employment where women have nevertheless established increased
shares of total employment, either through a slower net decline than
men or through increases in female numbers. It has been argued in the
past that such takeovers by women in declining MI occupations are
precursors to forming new female intensive occupations, with all of
their earnings and status problems. 21 Moreover, even in such declining
occupations, women do not occupy many of the positions of responsibility within the enterprise. 22
With these points in mind, table 3 classifies the 53 detailed male
intensive occupations with SFP into 4 categories, according to the
rate of growth of overall employment. The result indicates that 21 of
the 53 occupations and 56.8 percent of the growth in female employment are associated with rapid growth occupations (30 percent or
more), while another 5 occupations and 15.8 percent of the growth
are accounted for by occupations whose total employment increased at
rates from 17.9 (the average) to 29.9 percent. The 11 occupations whose
slow growth ranged from over zero to 17.9 percent provided only 24.8
percent of the female employment growth. Finally, the 16 occupations
which had a decline in total employment, but still registered SFP
from 1960 to 1970 ( either through actual increases of female employ21

National Manpower Council, Womanpower (New York: Columbia University Press,

1957) : D. L. Hiestand, "Economic Growth and Employment Opportunitie.s for Minorities"
(New York: Columbia University Press, 1964).

0• H. Wilensky, "Women's Work: Economic Growth, Ideology, Structure," Industrial
Relations (May 1968).
Federal Reserve Bank of St. Louis

ment, or through slower employment declines than males experienced),
accounted £or less than 3 percent of net female employment growth
in male intensive occupations.

Total employment__ __________________________ _

AII Ml occupations with SFP: 1
Rapid growth ___________________________ -------Moderate growth _______________________________ _
________ ___________________________

Number of



of female

17. 9


749. 9


17. 9-29. 9
0-17. 8


426. 0

56. 7


185. 8

24. 8

Rate of
growth (male
plus female)






1 Ml (male intensive) means that 75 or more percent of employment in the occupation was male. SFP (substantial
female penetration) means a rise of 5 or more percentage points in the female share of employment in an occupation.
2 Since "managers, not elsewhere classified, self-employed, retail," one of largest of the 16 occupations with a decline,
was redefined in 1970 to count managers of incorporated family businesses as salaried, the 1960-70 change in this class
may be overstated. C.B. Dicesare, "Changes in Occupational Structure of U.S. Jobs," Monthly Labor Review (March 1975),
fn. 4.
a Negative.

Source: U.S. Bureau of the Census, Census of Population, 1970. "Detailed Characteristics, PC(l)-Dl, U.S.
Summary" (Washington, D.C.: Government Printing Office, 1973), table 221.

The distribution of occupations by growth patterns is uneven. The
bulk of the blur,-collar and lower level occupations where women made
large gains in their share were occupations where total male employment was either declining or increasing quite slowly. Conversely, the
most rapid growth category was almost entirely composed of technicalprofessional, managerial and clerical occupations, while the secondrank growth category with only five occupations in it had a mix of
transport, crafts, and services.
The SFP occupations with overall employment decline suggest
accepiance of females in shrinking or dying occupations which men
no lr,nger want. Among paperhangers, and telegraph operators, both
male and female employment declined, but female dropped less than
male, resulting in SFP. Contrasting with drops in male employment,
female employment was stable among bootblacks, and increased among
jewelers and watchmakers, shoe repairers, stonecutters, messengers,
weighers, filers and polishers, and self-employed farm laborers. A more
substantial female growth occurred among bakers and compositors,
where technological and organizational changes may have reduced the
number of males and increased the females.
The list of SFP occupations in which the overall growth of employment was positive but sluggish also suggests an uncertain future-with
a few exceptions, such as engineering and scientific technicians ( chemical) and some categories of salespersons. Among the occupations where
the female share rose by 5 or more percentage points but the male
growth was small are several skilled crafts : molders, upholsterers,
Federal Reserve Bank of St. Louis

drillers, sawyers, furniture finishers, bartenders, recreation attendants,
and inspectors (scalers and graders, loggers and lumberers). Since
craft occupations are absent from the two fast-growing SFP categories, it appe11,rs that some women penetrated into categories with a
small growth potential. For particular individuals, the movement into
such occupations mt1.y represent a gain, but care should be taken in
regarding such penetration as an advance for women as a _group. A
closer look must be taken at congratulatory reports on erosion of sex
stereotyping in crafts. 23 It is significant that the crafts with a strong
growth of males did not have much increase in female employment.
By contrast, the rapid growth category with SFP contains such VMI
( very male intensive) occupations as actuaries, operations researchers,
urban and regional planners, bank officers, dental laboratory technicians, and other technicians (tool programers). Several of these fields
are new occupations, or have developed new branches of old occupations, and look for female workers, free from traditional discrimination. Among the MMI ( moderately male intensive) occupations in this
category are accountants, college teachers (mathematics), designers,
advertising agents, real estate agents, bill collectors, expediters, insurance agents, and radio operators. Several of these fields offer selfemployment, or contractual arrangements on less stringent and often
more lucrative terms than simple salaried employment. There also were
instances of simple wage-employment; namely, mail carriers, shipping
clerks, postal clerks, ticket agents, and opticians (lens grinders). Considering the rather high level of education/training required to enter
and progress in many of the rapidly growing occupations, it can be
seen than these male intensive occupations with SFP, which accounted
for over half of the growth in all SFP occupations, offer openings for
the better-educated women, a growing class in the labor force.

D. Highest Degree of Substantial Female Penetration
Table 4 shows the 21 occupations with the highest degree of SFP
achievement (9 percentage points or more) ; 13 of these are MMI occupations, repeating an earlier finding that the occupations in which
women l!-lready hold 11-25 percent of the jobs are more likely to show
further mcreases than the VMI with a female share of 10 percent or
less. The 21 SFP occupations in table 4 present a mixed picture in
terms of the growth rate of the occupation as a whole. Three occupations with a substantial increase in the female share had a decline in
total employment, and three had a slower growth of total employment
than the average rate of all occupations (17.9 percent). Clearly the
most favorable occupations for women were in the white-collar categories, with baJ?-~ managers an outstanding example. Not only were
women a fast-nsmg share of an expanding total, but most of these
exp1tnsive occupations permit upward mobility and are relatively wellpa~d. By contrast, the "progress" of women among shoe repairers,
we1ghers, bakers, and furniture finishers is attributable to male rejection of or ejection from such jobs.
28 ,T. N. Hedl!'l'S and S. E. Remis, "Sex Stereotyping : Its Decline In Skilled Trades "
"Ionthly Labor Review (May 1974).

Federal Reserve Bank of St. Louis


Ml class 1
programers ____________________________________________________
Technicians, not elsewhere classified __________________________________
Accountants __________________________________ ._____________________
College teachers-math ________________________________________ • _____
Radio o&erators ____________________________________ -------· -------·.
Banko cers, financial manaeers ______________________________________
Sales-services and construction •• _••••••••• _. __ ._ •••••• _••••• _. __ •••••
Bill and account collectors ____________________________________________
Expediters_._._. __ •••••• _. __ ••• ___ •• __ ._ •••• __ ._ •• _•• _•• _••• __ ._._.


~~~!f ~f:r::~~~~~~:::::: :: :::::::::::::::: :: :::::::: ::::::::::::::: : : j
~;r:~e~:ents. --- -- -- -- ---- -- ---- -- -- -- ---- -- -- -- ---- -- - -- --- -- --- -- : : :
Dental laboratory technicians •••••• ________ ••••• __________________ •••• VMI
Furniture finishers ••• __________________________ •• ______ •••• _________ VMI
Shoe repairers ••••• __________ •••••• _________________________________ VMI
Bakers ••••• _•••••• _. ______ •• __ ••••••••• _•••••••••••• __ ••••••••••••• MM I
Engravers. ___ • __ ._ •••• _____ ._. ________ •• ______ • __ ._. __ •••• _. __ ._ •• _ MM I
Bus drivers ______________ •• _________________________________________ VMI
Bartenders_ ••• _._. __ • ___________ •• __ ••••• __ ._ ••••••• _._. __ •• _._.___ MM I

Percentage Percent change
point increase,
in total
1960-70, in
female share


43. 7
137. 6
13. l
71. 5
33. 7

1 Ml (male intensive) means that 75 or more precent of employment in the occupation was male; VMI (very male in•
tensive) means 90 or more percent; MMI (moderately male intensive) means 75-89 percent
Source: U.S. Bureau of the Census, Census of Population, 1970. "Detailed Characteristics, PC(l}-Dl, U.S. Summary'!
(Washington, D.C.: Government Printing Office, 1973), table 221.

E. Female Growth Areas Without Substantial Female Penetration
Many of the 213 MI occupations which did not show SFP had
marked female growth during 1960-70 (10,000 or more additional females). And a majority of VMI occupations, starting from a small
base, had a 60 percent increase or better in the number of females employed; the average inorease for ,all MI occupations was 51.6 percent.
A smaller proportion of MMI occupations had an above average increase. The failure of women to ,attain SFP in these 213 occupations
resulted from 1a concurrent growth of male workers on top of a large
male base in those occupations, many of which were expanding
Among the specific occupations showin~ strong female growth in
the non-SFP category are some self-employed and/or high-paying
fields, such as computer specialists, engineers, lawyers, scientists, physicians, dentists, college teachers, technicians, public relations workers,
funeral directors, federal inspectors, purchasing agents, sales managers, school administrators, stock and bond salesmen, and ,a variety of
crafts. Thus, individual women may have improved their financial and
career position, even though the sex-composition of these occupations
did not change much or worsened. From the viewpoint of the individual woman seeking to enter MI occupations, it is of little consequence
whether the female share is rising so long as jobs are open. A much
more important consideration than the female sha·re in the occupation,
to which an'alysts pay undue obeisance, is the situation in the firm, the
attitudes of management :and fellow-workers, the opportunities for
promotion or self-employment, and the equality of conditions between
the sexes.
Federal Reserve Bank of St. Louis

F. Women's Job Growth Versus Men's Job Growth
Another perspective on women's penetration into the male intensive
occupations is obtained by relating the growth on the women's side to
that for men. The outstanding conclusion is that a fairly limited area
for women's penetration exists. If all of the growth between 1960 and
1970 in these occupations had been reserved for women, about 2.1 million additional jobs, taken from men, would have been available for
women (table 5). This would have left 3.7 million women with no
alternative but the female intensive sector, which actually made room
for 5.8 million additional women between 1960 and 1970. The slow development of the male intensive occupations, and the increase in the
number of young men and women qualified to enter them, pose the
most serious threat to the occupational desegregation movement.

G. Suwmary of Female Penetration Into Male Intensive Jobs
Overall, women did not do badly in their share of the increase in male
intensive employment. Their rate of growth was 51.6 percent against
5.9 percent for the men (table 1). The men garnered in the male intensive fields a total of 670,000 more jobs than the females (table 5). What
is significant, .however, is the difference between the sexes in the distribution of the growth among the major occupational groups. Three
comparisons stand out. First, in the male intensive occupations in the
clerical field women made a real breakthrough, showing a larger ·absolute increase than the men in such occupations as insurance adjuster,
postal clerk, dispatcher, production controller, ticket ·agent. This development indicates that women's penetration proceeds most rapidly
in the fields where they have a strong position in related female intensive fields which are not cut off from the male intensive jobs by requirements of education, training, physical characteristics, or other segmenting influences.
(In thousands]


Nonmale intensive-total. __ ·--·--·- .. ·-·· .. ··---- .... ·----- .•..........••......•
Male intensive '-total.. ....•...............•...•••..•••••...•.••••••....•.•••..•


l, 750.6

Professional, technical and kindred ...........•...........•••.........•..•.....
Managers, administrators, except farm .•.......•••.•..••••.•...••..............
Sales workers ••••..•.••.•.....••••••••.....••••••••••••.•••••••••.••••.•••.
Clerical and kindred ...••..•...........•••••..................•••••••..••••••
Craftsmen and kindred ...............••••••.....................••••..••••••
Factory operatives, except transport ......................•••........•...••..••
Transport equipment operatives ••••.............•..•................•.....•••
Laborers, except farm ••.....•..............•..........••.•.•...............
Farmers and farm managers ................................................. .
Farm laborers and farm foremen .•..•••..•••••...............................•
Service workers, except private household .•.••..•........•••..•..•...••••..•.•

260, 7
123. 1
129. 8
236. 7
199. 8

1, ~~~: ~
843. 5
290. 2
156. 4
-220. 7
-1, 108. 2


1 Male intensive (Ml) means that 75 or more percent of employment in the occupation was male.
Source: U.S. Bureau of the Census, Census of Population, 1970i "Detailed Characteristics of the Population, PC(l)-Dl,
U.S. Summary" (Washington, D.C.: Government Printing Office, 1~73), table 221. Excludes "occupation not reported."

Second, the continued increase of females in the laborer category
while men show a sharp decrease, and the disproportionate female increase in the factory operatives group, confirm our earlier point con
Federal Reserve Bank of St. Louis

cerning the creation of new female ghettos in occupations and jobs
which men are leaving, voluntary or involuntarily. Third, ·and most
important for the equality for women, the distribution of male employment growth shows a high concentration in three occupational groups
which include many of the best opportunities for high paid, supervisory, skilled, and professional posts. In these fields, professionaltMhnicaJ, crafts, ·and services, women's employment growth was far
less concentrated. Thus, despite the small overall growth, men have
continued to dominate the upward mobility channels.

H. Men at Lower Educational/Occupational, Levels
It would be wrong to ignore the serious employment problem which
these growth data reveal for men at the lower educationial-occupational
levels, particularly :for minority males. Of course, suc;h men can be
directed into the female intensive sector and in fact the penetration of
white and black males into female intensive occupations has increased.
However, it is not proceeding as vigorously as the reverse movement of
women because of lower earnings, lack of skills, and sex discrimination against men in the female fields. 24
Minority men face problems at most occupational levels in competing against white men, and the situation undoubtedly is exacerbated
by the pressure from women, especially white women, to gain a larger
share of the male intensive jobs. Data from the Equal Employment
Opportunities Commission show that while the small decline from
1966 ,to 1974 in the share of white men in firms with 100 or more employees has been split among all of the other competing groups, it went
especially to white women. A special case illustrates the tensions which
may arise when white women invade a black man's job. Young, middleclass, suburban white women, usually just out of high school, have been
t aking stablehand jobs at the Belmont race track outside of New York
City. Living at home, loving horses, these girls have been willing to
work long hours for low pay. They are displacing or competing with
black men for whom this is a job whi~h must sometimes support a
whole family. 25
Clearly, the male and female, and white and minority employment
problems and goals must be considered together if progress is to be
made by any group. In addition to the discrimination which women's
advocates rightly charge, account must be taken of the overall slow
growth of the occupations in which men have been dominant :for so
long, and a distinction must be made between the fast-growing upwardly mobile sectors and the others in setting goals for women's





The national, cross-sectional data upon which the preceding analysis
necessarily has relied deal only with the penetration of women into
male intensive occupations. The data have not been concerned with
the situation of individual women .at various occupational levels as
.. S. H. Garflnkle, op, cit.; Robert Levinson quoted in "Behavior Today" (Dec. 8, 1975),
p. 636; New York Times, Nov. 5, 1975, "More Men Are Diving Into the Secretarial Pool" ;
II. Wool, "The Labor Supply for Lower Level Occupations" (New York: Praeger, 1976).
25 New York Times, Sept. 18, 1976, "Women Stablehands Bring Change to Belmont's
Barns ;" Employment and Training Report of the President, 1976," table G-10.
Federal Reserve Bank of St. Louis

they compare the appropriate female intensive and male intensive occupations in regard to ease of obtaining a job, stability of employment,
opportuni6es for horizontal and vertical mobility, work environment
(noise, cleanliness, physical setting, amenities, travel distance, neighborhood, safety), work conditions (hours, overtime, vacation, time
off), pay rates and earnings and fringe benefits.
An examination of the options open to individual women indicates
that labor market segmentation which separates men from women also
divides women into groups. Despite the popular and academic literature on women's issues which argues that women as a class are oppressed by men as a class, women are not united in their needs, interests and attitudes. In regard to a choice of male intensive rather than
female intensive occupations, divisions among women can be seen according to their educational and training level, work experience, age,
race, material and family status, and place of residence. Whether or not
women's attitudes reflect the implantation of ideas and values by a
male-dominated society, subgroups of women have varying views and
face different objective conditions in regard to male intensive

A. Racial, Differences in Job Distribution Among Women
The National Longitudinal Survey of Women 25 a studied movements
between female and male intensive occupations and vice versa among
employed women who were 30 to 44 years old in 1967. A measure, similar to our MI category, was applied to the jobs held by the women in
1967 and 1971. Between the 2 years, there was a small increase in the
proporation of women employed in male intensive occupations at each
of the three educational levels, with the exception that black women
with exactly 12 years of education, presumably high school graduation,
showed a marked decrease in the proportion in male intensive jobs. 26
In explanation of racial differences, the Longitudinal Survey hypothesizes that black women were more influenced by the lowering
of racial barriers in female intensive occupations than by the partial
removal of obstacles to entering male intensive occupations. It also
notes that "black women held atypical jobs in 1967 which could reasonably be viewed as less desirable than those held by their white counterparts * * * they appeared to have been able to move (and desirous of
moving) into typically female jobs which had previously been closed
to them." 27
Furthermore, since black men are not seen as having a superior economic or political position, and indeed often appear to have even
,.. "National Longitudinal Survey of Women Aged 30 to 44," Center for Human Resource
Research ( Columbus, Ohio : Ohio State University, 1967).
The National Longitudinal Surveys Study Is used by several contributors to this compendium. It probes the relationship of factors Influencing the work behavior and experience
of four groups : women, aged 30 to 44 ; women and men, 14 to 2,4 ; men. 45 to 59. Focus Is
on the Interaction among economic, sociological, and psychological variables that permit
some members of a given age-eduatlon-occupatlon group to have satisfactory work experiences while others do not. The completed study will constitute a comprehensive body of
data on labor mobility. The study has entailed six consecutive surveys of each group at
1-year Intervals, except for the omission of the older groups of men and women In 1970.
Following the last of these Interviews in 11973, a series of two biennial telephone followup
Interviews was Initiated for each group. A final personal Interview will be completed In
1978. Ohio State University reports, which are based on Bureau of the Censuti data, are
,:eproduced as manpower research monographs. Special analyses of the data are also pub•
hshed from time to time.
26 Jusenlus. op. cit., ch. 2.
21 Ibid., p. 25.
Federal Reserve Bank of St. Louis

greater occupational problems than black women, the movement for
sex equality in the marketplace has less appeal to black women than
the concurrent and somewhat competing drive for racial equality at
B. Importance of Job Satisfaction
The likelihood that some women deliberately choose typical rather
than atypical jobs raises some important qualifications on the general
assumption that all progress for individual women lies in penetrating
the male intensive occupations. For one thing, individuals do not measure progress by a single indicator and in some cases earnings are not
paramount in the job decision. Data shows clearly that women who
moved from male to female intensive jobs from 1967 to 1971 had the
smallest percentage increase in hourly wage rates o:f all groups examined.28 Data on job satisfaction give a partial explanation, since
they "strongly suggest that the psychological rewards associated with
atypical and typical jobs differ according to the educational attainment of the incumbents. Those atypical occupations open to women
with O to 11 years of school appear to be less satisfying than typical
jobs." 29 Superior job environment. and working conditions and greater
stability of employment in many- typical jobs may offset the higher pay
available on suitable atypical Jobs. Certainly, place o:f residence as it
affects the range of local job opportunities influences choice o:f job.
Evidence that many women choose :female intensive jobs when a
choice is truly available comes from the military :forces. Although all
noncombat jobs have been opened to women, they have not wished
to be assigned to all o:f the jobs.30 An analysis of the jobs of working
wives, whose occupations have been :found to be closely tied to those of
their husbands, showed a substantial occupational shift between 1960
and 1970 toward some female intensive sectors. 31
Admittedly, this is cross sectional rather than longitudinal data and
the male intensive occupations are not clearly distinguished from the
:female. Nonetheless, upward social mobility, and perhaps economic
mobility as well, l1as been achieved by many wives of men in the lower
occupational strata through deliberate movement from male to female
intensive jobs.

0. Influence of Marital and Family Status
The influence of living in a household with a husband present should
not be underestimated as a :factor in restraining women's enthusiasm
for nontraditional jobs, especially at the lower educational and occupational levels (in 1975 wives living with their husbands constituted
almost three-fifths of employed :females).32 Thus, a :frequently-made
assumption may be invalid: namely, that most women in the labor
market make individual choices about their occupations; instead, the
Ibid., pp. 31-33.
Ibid., p. 28.
General Accounting, Office. "Job Opportunltiee for Women ln the M111tary: Progress
and Problems," FPCD-76--26 (Washington, May 1976).
31 H. Hayghe, "Fam111es and the Rise of Working Wlves--An Overview." Special Labor
Force Re.port 189, table 5 (Washington, D.C.: U.S. Department of Labor, Bureau of Labor
Statistics, 19711).
32 H. Hayghe, "Marital and Family Charactistlcs of the Labor Force," Special Labor
Force Report 183, table 1 (Washington, D.C.: U.S. Department of Labor, Bureau of Labor
Statistics, 1976).

Federal Reserve Bank of St. Louis

majority probably are involved in :family decisions. Data which ~istinguish penetration into male intensive occupations by the marital
and family status and age of employed women would be useful.

D. Effect of Working Conditions
Still another perspective is cYbtained from a consideration of the
famous A.T. & T. agreement to increase, among other categories, the
number of female telephone-pole climbers. Disregarding the census
evidence that the number of females in this occupation had declined
between 1960 and 1970 ( from 824 to '785, against a male increase. of
over 11,000 workers to a total of more than 50,000) ,33 or perhaps taking
the female decline as evidence o:f company discrimination, the Gove1"!1ment's agreement with A.T. & T. called for a level of :female recrmtment to this occupation which has been difficult to meet. 34 The pay
advantage over telephone operator earnings is insufficient to attract
many women, and the promotion opportunities are neither numerous
nor glorious.
It is one thing to insure by law and administrative action that any
woman can enter any occupation without sex discrimination, but it is
another to draw up orders or agreements which declare that all male
intensive occupations are desirable simply because women are excluded. Apart from the untruth, this approach suggests that malefemale earning differences cannot be remedied in any other way.
Reliance on this approach also confers an official approval on dangerous, dirty or monotonous occupations which men have been trying to
improve, undercutting their efforts hy the official insistence on recruitment of women who usually are more compliant workers.
It is fashionable to assume that the persistence o:f male intensive
occupations results entirely from institutional rigidities and resistance
on the part o:f employers, male workers, customers o:f the firm and
others on the demand side. But there is considerable evidence, especially :for women whose choice of male intensive occupations would
be limited to nonoffice work, that many women prefer :female intensive
jobs and would rather strive :for closing the earnings gap than changing their occupations.

E. Vertical Mobility in Offece Settings
The situation is quite different :for the occupational groups where
both male and :female intensive jobs are located in offices or similar
settings. Women entering male intensive jobs usually have as good or
better work environments, working conditions, security, pay and :fringe
benefits than they would have in :female intensive jobs. At this level,
women can qualify :for entry into male intensive fields through specialized education which is provided in a more sex-neutral way than training in the workplace. Morrover, as previously reported, many o:f these
occupational groups have been expanding rapidly. But the more important difference between women seeking male intensive occupations
93 U.S. Bureau of the Census, Census of Population, 1970, "Detailed Characteristics.
PC(l )-D1. U.S. Summary" (Washington, D.C. Government Printing Office, 1973),
tabl" 221.
"'Wallace, op. clt.
Federal Reserve Bank of St. Louis


at the professional-technical and managerial levels and women at other
occupational levels is the fact that the first group is more concerned
with vertical than horizontal mobility opportunities.


How do women in the male-intensive occupations fare in regard to
wage rates and earnings 1 Three bases of comparison are 'l"elevant. One
is the experience of individual women who move from female to male
intensive jobs. From the National Longitudinal Survey of women aged
30 to 44 in 1967 and employed in 1967 and 1971, we learn that among
all women in the survey, those who were in male-intensive occupations
in both years had the highest absolute wage rates, whether they were
black or white and at all education levels. Women who moved from
female to male intensive jobs made the largest percentage gains in
hourly wage rates from 1967 to 1971.35 In a subsequent multiple regression analysis of the same group's 1972 wage rates, the women were
divided into three skill groups according to the levels of education/
training required and into female and male intensive occupations.
Holding constant race, health, weekly hours of work, type of employer
(public or private), region, size of local laibor market, and collective
bargaining coverage, Jusenius found that the sex label of an occupation was a significant determinant of wage rates in the low-skill and
medium-skill categories but not in the high-skill stratum.36
Another perspective comes from cross-sectional data in the census.
Taking the occupations which were both male intensive and SFP, the
median earnings for females in 52 of these occupations were matched
to the deciles of all 1970 female median annual earnings by occupations
as prepared by Sommers. 37 It is clear that the MI occupations which
had a large increase in the female share of employment ranked fairly
low in median annual earnings compared with all female occupations.
While a tabulation in terms of the number of persons involved probably would give increased importance to the higher earnings deciles, it
is significant that the occupations receiving half of the female increase
in MI occupations were not particularly high on the annual earnings
scale. Annual earnings may reflect the greater instaJbility, turnover and
layoff in male intensive occupations, offsetting the possibly higher
hourly wage rate. Conversely, the latter is not adequate as a measure
because of variations in the amount of work available over the year.
Of course, these census data show nothing about the earnings experience of the individual women who transferred to the MI occupations.
Even more lacking is a longitudinal or cross-sectional comparative
analysis in which the wage rates and earnings of women entering nontraditional jobs are lined up with those of comparable men already in
such occupations. A further question as to women's earnings is the
effect of joining unionized enterprises.
Occupational desegregation does not in itself insure that wage and
salary differentials are eliminated, as Governor Ella Grasso of Connecticut told a recent convention of female banking officials. 38 From a
35 J"usenlus, op, cit., vol. 3, pp. 31-33, 91.
•• Ibid., vol. 4, ch. 4.
37 D. Sommers, "Occupational Rankings for Men and Women by Earnings," Monthly
Labor Review (August 1974).
38 New York Times, Oct. 3, 11176, financial section, "Bank Women Step Out Front."

Federal Reserve Bank of St. Louis

blue-collar setting, Winn Newman of the International Union of Electrical Workers recounted the adjustments made by companies in their
classification and wage systems in order to conform with legislation
out-lawing discrimination and yet to be able to continue to pay women
less than men doing identical work. Far from resenting the wage differences between themselves and male workers, the women workers became angry at the union a~r it obtained a settlement which raised
some but not all female wage rates; the comparison with other women's
rates aroused far more feeling than the longstanding and greater advantage enjoyed. by men. 89 Since one of the main advantages'imputed
to occupational desegregation concerns equality o:f earnings, the actual
outcomes should be carefully investigated, particularly the subterfuges
of title and classificatioh which may be introduced by employers. 40



As an introduction to policy considerations, we present an overview
of the chief findings on the penetration of women into male intensive
occupations, based mainly on the analysis o:f comparable census data
for 1960 and 1970 covering 418 usable occupations :
1. The rate o:f growth o:f female employment in male intensive occupations has been more rapid than in :female employment as a whole,
and almost nine times as fast as the increase of men in the male
intensive occupations. But the initial female base in the male intensive
occupations in 1960 was so small that at the present time women account :for only around 12 percent of all employment in male intensive
occupations, and almost 85 percent of all women workers are outside
the male intensive occupations, mostly in female intensive occupations, with the others in gender-neutral fields. Such small advances
suggest that the public policy measures to end occupational segregation have not been very effective, either because the measures have not
been widely or well applied, or because they do not come to grips with
the underlying causes of sexual polarization.
2. Within the male intensive (MI) occupations, about twice as many
women are employed in the MMI occupations (where women are 11 to
25 percent of employment) as in ,the VMI occupations (where women
are 10 percent or less). The greatest challenge for :future female penetration lies in the latter group, which includes the most attractive and
upwardly mobile posts.
3. The blue-collar type o:f occupations account for a majority of
women in the male intensive sector, but the recent and :future direction
of change favors female employment in the professional-technical and
clerical male intensive occupations. Much slower female growth has
been recorded in managerial and sales occupations where little male
growth in employment occurred.
4. Measurement of employment changes in the recession of 1974-75
£or a substantial number of male intensive occupations indicates that
women maintained their relative share of employment or improved on
it in most of the occupations.
.. W. Newman, "Combating Occnpational Segregation, Presentation III." Signs (spring
l 976 supplement).
'° C. R. Martin, Jr.• "Support for Women's Lib: Management Performance," Southern
Journal of Business (February 1972).
Federal Reserve Bank of St. Louis

5. Female penetration of male intensive occupations cannot be meass
u_red purely in terms ~f increases in the femal~ shar~ of an. occ~pat10n's employment. It 1s true that the 53 male mtens1ve occupations
which had· an increase of 5 or more percentage points in the feri:iale
share from 1960 to 1970 accounted for over half of the total increment
of women in the male intensive sector. But among these occupations
the female share in at least 27 of the 53 occupations rose because of
slow or negative growth of males in the occupation rather than great
female advances. Moreover, in many other male-intensive occupations
where women made great gains, measured by absolute or percentage
increases of their employment, the female share did not reflect their
progress because the absolute increase of males often was even larger.
This was· particularly true in the professional-technical and crafts
6. Strong growth of female employment in male intensive occupations is highly associated with rapid expansion of total employment in
these occupations. The fortunes of men and women ride in tandem, and
for both sexes the white collar and higher paid occupations have shown
the greatest expansion. Conversely, the prospects for women whose
numbers and share are advancing in some of the craft, operative and
laborer occupations dominated by men are less promising because some
of the occupations in which women's shares rose most are leveling out
or declining in total employment. Promotion opportunities are more
limited and contested, and new female intensive occupations may even
be developing.
7. The combination of slow growth in some male intensive occupations with a limited number of promotion possibilities for women
makes many women at the blue collar and lower white collar occupational level seek entry jobs and upward mobility through the female
intensive sector. Many at this level also prefer the attainable female
intensive jobs for reasons of social prestige, employment stability;
work conditions, working environment and related which offset
smaller earnings gains than could be achieved in male intensive blue
collar occupations. Black women, disproportionately at the lower educational-occupational levels, ma:y be particularly disinclined to compete with black men in the male mtensive sector because they see them,
not in the oppressor role sometimes imputed to white men by white
women, but as victims, possibly worse off than black women.
8. Male intensive occupations in the white collar fields offer the
same or superior working environments and conditions and higher
earnings, than the related female intensive occupations. This :feature
leads to less conflict over choices than women :face at the lower end of
the occupational scale, and establishes clearer upward mobility patterns from female intensive to male intensive occupations. Because of
segmentation of labor markets, groups of women have different i~terests and needs from one another, and some women have more m
common with men at their own level than with women at higher levels.
9. The crucial issue for women is not desegregation in the horizontal
sense; that is, the ability to choose among a wider sel_ection of oc<_mpations at a given level. As the preparatory education and trammg
undertaken by young women widens, this form of segregation will decrease further, admittedly more easily for those whose preparation
Federal Reserve Bank of St. Louis

occurs in educational institutions than for those who rely on training
connected with the workplace. Vertical mobility, movement into the
higher ranks of an organization, and grea,ter responsibility- on the job
are the nub of the problem. In terms of the fuller utilization of existing education and skills, the benefits to be:-obtained from promotion,
and mobility opportunities within the work organization, women in
the white collar occupations, especially the professional-technical and
managerial groups, have a stronger position than other women, but
still face keen competition from men, black and white, for the small
pool of such jobs.
10. Individual workers pay rates have risen more substantially
for women moving from female to male intensive occupations than
for other women, and women in male intensive occupations have the
highest absolute pay rates. But the male intensive occupations in
which women made their greatest employment advances from 1960 to
1970 did not produce higher annual earnings on average than all
females showed. Evidence is lacking on the vital point of whether
women who move into male intensive occupations earn the same
amount as men who perform identical work.
11. Viewed from the perspective of male employment growth in
the male intensive occupations, the female absolute numbers and percentage increase appear substantial. Against a net female increase of
1.4 million jobs and a 51.6 percent ~owth rate from 1960 to 1970,
males had a net increase of 2.1 million jobs and only a 5.9 percent
rise. Indeed, the data suggest an approaching serious employment
problem for males at the lower educational-occupational levels, especially for black males, unless they enter female intensive jobs. On
the other hand, the male growth pattern indicates a continuing hold
on the best jobs in both the blue collar and white collar worlds.
fI'he relation of the findings listed above to a full employment policy is in one sense obvious. Unless there is a much closer approximation to :full employment, the failure to satisfy the demand for jobs in
numerical terms will preclude any serious effort on the desegregation
front; that is, tq provide the types of jobs which will meet the demand
for greater similarity in the occupational distributions of men and
It is a premise of the series of papers in this compendium that full
employment in the numerical sense can be attained and maintained
and that the residual problems which beset women under full employment are the issue. In terms of the entry of women into the male intensive occupations, the full employment issue cannot be separated so
neatly from the residual problems. For one thing, it may be anticipated that the labor supply of women will respond to :full employment
both by increases in the :female labor force participation rate and by
a heavier demand :from women for the jobs which are male dominated.
Moreover, there is no inherent reason why a successful full employment policy, as it is commonly defined, should produce a larger proportion of "good" jobs. The deficiency in the number of ''good" jobs,
cyen under full employmen~, and the rising expectations of many sections of the work force, not Just women, may become as potent a source
Federal Reserve Bank of St. Louis

of dissatisfaction as an inadequate total number of jobs. From this
point of view, it is important to recognize the two separate issues of
numbers of jobs and types of jobs. Public service employment may
meet minimum needs for employment and income, but such jobs do not
respond to the desire of women and other groups to obtain a larger
share of the higher paid, more responsible and prestigious jobs.
The objectives of those who seek equality for women are often
couched in terms of obtaining a share of women in each occupation
equal to the share women hold among all employed persons. The more
ambitious goal stipulates half of every occupation for women workers,
based either on the share of population or on an anticipated rise in
the female share of the work force. But even the aim which takes
women's current 40.7 percent of total employment as its standard is
questionable as the chief measure to achieve equality. Some champion
it simply because it represents an approach to equality, but others,
more numerous, believe that this is a primary method of bringing
women's earnings closer to men's.
The magnitude of the changes required in both male and female
employment need to be firmly borne in mind in discussing this goal. If
it were to be achieved by a displacement of men, presumably leaving
them either to take up female intensive jobs or remain unemployed,
some 12 to 13 million men would have to be displaced. If, instead, the
change was to be accomplished by supervising new hires so that only
women were taken into the male intensive occupations ( again a more
drastic policy than is likely to be accepted because, among other reasons, women are not the only group whose goals have a high priority),
it would take a great many years to achieve the proposed share in each
detailed occupation.
Apart from the sheer size of the change which is implied, the underlying premises of this egalitarian ~oal need to be aired:
That a sufficient number of' good" jobs exists or will be created
so that present and future desires of women can be considered
apart from men's, and women, as a disadvantaged group, will not
be in sharp competition with other disadvantaged;
That discrimination is the only or overwhelming cause of women's disproportionate representation in nontraditional jobs, ignoring questions of insufficient education, training and skills as well
as the lack of desire of women to enter each and every male intensive occupation;
Tha.t the objective situation is more or less the same in female
and male intensive occupations at every level, and that women
have an equal desire for nontraditional jobs at every educationaloccupational level and in every type of personal situation;
That earnings differences between men and women can only be
remedied by changing women's occupations, overlooking other
methods of bringing eamings closer together. In Sweden, which
has no better an occupational distribution than the United States
from the point of view of women, government policy and a high
degree of unionization of women have brought the female manual
workers' earnings to over 80 percent of men's-a ratio considerably higher than prevails in the United States.
Federal Reserve Bank of St. Louis

Given the enormity of the change required to produce occupational
equality, it would seem wise to approach it in a more diversified and
selective way than is postulated in current legislation, court orders,
agreements, and other procedure.s. A concentration on case.s where employment is expanding and a body of women is ready, eager and competent to take up male intensive occupations would foster wider and
better enforcement of existing measure.s. Meanwhile, a great effort
must be made to improve the earnings in female intensive occupations
so that more men will be intere.sted m entering them and women will
be content to remain in them. The goal of making the occupational
distribution of women exactly like that of men is less realistic than an
aim of changing the distribution of both sexe.s so as to reduce the discrepancie.s between them. The battle for the "good" jobs will not be
settled by women proceeding on their own.
Federal Reserve Bank of St. Louis






I. Introduction __ .... -·······································....

A. Measurement of underemployment.......................
B. Occupational segregation................................
C. Focus of underemployment..............................
II. Definition of underemployment and qualifications._...............
III. Causes of underemployment of women...........................
A. The hiring and promotion process and intra.skill underem•
1. Job attachment--······················-········
2. Work discontinuity ••••..••.•.. .:.................
3. Credentialism_ ••••.••..••••. •..••••••...••.•••••
4. Internal labor market_...........................
5. Promotion_.....................................
B. Discrimination and intraskill underemployment............
C. Other causes of intra.skill underemployment--··············
D. Causes of interskill underemployment.....................
E. Consequences and costs of underemployment-.............
IV. Policy implications for reducing underemployment of women •. __ •••
A. Full employment.......................................
B. The hiring process......................................
C. Labor market information-..............................
D. Counseling·---·-·······-·-····························
E. On-the-job training and cooperative education.............
F. Paraprofessionalism--························-·-··--····
G, Part-time work __ ._....................................
H. Nontraditional education for women......................



Women comprise a significant and increasing share of the labor
force in the United States. In 1976, about 39 million women were in the
labor market accounting for 41 percent of the total labor force. The
labor force participation rate of women was 47.3 percent in that year.
These statistics eontrast sharply with _those of a quarter of a century
earlier. 1 Clearly, .any serious J?Ublic· policy dealing with efficient and
equitable utilizatio;n of human resources cannot ignore this increasingly important labor market group.
The official measure used to reveal underutilization in the labor market is the unemployment rate. On this score, women consistently have
higher ra~s than. do men. In rn75, the unemployment rat~s for women
and men were 9.3 and 7.9 percent respectively. The comparable rates
•AsRistant professor of economics, Pennsylvania State University, Universitr Park, Pa.
U.S. Department of Labor, Bureau of Labor Stlitist1cs, "Eint>_loyment and Earnings,"
January 1977 (Washington, D.C.: Government Printing Office, 1977).
· 1
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:for 1968, a year when the overall rate was low, were 4.9 percent for
women and 2.9 percent :for men. 2 These differentials in labor market
utilization o:f women and men reflect a complex variety o:f economic,
social, and cultural :factors which result in different labor market paradigms :for each. For example, a portion o:f the unemployment differential is accounted :for by the high labor :force exit and entry rates that
women exhibit, compared to men. On the other hand, women tend to
be relegated to relatively high turnover occupations.
Our unemployment statistics, although revealing, detailed and considered among the best in the world, tell us only a part o:f the story
about differential rates o:f underutilization between men and women in
the labor market. In short, these statistics are virtually blind to the
issue o:f how well women ( or any other group) :fare within employment. Unemployment statistics naturally :focus on those individuals
who are not working but desire to and are available :for work. In the
case o:f women, the unemployment rate reveals perhaps only part of
the problem o:f underuti]ization.
An important complement to unemployment data would be in:formation on underemployment. Underemployment is defined at this
point as a condition in which workers are in jobs where their acquired
skills are underutilized relative to the job requirements. In absolute
terms of human resource waste, the underemployment problem :for
women probably looms large in comparison to the unfavorable differential in unemployment rates that face women.
The intent of these statements is not to diminish the seriousness of
unemployment. Having a job, even if the job does not utilize ones
skills, is probably better than no job. However, public policy measures
to attain full employment should consider the quality of jobs generated for various labor force groups, as well as the quantity of jobs
provided for them. Full employment has a hollow ring if a large segment of the labor force is working, but unable to fully utilize its skills
within employment.

A. Mea,swrement of Underemployment
As yet, there is no adequate measure of underemployment. Researchers in the area o:f human resources recognize the need, however, to go
beyond the concept o:f unemployment; it is increasingly clear that underemployment will be a source of continuing investigation. The :following quotes express this need :
Indeed, in all countries-rich and poor alike-the study and reporting of underemployment as a measure of the quality of working life is bound to become
increasingly important to the formation of public policy.•
There is a recognized need to improve the measurement of each of the several
facets which affect the adequacy of employment for individuals.'

One major :reason for inadequate measures of underutilization in the
labor market is that underemployment is both conceptually and em• "Emnloyment and Earnings," 1977, and "Manpower Report ot the President" (Wash•
inirton, D.C. :, U.S. Department of Labor, Employment and Training Administration, 1974),

p. 253.

• Bennett Harrison, "Education and Underemployment in the Urban Ghetto," American
Economic Review (December 1972). p. 797.
• Deborah Pisetzner Klein, "Exploring the Adequacy of Employment," Monthly Labor
Review 96 (October 1973), p. 8.
Federal Reserve Bank of St. Louis

pirically more elusive than is unemployment. 5 To illustrate, consider
the definition of underemployment provided by a Presidential committee: "Employment of persons at jobs that call for less than their
highest level of skill and at wages less than those to which their skills,
if fully utilized, would normally entitle them. 6 This definition raises
a number of questions. For example, what does highest level of skill
mean~ Does it mean potential skill or current skill, including both
formal education and work experience~ What does fully utilize mean?
What numeraire would be used to determine the amount individuals
would normally earn if their skills were fully utilized? Is it estimated
that part-time workers should be included or excluded from the definition. These questions serve to illustrate some of the difficulties inherent
in the concept of underemployment. A major empirical problem is
that we are not able to identify skills adequately, particularly on-thejob training skills. There is also a paucity of detailed information on
the skill content of jobs. 7

B. Occupational Segregation
Women tend to be crowded into a limited range of female occupations and female educational programs, which cannot help but lead to
underutilization of their talents, given the increasing supply of women
labor market participants. Clerical, service, and professional occu_pations account for two-thirds of all women workers, with the clerical
category alone accounting for one-third of the total of women workers.
In the professional category, women are heavil_y concentrated in occupations such as nursing, library work, and elementary education.8
The educational programs that women enter tend to lead to limited
occupational opportunities. For example, data from the U.S. Office of
Education indicate that nearly three-quarters of all women enrolled in
vocational training programs in 1971-72 were concentrated in consumer, homemaking or office vocational :fields. In contrast, over one-half
of male students were enrolled in technical, trade and industrial or
agricultural programs.
Occupational segregation, which leads to excess supply conditions in
these occupationsJ inevitably yields low returns on education for women; men, who nave access to broader occupational opportunities,
but who may in fact have no greater skills at job entry, gain higher
agricultural programs.9
• Several investigators have recently •been engaged in efforts to identify and measure
what may be termed "subemployment," which dilfers from underemployment. Although
the details of these elforts vary, the intent of most subemployment measures is to capture
the following dimensions of the labor market failure, and add these to the official unemployment measures, thus providing a more comprehensive view of the underutilization of
human resources. First, subemployment Includes the discouraged worker phenomenon,
where individuals are not working and not actively seeking work ; they desire work, but
are not seeking it because of their belief that they cannot obtain it. Second, subemployment
takes account of involuntary part-time work, where Individuals are working part-time
but desire full-time jobs. Third, subemployment includes persons who work full-time, but
whose incomes are Inadequate for minimal individual or family support. See Thomas
Yietorisz, R. Meir, and J. Giblin, "Subemployment: Exclusion and Inadequacy Indexes,"
l\Ionthly Labor Review 98 (May 1975) pp. 3-12. Underemployment represents an additional
dimension of underutilization in the labor market.
• U.S. President's Committee To Appraise Employment and Unemployment Statistics,
"Measuring Employment and Unemployment" (Washington, D. C. : Government Printing
Office, 1962), p. 58.
1 See James G. Scoville, "Manpower and Occupational Analysis: Concepts and Measurement," (Lexington, Mass.: D. C. Health and Co., 1972).
• Stuart H. Garfinkle, "Occupations of Women and Black Workers, 1962-74," Monthly
Labor Review (November 19711), pp. 211-811.
• See Shirley McCune "Vocational Education: A Dual System," "Inequality in Education" (March 1974), p. SO.
Federal Reserve Bank of St. Louis


0. Fom,,s of U'IIJieremployment.
The sources of earnings differences between men and women are
diverse, and not all of the differences can be said to result from underemployment. Women do not have the same skill distribution as men,
either in terms of formal education qr job experience training. W omen's labor force patterns differ from men's, particularly µurmg the
early years of labor force participation, when skill accumulation
through employment is so important. To the extent that women's skill
development does, in fact, fall behind men is unfortunate and in many
respects discriminatory. But lower level jobs taken by women reflecting this skill disadvantage are not what is meant by underemployment.
The measurement of underemployment compares how well women's
current skills are utilized in jobs relative to men with equivalent skills.
Occupational and earnings distributions di:fferences between men and
women are the result of many voluntary and involuntary factors. The
underemployment focus is on involuntary factors which prevent adequate utilization of skills.
The remainder of this paper is devoted to (1) a definition and clarification of underemployment, (2) causes of underemployment of women, and (3) policy implications for reducing underemployment of
women. It 1s possible to discuss causes and policy implications of un.,.
deromployment, even if it is not as yet quantifiable. The seriousness of
a problem in the labor market is not determined by how easy it· is. to



For discussion purposes, underemployment is defined here as an involuntary employment condition where workers are in jobs, either
part-time or full-time, in which their skills, including formal and work
experience training, are technically underutilized and thus undervalued relative to those of other individuals of similar ability who
have made equivalent investments in skill development. Two major
forms of underemployment-intraskill and interskill-can be distinguished. Intraskill underemployment occurs when particular individuals or groups of individuals within an identifiable skill group are less
·able to utilize their skills than is the average individual from this
skill group. That is, they have the equivalent ability and occupational
preparation as the comparison group, but some r-eal or perceived characteristic of these individuals is the source of their underemployment,
not the general marketability of their skill, per se. The source of this
form of underemployment of women may be employers real or perceived cost of search to hire women, discrimination against women, or
other barriers to labor market mobility which women face. These
causes are explored in the next section of the paper.
In contrast, interskill underemployment refers to a condition where
the average individual in a particular skill group is underutilized in
employment as compared to the average individual from other skill
g-roups where training investment costs are the same, but the nature of
the occupational preparation differs., It is the nature of the skill that
the underemployed individual possesses, not any personal characteristic1 which causes the problem.,Sources of interskill underemployment
Federal Reserve Bank of St. Louis

of women include occupational crowding, a lag in labor market adjust.ment, retraining costs, and imperfect information.
Given the definition of underemployment suggested above, it is important to note a few of its implications.1 ° First, underemployment is
an involuntary condition, just as unemployment is viewed as an involuntary phenomenon. Second, underemploymet is restricted to the underutilization of human resources within employment, including both
part-time and full-time employment. Women hold about 60 percent of
all part-time jobs 11 given the limited range of skilled jobs in this sector, the probability of underemployment in part-time work is likely
to be greater than m the full-time labor market. Third, underemployment focuses on how well current skills, not potential skills, are utilized. If potential skills were to be compared with job requirements, then
almost every worker must be considered underempioyed, since almost
every worker could be more productive if given additional training. A
measure of current skills should take account of both on-the-job experience and formal education. Job situation training is difficult to measure, but reliance on formal education as a measure of skill level will
understate the true skill level of workers who have received substantial learning experiences in the labor market.12
Fourth, a worker is said to be underemployed if her current skills
are technically underutilized and thus undervalued. Technical underutilization refers to a direct comparison between the skills of a worker
and the skill content of her job, where the worker's skills exceed job
requirements. In the absence of a direct measure, it is expected that
technical underutilization would be reflected by the undervaluation of
the worker's skills in the form of lower wages.13 Finally, underemployment is a relative concept. Individuals are underemployed relative to whom i The definition suggests that the numeraire would be
based on the average wage of workers of similar ability who have
made equivalent investments in skill development. Initial measures bf
underemployment might concentrate on wage variations across various labor force groups whose acquired skills are judged to be



The diverse factors. that may produce underemployment of women
are explored in this section: (1) Discounting by employers of women's human capital at job entry; (2) labor market discrimination;
10 For a detailed dlscus~lon of this definition see Gerald P. Glyde, David L. Snyder. and
Anthony R. Sternberger. "Underemployment: Definition, Causes, and Measurement." Institute for Research on Human Resources (University Park, Pa. : The Pennsylvania State
University, 1975), ch. 3.
11 "Employment and Earnings" (J'anuary 1976) p. 151.
11 J'acob Mincer, "Schooling, Experience, and Earnings" (New York: National Bureau
of Eronomic Research, 1974).
:ia There is some empirical support for the conceptual view expressed above. A recent
survey of nearly one-half milUon individuals who graduated from college in 1972, and who
were working full time, showed that the more directly that individual's jobs related to
their education, the closer actual earnings were to the individuals' expected earnings. Over
50 percent of those individuals who stated that their jobs were directly related to their
education stated that their pay was about the same as they had expected. Only 28 percent
of those individuals who stated that their training was not directly relatf>d to their job
stated that actual earnings were consistent with their expectations. For the first group, only
11 percent earned substantial}y lower pay than they had expected; however, for the second
group, 85 percent earned substantially lower pay tha.n expected. See U.S. Department of
Labor, Bureau of Labor Statistics, "Labor Market Experience of Recent College Graduates."
Special Labor Force Report, No. 169 (Washington, D.C. : Government Printing Office,
Federal Reserve Bank of St. Louis

( 3) other sources of intraskill underemployment, such as barriers to
labor market mobility, inadequate range of part-time jobs, and weak
labor force attachment; ( 4) interskill underemployment.

A. The Hiring and Promotion Process and Intraskul
Because labor market information is imperfect and predicting the
potential of job applicants is tenuous, employers may use a number of less than ideal methods to make informed decisions on matters
such as the probable job attachment of applicants for vacancies. The
fact that employers ask a considerable number of questions on application blanks, which provide them with socioeconomic data, suggests
that they are interested in these variables to indicate the potential of
the applicant. In considering an applicant's expected job performance, an important factor is the probability of quitting. In the majority of hiring situations, employers want workers who have strong
job attachment. If labor costs were totally variable, employers would
not be concerned about rapid voluntary turnover. In most work environments, however, workers represent both fixed and variable costs,
and the former is often substantial.14 The cost of voluntary turnover to employers is, therefore, in part a function of hiring (search)
and training costs.

Statistics are in fact consistent with the view that women, as a
group, have less job attachment than men. For example, the Bureau
of Labor Statistics has estimated that the monthly quit rate in manufacturing in 1968 was 2.2 percent for men and 2.6 percent for
women. 15 In January 1973, the median years of tenure on a current
job was 2.8 years for women and 4.6 yea,rs for men.16 These statistics
appear to validate the conventional wisdom re~rding the weak job
attachment of women and thus the inherent rISk employers face in
hiring women for meaningful, productive, interesting and rewarding
Upon reflection, however, these statistics are not of much use unless they are corrected for occupational differences. That is, a meaningful comparison between male and female job attachment should
be made on the basis of comparable jobs. Although data on this basis
are sparse, the point can be illustrated. In 1973, median years of
tenure in a current job for nonfarm laborers was 2.1 years for men
and 2 years for women. In food service occupations, men's tenure
was 1.1 years and women's was 1.6 years.17 Quitting is a function of
job characteristics, as well as worker characteristics, and women tend
to be overrepresented in low paying, dead-end occupations which
have high quit rates for both men and women. The irony is that high
quit rates for women are caused, in part, by the nature of the jobs
that employers make available to them; in turn, these high quit rates
u Walter 01. "Labor as a Quasi-Fixed Factor," Journal of Political Economy, LXX

(DPc mber 1962), pp. 538-555.

U.S. Department of Labor. Women's Bureau. "11975 Handbook on Women Workers"
(Washlnirton, D.C.: Government Prlnttnir Office. 1975), p. 60.
18 U.S. Departmet of Labor. Bureau of Labor Statistics, "Job rI'enure of Workers," Special
Labor Force Report No. 1112 (Washington, D.C.: Government Printing Office, 1975), p.
n Ibid., A-17.
Federal Reserve Bank of St. Louis

for women as a group are then used as justification for denying women
access to good jobs. Qualified women will tend to be underemployed
as long as employers generalize the view that women quit more readily
than men. Their wages and return of their human capital will be less
than that of men, as will the utilization of women's skills. Even if
women have weaker job attachment, on average, than men, a significant proportion of women may have as strong as or stron~er job attachment than the men with whom they are competing ror particular job vacancies. In this case, inadequate labor market information
or bias on the part of the employer is a cause of underemployment.
If employers are correct, on the average, they may not wish to invest
in further information to change their I_>erception of the situation.
In fact, given the cost of information, this situation, which could be
optimal for employers, clearly results in underemployment for
women.1 8
Discounting of women's human capital will cause them to end up at
a lower level in the job hierarchy, which less efficiently utilizes their
skills, and will provide them with less remuneration. This discounting
may be based on fact or fancy; it is the perception of employers that

vVomen's human capital may be devalued in the eyes of the employer
on other grounds than their quit rate. For example, if a female applicant's work history shows a number of labor market interruptions,
her human capital may be discounted. Any person with a less desirable
employment record, as perceived by the employer, may have his/her
human capital devalued even if he or she is, in fact, endowed with
equivalent amounts of human capital compared to the competitors for
the vacancy. Obviously, there is considerable room for bias and error
in this process, as well as for legitimate screening.

Another factor leading to underemployment of women is credentialism. In this instance, the employer requires the applicant to have a
degree, diploma, or other certified skill. This screening device works
against labor force members whose training is less formal and therefore more costly and difficult to identify. Women tend to receive formal
training in a narrower range of fields than men. For example, nearly
two-thirds of the bachelor degrees earned by women are in the areas
of education, letters (mainly English) or social sciences (mainly sociology and history) .19 The requirement of degrees or diplomas in particular fields clearly works against women. From the employers' point
of view, screening in this manner is logical and appears to be widespread. While this use of educational credentials as a screening criterion may be appropriate in many circumstances, it would appear to
hinder unnecessarily labor force groups who have less formal education but are nonetheless skilled, and those groups who have educational
credentials in a narrow range of fields. This disadvantage faced by
1 9 Thls phenomenon is often referred to as statistic!ll discrimination. See Robert Hall,
"Prospects for Shifting the Phillips Curve Through Manpower Policy," Brookings Papers
on Economic Activity (Washington, D.C., 1971), No. 8, p, 688.
u "1975 Handbook on Women Workers," p, 204.
Federal Reserve Bank of St. Louis

w_o~en leads toward an unnecessarily narrow range of job opportumties and attendant possibilities for vertical mobility within the labor

Internal labor markets refer to job vacancies within the firm which
are usually filled only by employees of the firm through promotion.
Competition for internal labor market vacancies by the external labor
market is restricted to- so-called "ports of entry." These positions consist of jobs at the lower end of the job hierarchy; (there may be several
hierarchies in !J. firm). 20 Women outsiders who compete with male insiders :for job vacancies above the entry level may again have their
human capital discounted, even when both groups in fact have equivalent skills. Ignoring the external labor market may not be an irrational
move on the employer's part, since he has more information about the
workers who have been employed within his firm than about other
workers. This process may result in underemployemnt of women, however. If all workers at one time or another are faced with internal labor
market barriers, then underemployment of this sort can be considered
One of the requirements of moving up in the internal labor market
is strong attachment to the firm and to the labor force. Therefore those
individuals who drop out of the labor force more often than the average will face a greater probability of underemployment. Members of
those groups of workers who are expected ( and perceived by the
employer) to have high quit rates are less likely to be promoted and
hence face the possibility of transitional underemployment becoming
permanent. The internal labor market phenomenon, then, is another
source of underemployment for women.

Promotion consists of sifting the current stock of workers and giving
one person a higher position. The promotion process causes underemployment when it is unable to place all equally qualified workers in
positions that fully utilize their abilities. In fact, a well-organized
promotion process may foster underemployment when an employer
hires many more workers for entry level positions than can possibly
be promoted. While many of the people in the "promotion pool" are
underemployed, the company is assessing them in order to pick perhaps
one for promotion to a position that will utilize his/her talents. This
procedure may be rational for the firm, but it leads to underemployment among the workers. In particular, if women are viewed as more
of a gamble for senior positions, qualified women will suffer more
underemployment than men.

B. Dia01'Vffl,mation and /ntr{l8kill Underemployment
A closely related cause of underemployment, which is difficul,t to
separate clearly from the problem of inadequate labor market information and the cost o:f search, is labor market discrimination~_ Labo_r
market discrimination may be viewed as occurring when employers
20 For one of the best discussions of internal labor markets, see Peter B. Doerlnger and
Michael J. Plore, "Internal Labor Markets and Manpower Analysis" (Lexington, Mass.:
D. C. Heath & Co., 1971),
Federal Reserve Bank of St. Louis

make hiring and l'romotion decisions on the basis ofJ:ionproductivity
related characteristics. Because thB- identification o;f productivity
characteristics is imprecise, screening criteria that employers use in
their employment decisions may be discriminatory in the f-0llowi~
ways: (1) The criteria may be unrelated to work performance; (2)
while the criteria may accurately reflect group averages, they may not
be appropriate for a subset of this gr,olip whose employment prospects
are being determined by the ·employer; (3) the criteria may reflect
prejudice·rather than any attempt to estimate productivity;· ( 4) past
inaccuracies in hiring and promotion decisions may be used subsequently to screen these indiv.idua.Is· out of future labor ·market
progression opporturi.i'ties.
If an employer's screening criteria a;re.-even loosely related to work
performance, or if biased statistical evidence is used as justification,
it may be difficult to distinguish between prejudicial and informational hiring standards. Assume, for example, that an employer's
experience indica'tes that the job attachment of women is less than that
of men. Can he, then, legitimately discount all women's capacity for
work? Or should this be interpreted as a form of prejudicial
discrimination ? 21
Employment discrimination occurs when women, because of noneconomic characteristics, receive lower rates of return on their human
capital than do men who have the same productivity characteristics.
This definition does not infer discrimination from unequal patterns
of employment per se. Part of the unequal labor market status of
women must be attributed to prelabor market discrimination, which
results in unequal endowments of human capital, and to differences in
lrubor market behavior. The isolation of that part of male-female differences in the quality of employment, caused by discrimination is a
difficult task. It is particularly difficult to identify all elements of
human capital that are relevant to work performance, and to evaluate
the productivity effects of differences in labor market behavior. These
problems compounded by the fact that the two sources of differentials in employment status may be related.

O. Other (J(JflJ,888 of Int'l'(J,8kill Uiul,erempZoyment
A married woman, in particular, has a greater probability of experiencing underemployment than a man because: (a) she usually
must leave her job if her husband moves, :and (b) she usually cannot
take advantage of better employment opportunities which require
a geographical move on her part. Although family mobility is inB.uenced by economic opportunity, it is 'the husband's job which usually ,takes precedence. The, 'family move may maximize the husband's
and family income, but the ·wife who was working prior to the move
will be forced to take-whatever employment she can find in the new location. Hence, there is a greater ·probability that the. wife will be un•
deremployed than is the case of the husband who has made a purposeful mO,Ve.

21 At least two contrlb1,1tQ1S to the dlscrlmlnatlon literature imply that the distinction
between "statl1tical" and "prejudicial" discrlml.natton ls a spurious one: "Discrimlnation
is the process ot forming stereotyped views that Ct'l1 p,.embers 1Jf a_parttcular .group are
assumed to possess the characteristl.cs'of the group." F. Welsskolr, "Women's Place in the
l,abor Market," American Economic Revtew"6Z (supplement, May 1972), p. 164. "Diiicrlm1•
nation is no less damaging to its victims for being statistical. And it is no less important
for social policy to counter." E. Phelps, "The Statistical Theory of Racism and Sexism,"
American Economic Review 62 (September 1972).
Federal Reserve Bank of St. Louis

A :family generally does not move in response to labor market opportunities for the wife. This phenomenon may be quite logical
viewed in the family income context. Yet the consequences of this
behavior lead to more underemployment for a woman than if she
were free to pursue purposeful job mobility tied to her skill
Because of :family responsibilities, many women desire or are
limited to part-time work, as are older workers for other reasons.
However, not many professional and skilled occupations provide
part-time work options so as to make it possible for those who are
professionally trained or skilled to utilize their skills and avoid
underemployment. There appears to be little evidence to support the
view that part-time workers are less productive than full-time
workers. Professional and skilled part-time work would keep
women in contact with "their type" of job and prevent skill erosion
from taking place. There is no particular reason why career commitment cannot be part time for both men and women. In any case, the
absence of part-time jobs to suit the skill distribution of workers often
results in underemployment.
Another potential source of underemployment of women is weak
labor force attachment. For example, women who leave the labor force
for considerable periods may suffer an erosion of their labor market
skill. The extent of this loss will depend on the nature of their skill.
But, more importantly, with regard to underemployment, when thPy
reenter the labor market, they may lack confidence to compete for
jobs for which their current skills are, in fact, appropriate. The ,result
would be underemployment, as it would be if employers overreact to
the perceived skill loss of women who have been absent from the
labor force for a considerable period.

D. Causes of Interskill Underemployment
Interskill underemployment is the result of a relative disadvantage
in the marketability of a skill itself, compared to other skills which
required equivalent investments to obtain. Persons who are underemployed for this reason are victims of labor market "~luts" which have
their ori~ns both on the demand and supply sides of the labor market.
Given the concentration of women in a limited number of occupational and education fields and the increasing supply of women in the
labor market, interskill underemployment is ·a more likely condition
for women than for men.
Since the labor requirements of firms are a derived demand, the dynamics of markets for goods and services and the resultant ,adjustment
processes are hound to favor certain skill groups and disfavor others.
Individuals with skills appropriate to disfavored occupaitions are more
likely to be underemployed than are individuals whose skills match
the requirements of favored occupations. Layoffs in disfavored occupations, and the lack of new iob vacancies in them, can be expected
to reduce rthe. marketability of individuals with skills appropriate to
these occupations.
. In terms of skill adjustment, the response of labor supply to shifts
m demand is generally slugg-ish. Human capital investments, especially
for older people, tend to be irreversible due to cost (time) factors. The
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result of this immobility of skill in the face of declining demand will
often be underemployment rather than retraining; the individual is
"locked in."
Another cause of interskill underemployment is the lag between
market signals that indicate declining demand for a skill and reaction
to that signal, as reve3:led by rel3:tive declines in th_e nu~~r: of graduates trained in that slnll. A classic example of the inflexibility of supply in response to signals from the market is the teaching- profession,
especially elementary education, where women comprise a majority.
Long after the peak in student enrollments passed m the late 1960's
and indications of glut appeared, universities were still expanding programs to train elementary school teachers. The result was a significant
excess supply of teachers, some of whom are now either out of the labor
force or are still in the labor force but underemployed. To the extent
that labor market forecasting can be improved to provide early warning of declines in demand and this information can be more rapidly
transmitted to supply sources, the problem will be reduced.
Inadequate adjustment to changing demand and supply conditions
in the labor market is compounded for women. They face not only the
usual imperfections in the labor market, but also must contend with a
segregated job market which excludes them from a vast array of job
opportunities. Thus, with fewer alternatives, they are less able to adjust to changes in labor market conditions. However, it should be
noted that if proportionately more women than men do not plan or
desire continual labor market activity, investments by women in labor
market adjustments will be less than for men, since the payoff from
that investment will be less for women. One of the major difficulties in
empirical research is sorting out factors which prevent women from
making desired adjustments in the labor market from those factors
which represent voluntary decisions on their part.

E. Consequences and Oosts of Underemployment
The consequences of women's underemployment, whether of the intraskill or interskill variety, are perhaps self-evident. They include
lower earnings for individuals who are unable to utilize their skills
consistent with some norm. Since the accumulation of skills is continuous, those individuals who are underemployed will be at a disadvantage in terms of receiving on-the-job training or work experience
which complements their skills. This disadvantage has feedback effects
~n th~ sense that thei~ futm:e eligibility ~o.r ve~ical mobility may be
impaired. When acqmred slnlls ·are not utilized m work and the condition is not voluntary, job dissatisfaction and alienation from work are
likely out~om~s_. At a more aggregate level, underemployment represents an meffiment use of human resources. Education represents a
highly subsidized industry; to the extent that women are not able effectively to utilize the major public investment made in them, society
must bear the burden. This burden comes in the form of higher unit
costs of production and the resulting higher prices. Less productive
work means less tax revenues for governments, higher costs of welfare
unemployment insurance, and other public assistance programs that
respond to labor market dysfunctioning.
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Attempts to reduce underemployment require a wide variety of remedial measures. The recommendations provided below suggest some
ways in which the underemployment problem for women could be reduced, and areas where further reaseroh effo1'ts ·are required. The ordering of priorities within an underemployment policy is likely to
depend on the benefits and costs of the various ameliorative measures.
Quantification of the problem would clearly provide a helpful guide.
Several avenues for continued research ·are suggested. These would include: More refined measures of differences in returns to human capital
investment. between men and women wirtJh equivalent occupational
preparation; additional quantitative work on discrimination and the
role of information in the hiring and promotion process; more studies
of how women are being integrated into specific occupations; and the
development of indexes of occupational attainment in order to monitor
the progression of women into traditionally made occupations. Other
recommendations •are provided below.

A. Full Employment
A basic requirement for reducing underemployment is to decrease
unemployment. Those women workers who are underemployed have
little prospect o:f overcoming it when there is an excess supply of labor
in the job market. On the other hand, under conditions o:f full employment, when it becomes more difficult for employers to find qualified
males :for jobs, qualified minorities including women are more likely to
be hired. That is, the cost of search :for males under conditions o:f
full employment will approach the cost o:f search :for females, or may
even exceed it. The use of unrealistic hiring standards and dependence
on credentialism would decrease. Given that qualified women will be
taken into more diverse occupations under a full employment policy,
employers' information about women's performance on the job will
increase; consequently, there will be less prejudicial discrimination in
the future. Discrimination on the part of employers and male employees can also be expected to fall as women are integrated into traditionally male occupations. An additional ameliorative effect, o:f full employment is that more revenues would be available to Government to
attack other sources of underemployment of women.
On the other hand, with high unemployment, programs o:f many
kinds tend to be restricted in scope and funding. In sum, both the private sector and the Government sector will be more receptive to minority labor :force groups under conditions of full employment than under
conditions where considerable labor market slack exists.

B. The Hiring Process
The screening process that employers use :for hiring and promotion
is a valuable source of labor market information to them. However,
the line between legitimate use of screening and labor market discrimination is blurred. Yet it. is .often at the point o:f hiring where
underemployment of women commences and occupational segregation
begins. Inadequate empirical evidence in this area makes it difficult to
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formulate government policy. Women's skills will continue to be underutilized if unequal treatment is experienced in the hiring or promotion process. Government policy should encourage the Equal Employment Opportunity Commission in its enforcement of title VII ~f the
Civil Rights Act of 1964 and in the resolution of the very difficult
question as to which hiring standards or screening procedures are, in
fact, ,relaited to job performance. This .will necessarily lead to intrusion into the personnel policies of private firms, which may be justified, since those private policies have wide external social effects on

0. Labor Marketlnformation

The imperfect labor market information :which caus~s :under~mploymertt of women occurs on several levels; therefore pohmes to rmprove
it should be addressed across a broad front. First, improved methods
of forecasting demand for labor requirements of industry and supply
of skills will result in a better match between women workers and
jobs. Improved estimates at both the national and regional level would
be helpful. Identification of new and emerging occupations, as well
as more information on the link between occupations, are important.
We need to know more about how occupations are linked in terms of
transferability of skills among them, e.g., the use of an organizing
skill in a political campaign to raise funds or to increase the membership of an organization. This information would assist in identifying the most :flexible types of skill training and education.
Second, although we have extensive occupational information
already, there are impediments to its efficient use. For example, there
could be considerably more cooperation among education guidance
counselors, labor market statisticians, and employers.
Third, there is a need for more detailed local labor market information to assist local vocational educators and prime sponsors who
receive funds under the Comprehensive Employment and Training
Act (1973). Given the trend toward decentralization, State and local
areas should be res:{)onsible and accountable for education and training. This will reqmre better local labor market information and cooperative J?lanning among local manpower officials, employers, educational institutions, unions, and civil rights groups. The development
of local planning models incm;-porating these elements should be encouraged to assist in identifying the costs and effectiveness of alternative strategies. At a minimum, this planning process would make it
more difficult to exclude women from a wide range of both educational
and occupational choices.
D. 0 ownseling
Traditional educational counseling of women students does not
appear to have had much demonstrable imJ?act on widening the vocational choices that women make.. Occupational crowding of women
is in part due to the segregation of jobs in the labor market, but it
also stems from pre-job educational choices that women make. The
root· of thes~ cl;10ices is. ~ot easily und~rstoo~, but it would appear that
the emphasis on traditional counseling might be~ter be replaced by
"counseling in the classroom." This would commence in the early
years. A major objective would be to improve women's awareness of
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the world of work long before a career decision is made. This
would require an improved awareness and sensitivity on the part of
teachers in general. Since sex stereotyping in education and employment has its roots in early :formative years, policies to reduce these
effects should be directed toward the classroom long before more orthodox counseling takes place.

E. On-the-Job Training and Cooperative Education
An important source of education is on-the-job training, which is
provided in many forms from simple work experience to highly
:formalized training. The purpose ranges from socializing newly hired
employees in a particular organization to teaching real skills. One
negative aspect of on-the-job training as a form of education is that
it may be very specific and uncertified; therefore, it may be less transferable than in-school training. The most obvious positive characteristic of on-the-job training is that it provides learning experience at
the workplace; therefore, other factors being equal, the probability
is that an employee will end up working in the area of his/her
There is a need to look more closely at the effectiveness and cost of
cooperative or work experience education programs. More information
is required on how formal education and on-the-job training can interact. That is, what types of formal education lead to particular types
of on-the-job training and how does this interaction influence earnings
and employment outcomes. Cooperative education, where students combine work experience and formal education at the same time, provides
a clear avenue for placing more women into diverse employment
situations early in life. In this regard, more interaction between educators and employers to develop cooperative programs would be beneficial. (This ine:ludes 4-year institutions, junior colleges, vocational
and comprehensive secondary schools.)

F. Paraprofessionalisrn
Paraprofessionals normally work under the supervision of a professional ·and perform tasks formerly reserved for the latter. An
innovative expansion of paraprofessionalism could be expected to
reduce underemployment in two ways: (1) upper level professionals
would be permitted to spend additional time performing tasks which
more closely reflect their particular expertise in that they would be
relieved of many duties which can just as effectively be performed by
other less highly qualified professionals; (2) persons capable of providing many professional services, but who are prevented from doing
so by rigid work mles, leave underemployment behind when paraprofessional jobs are created to utilize their skills. A successful paraprofessional program would harness the concept of continuing or
recurrent education and on-the-job training to create more flexible
career ladders for those individuals who cannot or do not take the
normal professional education paths. The advancement of paraprofessionals to full professional status would require action by the professions themselves, the education system, and government.
Federal Reserve Bank of St. Louis


G. Part-time Work
Most jobs still require employees to work a standard workweek. The
part-time labor market is restricted largely to unskilled jobs with the
result that skilled or professionally trained individuals who take parttime jobs have a high probability of being underemployed. Women
with family duties, older workers, and the handicapped could all
benefit from innovative efforts to provide professional jobs on a parttime basis. Both private and public employers should consider the
merits of flexible and part-time work schedules, so that they might
take advantage of underutilized professionals. More enlightened work
scheduling would reduce underemployment for many women and provide more satisfying jobs in the part-time labor market. In addition,
the provision of high quality part-time work would prevent part-time
workers' professional skills from eroding through inadequate use.

H. Nontraditional Education for Women
Increasing the range of educational choice for women will help
alleviate underemployment. More emphasis should be placed on developing nontraditional careers for women. Many education and training
programs that are curently considered to be "male" programs should
encourage female participation. Expansion of opportunties could
reduce underemployment in three ways: (1) by cutting down future
occupational crowding, (2) by removing psychological barriers that
women may have toward jobs and educational programs which have
been traditionally male, and ( 3) by removing both current and future
biases that males may have toward women in traditionally male jobs
and educational programs.

In the United States and in other countries, it took society many
years to realize that individuals can fall into unemployment as unwilling victims; the Great Depression made this fact obvious. With the
Employment Act 0£ 1946, the Federal Government took major responsibility for preventing unemployment, a condition no longer deemed
to be a reflective of inadequate individual motivation. In the same
way, underemployment may result from factors beyond individuals'
control. Inadequate transferability of skills because of limited options
for midcareer education and training is one barrier that can turn
transitional underemployment into a permanent condition. The development of education as a lifelong process would help rremove this
barrier by easing transfers between occupations and by certifying
women for jobs for which credentialism would otherwise have disqualified them. Because women's education or job activities are more
likely to be interrupted due to family responsibilities, recurrent education could be helpful in reducing future underemployment for them.
Federal Reserve Bank of St. Louis




* **


I. Labor force participation of mature women_______________________
A. Barriers to full labor force participation of mature women___
B. Age discrimination ___ ---------------------------------C. Incorrect expectations and employment problems of women__
II. Unemployment among mature women___________________________
A. The measurement and interpretation of unemployment rates_
B. Specific human capital and female unemployment__________
C. Job search behavior of mature women____________________
III. Conclusions___________________________________________________


The problems that mature women 1 face in the labor force are often
a consequence of their family responsibilities. Interrupted work experience leads to low wages, reduced labor force participation, and
high unemployment-the three most important l!l!bor market problems
of mature women. The expectation of l abor force withdrawal influences women's career choices and this, in turn, a:ffects the amount of
on-the-job training they receive and their pay. Thus, the impact of
childrearing is felt not only while children are in the household, but
before they are present and after they are no longer a direct impediment to labor force iactivities.
Government policies to improve the employment position of mature
women should include vigorous enrorcement of laws designed to prevent sex discrimination, a commitment to full employment, and programs that are specifically designed to help mature women increase
their jobs skills and then find productive employment. The relationship
between lifetime work experience and the labor market problems of
mature women affirms the need for policies that insure equal treatment
for women in the home as well as in the office and factory. Equality in
aspects of life other than the labor market is necessary to produce a
total improvement in the employment position of mature women.
Section I of this paper discusses the causes and consequences of
the lifetime labor force participation pattern for women.. Several

• Assistant professor of economics and research associate, Center for Human Resource
ReRearch, Ohio State University, ColumbuR, Ohio.
...The author would like to thank the Center for Human Resource Research for financial
support for this paper. Rex Johnson and Pete Koenig for their research assistance, and
Patricia GrPene for editorial assistance. Numerous helpful comments were provided by
Belton Fleisher, Tom Chirikos, and Herbert Parnes. Errors that remain are the author's
own responslblUty.
The orll?lnal research on which this paper was based was prepared under a contract
with the Manpower Administration, U.S. Department of Labor, under authority of the
Manpower Development and Training Act. Interpretations and viewpoints are those of the
author and do not necessarily rel)resent the official position of the Department of Labor.
1 For purposes of this study, the term "mature women" Includes all women from age :10
through the end of their work lives, including never-married, married, previously married,
with or without children.
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aspects of unemployment mature women are analyzed_ in section II. Intel'S:persed throughout the p~per and summarized in section
III are the policy impliootions of the analysis.

Standard economic models used to analyze labor supply of married
women view the decision to work in a family context. 2 Three alternative
uses are availruble for the wife's time: Work in the home (e.g., cooking,
child care, etc.) ; work in the labor market; and leisure. The allocation
of the wife's time among these activities depends on her net market
wage, other family income, her home productivity, and the family's
preferences and tastes. The expected effects of some of these factors are
discussed below.
The wife's market wage (net of direct costs of employment) is expected to influence her labor force participation. The higher the available market wage, other things bemg equal, the more likely ·a woman
is to seek market work. 8 Variables tha,t reflect the ease or difficulty of
obtaining a job (such as the area unemployment mte) change the net
return to labor force ~articipation by affecting the cost of job search
and can often be considered -analogous to the money wage rate in their
effect. Likewise, nonpecuniary returns to employment are similar to
wages in their effect on the participation of women. The wife's personal. taste for market work and the views of her husband, both possibly conditioned by attitudes prevalent in society, affect the nonpecuniary return to market work.
The wife's home productivity is determined by _her abilities and her
family's demand for home goods and services which, in turn, depends
on income and tastes. Although not often directly observable, home
productivity might be assumed to be positively associated with the
number of children in the household and inversely associatoo. with the
ages of the children. The higher her home productivity, the lower is the
likelihood that the woman is in the la;bor force.
A. Barriers to the Full Labor F oroe Participation of Mature Women
The economist's framework is useful in examining the effects of skill
depreciation, the presence of children and availability of child care
faciliti~, and the husband's attitudes toward his wife's liabor force
participation. Implicit in the discussion of the employment problems
of mature women are policy suggestions for lowering barriers to their
full participation in the labor market.
Table 1 shows the length of work intervals and home time segments
for women who were 30 to 44 years of rage in 1967.4 A comparison of the
data for mothers with those for childless women demonstrates that a
very substantial barrier to full labor :force participation is women's
s See, for exam~le :
Glen G. Cain, 'Married Women 1n the Labor Force: An Economic Analysis" (Chicago:
University of Chicago Press, 1966).
Jacob Mincer, "Labor Force Participation of Married Women: A Study of Labor Supply,"
in "Aspects of Labor-Economics.,_" National Burean of Economic Research (Princeton, N.J.:
Princeton University Press, 196:.r:), pp. 63-106.
• Mincer, op. cit., attributed the dominance of the substitution ell'ect over the income
ell'ect of a higher market wage for the wife to the avallab1llty of many home work activities
Which can serve as substitutes for market work.
• Estimates of an econometric model of the lifetime participation of married women are
contained in Steven H. Sandell, "Lifetime Labor Force Participation of Married Women"
(unpublished mimeo, Ohio State University, 1976),
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assumed responsibility to care for their children. The availability of
child care fucilities would free women with very young children for
market work. Day camps that would operate after school and on
holidays, along with school lunch programs, would increase the labor
force options of mothers of school-aged children.
Interval means
While with children:
Married once, spouse present.. _______
Remarried, spouse present___________
Widowed ___________________________
Separated __________________________
White childless:
Married once, spouse present.. _______
Never married ______________________
Black, with children:
Married once, spouse present_________
Remarried, spouse present_ __________
Widowed ___________________________
Black, childless:
Married once, spouse present._ ___________
Never married ______________________











0. 76
. 55
1. 41
. 93
1. 02

3. 81


1. 91
4. 92



9. 55
11. 01

12. 71
10. 42
10. 70

10. 35
11. 41
10. 71


4.43 3. 73 5. 51
2.34 8.25

15. 37




1. 17 1. 86 5.67 4.15 4.21 3. 75
1.16 2.02 4. 79 6.69 4.82 3.83

9. 76
12. 54
10. 76


4.07 5.44 4. 78
7.07 3.14 4.56
6. 76 4.39 2.82

13. 32

10. 08
10. 37
9. 58


4.32 3.05 5. 93
3. 73 6.89

15. 27




1. 70 5.43 0
1. 08 6.66 0

1. 91 6. 72
. 86 1. 36 3.96
1. 32 1. 60 4.32
3. 22 5.02
3. 43 7.61 00

Note: hi-years not worked between school and 1st job; e1-years worked between school and birth of 1st child (for
childless married women, equals years worked between school and 1st marriage; for never-marrieds, equals years worked
prjor to current job); h,--years not worked between marriage and 1st job after birth of 1st child; e,--years worked after h,
pnor to 1967 job (for childless married women, equls years worked between ls! marriage and start of 1967 job); h,--years
not worked following 1st job after birth of ls! child (i.e., since returning to the labor force at the end of h,); e,--years on
1967 job which occurred after birth of 1st child; l;-years worked since school; 2:h-years of nonparticipation since
school; S-years of schooling.
Source: The National Longitudinal Survey of Women aged 30-44, Center for Human Resource Research, (Columbus, Ohio:
The Ohio State University, 1967). Also see Sandell and Shapiro. "The Theory of Human Cao ital and the Earnings of Women:
A Reexamination of the Evidence" (unpublished mimeo, the Ohio State University, 1976).

Of course, the allocation of some child care responsibilities to the
husband would lead to greater equality in the fabor market as well as
in the household. If home work were shared more equally between
marital partners, their labor force participation rates could become
more equal. Moreover, the words of husbands, as well as their deeds,
seem to affect the labor force behavior of married women. Women who
perceive favorable attitudes of their husbands toward their working
have greater lifetime participation than other women. 5
Since the women who command higher market wages are more likely
than other women to work, it follows that increasing pay to mature
women would augment their labor force participation. Thus, it is important to understand the determinants of women's earnings if Government policy is to be directed toward increasing the employment of
mature women. Lower wages attributable to skill depreciation during
the childrearing period implies reduced labor force participation subsequently. A recent study of women's earnings concluded that each
year a woman spends out of the lrubor force, her potential wiag-e is
reduced by one-half of 1 -percent.6 Thus, in truble 1 the typical white
married woman with children and spouse present had her potential
Ibid., p. 17.
• Steven H. Sandell and David Shapiro, "The Theory of Human Capital and the Earnings
of Women: A Reexamination of the Evidence" (unpubllshed mlmeo, the Ohio State University, 1976), p. 5.
Federal Reserve Bank of St. Louis

market wage reduced 15 cents in 1967. In other words, dhildrearing has
the effect of reducing labor force participation after children are fully
grown as well as when they are present in the household. It seems that
mature women's la:bor supply would be increased if they were able to
hold part-time jobs that facilitated the maintenance of Job skills during the childrearing period. Of course, retraining programs for women
returning to the labor force could have the same result.

B. Age Discrimination
The Age Discrimination in Employment Act of 1967 established the
public policy of promoting employment opportunities based on ability
rather than age for people who are over 40 years old. Since the labor
force participation rate of women in this age group has increased
dramatically since 1950, the question of age discrimination is a particularly important concern in ex,amining their labor market problems.
Although Federal law prohibits discrimination by age in hirino-, job
retention, and compensation, this policy is often difficult to enforce.
While the Employment Standards Administration of the Department
of Lrubor has been successful in stopping many firms from using •arbitrary age limits beyond which they would not consider a person for a
particular job, other practices that adversely affect older women are
more difficult to .Prevent. These include establishing minimal, formal
educatioll!al reqmrements for certain jobs and promoting workers on
the basis of seniority.
The common practice of choosing persons from within instead of
hiring from outside the firm for high level positions impacts adversely
on older women. Since intermittent labor force participation of these
women is associated with shorter •tenure within a particular firm, the
likelihood of their job advancement is lower than for persons with the
same tot1al labor market experience but longer tenure at the firm. Thus,
a policy of internal promotion can ·be viewed as de facto age discrimination against women.
Formal educational requirements or recruiting new employees
through college placement offices can result in unfavorable treatment
of older women workers. If the firm is not willing to consider a woman's
life and work experience as ·a substitute for a formal education requirement, older persons who on average have less schooling than younger
persons will find it difficult to obtain good jobs. When hiring requirements are flexible and if the employer recruits exclusively on college
camJ?uses, older women will not have information about the availability of certain positions and, thus, will not be considered for

O. lrworreat Ewpeatations ami1 Employment Problem,s of Women
Training is profitable to a worker if the increase in earnings 1attributable to it is greater than its cost. Hence, the profitability and the
receipt of training are J>?Sitively related to the expected duration of
future labor force participation. To the extent that underestimation
of future labor force participation leads to a lack of interest in formal
and on-the-job training, some women are faced with poor occupational
opportunities when ·and if they do decide to enter the l3Jbor market.
Unrealistically low expectations of future labor market participation
Federal Reserve Bank of St. Louis

can create a self-fulfilling prophecy if these little-trained women are
offered low wages and, hence, c:hoose not to accept employment.
Two oohorts from the National Longitudinal Surveys 7 ( women 14
to 24 and women 30 to 44 years of ,age) are used to compare the labor
force expectations ( at age 35) of young women to the actual labor force
experience of women who have attained that age. Table 2 shows the
responses of the younger group of women to the question "What would
you like to be doing when you are 35 years old i" It also provides the
actual labor market status of women 30 to 44 years of age. Young
women are categorized by expected education and older women by
actual education completed at the time of the survey.
Although we will not ,attempt a thorough analysis of labor market
expectations in this paper, the following results seem clear from the
tables presented. Young women in ,almost all education groups seriously underestimate their future labor force participation as judged by
the actual experience of older women. Many women who are currently
facing difficulties in the lrubor market undoubtedly had such unrealistic expectations in the past. To the extent that current trends in female
lrubor force participation continue into the future, the underestimates
by young women today are even more serious than indicated in the
tables. It is interesting to note that black women seem to underestimate
their future lrubor force participation less than white women. Blacks
between 14 and 24 years of age prediot a labor furce pa.rticipation rate
of 59 percent compared to an actual rate of 67 percent. Whites predict,
at age 35, a rate of 29 percent compared to ,an actual rate of 48 percent.
Education 1
11 yr
or less
Percent young women expecting to work at age
35 2 '- ___ ---- ---------------- ---- -- ---- -Percent of mature women in labor force• ______
Percent of young women expecting to work at
age 35 '•--------------------------------Percent of mature women in labor force•- _____

12 yr

13 to 15

16 plus



26. 8
47. 6


32. 7
54. 5

47. 7




57. 7



1 Refers to expected educational attainment for young women, completed education for mature women.
, National Longitudinal Survey of Women aged 14 to 24 in 1968.
• Excludes those answering "don't know," "not applicable," or "other."
• Excludes those answering educational attainment of 11 yr or less.
• Respondents from the National Longitudinal Survey of Women 30 to 44 in 1967.

A clear implication for policy may be drawn from these findings:
women need more guidance in preparing realistically for their future
lives. This guidance could be given in high school, through the media,
or through tlie employment service. Young women should be made
a ware of the extended periods in the labor force that they will probably face during their mature years. They might then .be more likely
to seek training opportunities and to prepare themselves in other ways
for eventual employment.
• "l'!<ational Longitudinal Survey of Women Aged 30 to 44," -Center for Human Resource
Research (Columbus, Ohio: Ohio State University, 1967).
Ibid., "Aged 14 to 24," 1968.
Federal Reserve Bank of St. Louis



This section examines several facets of unemployment among ma.ture
women. First, problems related ,to the measurement of female unemployment are examined. The effect of labor force withdrawal and reentrance on the interpretation of the published unemployment statistics
is discussed. Second, some important factors contributing to high unemployment among mature women are examined. Women's lifetime
labor force participation patterns limit their training opportunities
and their occupational choices, which in turn of,ten increase the likelihood of their suffering unemployment. Finally, some preliminary :findings from a recent study of job search behavior of mature women with
recent work experience are presented.

A. The Mea8Urement and Interpretation of Unemployment Rates
Considerable care must 1be used in interpreting the published statistics on unemployment of women because of the high incidence of laJbor
force withdrawal and reentrance among this segment of the population. These statistical problems distort the magnitude of unemployment among several groups of women. and thus disguise the causes and
thwart proper prescription of public policy to reduce unemployment
a.mong women.
The Women's Bureau explains the difference between the unemployment rates of adult men and adult women in April 1974 as follows:
Entry and re-entry into the labor force accounted for 1.7 percentage point of
the 4.6 percent unemployment rate for adult women, but for only 0.7 of the 3.6
percent rate for adult men. Were it not for the inclusion of unemployment caused
by entry and re-entry, the rates for these women and men would have been the
same--2.9 percent.s

However, the high unemployment rate for entrants and reentrants is
in one sense an artifact of the Bureau of La!bor Statistics' definition of
unemployment. Women moving from "employment" as housewives in
the nonmarket sector to paid employment are treated differently from
p~rsons who change jobs within the market sector. The former are
always defined as unemployed while seeking other work, while the
latter are counted as unemployed only if they are among the approximately 50 percent of jdb switchers who search for other jobs after
leaving those they have had.9 If this ratio were applied to reentrants,
the ( adµlt) female unemployment rate would have been lowered 1;3
percenta~e points from 8 percent to 6.7 percent in 1975. Since males
are less likely to have been "employed" in nonmarket work, a similar
cal_culation reduces the male u~employme~t ratio only 0.5 percentage
pomts to 4.6 percent. Thus, usmg this ad3ustment to the unemployment rates for reentrants (instead of not counting them among the
unemployed at all, as is implied by the Women's Bureau's adjustment),
the unemployment rate for (adult) females is 45 percent greater than
for males.
Even if one considers the unemployment of a particular group of
entrants and reentrants into the labor force as a temporary. problem
• U.S. tiepartment of Labor, Women's ·Bureau, "19111 Handbook op Wom.en Workers,"
oulletin 297 (Washington, D.C.: Government Printing Office, 191.5), pp. ,67-68.
• Peter, J. Mattila, "Job Quitting and F.riction11l, U11e111,ployment," American Economic
· ·
Review 64, No. 1 (Maroh 1,974), pp. 235-239.
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and unimportant for policy purposes, it would be incorrect to draw
the conclusion that a sex difference in unemployment does not exist.
The adjustment procedure is asymmetric because it ignores labor force
withdrawal, a phenomenon which is substantially larger for women.
For example, in 1974, while 7.5 million women entered the labor force,
almost 6.2 million withdrew. 10 The comparable statistics for men are
4.8 million entrants and 3.9 million leavers. If one subtracts the number of labor force leavers from the total of entrants and reentrants, an
adjustment for the net number of entrants can be made. With this procedure it is clear that the unemployment rate for women is substantially higher than that for men.
Women who withdrew from the labor force, even if they were fired
:from their previous jdb, are not counted as unemployed. We will demonstrate that the statistical bias caused by not counting "discouraged"
workers as unemployed leads to a more significant understatement of
the unemployment rate in typically female than in typically male occupations. This in turn has J?erhaps concealed the relationship between
the occupational distribution of women and their "true" unemployment experience. While a number of researchers have shown that
women are concentrated in occupations different from men and that
the difference between male and :female earnings is consistent with
the "crowding" hypothesis, there has been little evidence that the
occupational concentration is responsible for the higher unemployment rates o:f women. In fact, using the census' nine major occupational categories, two recent studies 11 :found that if women had the
same occupational distribution as men, the female unemployment rate
would have been higher. However, this conclusion might well be
altered if the high eVIdence of lrubor force withdrawal among married
women were taken into account.
Since the typically female occupations require little investment in
human capital, firms do not penalize women in these occupations for
withdrawal from the labor force. For example, firms are not willing to
pay large wage premiums to discourage typists from quitting. In other
occupations, such as business managers, there is a considerable wage
premium to encourage continued tenure with a particular firm. Since
women who leave the labor force often have a weaker commitment to
market work, they are more likely than other women to work in "female occupations." Furthemnore, women who lose their jobs are more
likely to withdraw from the labor force, rather than be counted as
unemployed, if they previously worked in "female occupations."
Since the National Longitudinal Surveys' (NLS) data identify the
previous occupation as well as the labor force status of women who
have lost their jobs, an empirical test of this supposition is presented
below. Table 3 examines the relationship between the proportion o:f
women in an occupation and the likelihood that women in that occupation who exit from the ranks of the employed withdraw from the labor
force ( rather than report themselves as being unemployed). Column 1
10 U.S. Department of Labor and U.S. Department of Health, Education, and Welfare,
"Employment and Training Report of the President" (Washington, D.C. : Government
Printing Office, 1976), pp. 213,231.
11 Marianne A. Ferber and Helen M. Lowry, "Women: The New Reserve Army of the Unemployed," In "Women and the Workplace: The Implications of Occupational Segregation." Edited by Martha Blaxall and Barbara Reagan (Chicago: University of Chicago
Press. 1976), pp. 213-232.
Nancy S. Barrett and Richard D. Morgenstem, "Why Do Blacks and Women ,Have High
Unemployment Rates?" Journal of Human Resources 9, No. 4 (fall 1974), pp. 452-464.
Federal Reserve Bank of St. Louis

shows that, among those women not working at the time of the 1972
survey, the propensity to drop out of the labor force instead of becoming unemployed is larger if the previous job has been in a typically
female occupation. Column 2 shows that among women employed in
1967, a higher percentage of those employed in typically female rather
than typically male occupations said they would drop out of the labor
force 1f they were to lose their jobs. Thus, labor force withdrawal
results in a systematic understatement of unemployment in occupations
with high concentrations of women compared to those occupations
where women work less frequently.

Typicality of most recent occupation 1
4 most typically female categories•-------------------------------------------4 least typically female categories&____________________________________________

Pen:ent of
women with
recent work
experience who
were out of the
labor force
(1972) •

Percent of
working women
who said they
would leave the
labor fon:e if
they lost their
jobs (1967) a

87. 0
77. 7


t The atypicality index measures the difference for aach 3-digit occupational category between women as a percentage
of all workers in that occupation and women as a pen:enta11e of the total experienced civilian labor force in 1970. (Soun:es:
U.S. Bureau of the Census, census of population: 1970, subJect reports, Final Report PC (2)-7 A, occupational characteristics
(WashinBton: U.S. Government Printing Office), table 1 and John A. Priebe, Joan Heinkel, and Stanlee Greene, "1970
Occupation and Industry Classification Systems in Terms of Their 1960 Occupation and Industry Elements," U.S. Bureau
of the Census Technical Paper No. 26 (Washington, U.S. Government Printing Office, 1972.)) Example: In 1970, women
were 38.1 percent of the experienced civilian labor force; 4.6 percent of all architects and 97.5 percent of all professional
nurses were women. Hence, the atypicality index or occupational code 013 (architects) is -335 (46-381). The index value
for code 150 (professional nurses) is 594 (975-381).
• Sample: White women, married with spouse present and worked 2 or more weeks in 1971.
aSample: White women, married with spouse present and with a job during 1967 survey week.
• Atypicality index values +280 to +999.
& Atypicality index values -380 to +77.

Source: NLS of women 30 to 44 in 1967.

B. Specific Human Capital and Female Unemployment
The term "firm-specific human capital" refers to training that increases the productivity of workers in their jobs only within the firm
making the investment. The firm pays for the training and reaps a
return derived from the difference between a worker's increased productivity and her posttraining wage.
The existence of firm-financed specific training yields important implications concerning the behavior of firms vis-a-vis women. The productivity increase associated with specific human capital creates
a spread between the worker's output and the wage rate. Hence, a small
decrease in productivity associated with a business downturn would
be less likely to lead to the dismissal of an individual with specific
training than one whose wage had been equal to her productivity.
Due to their intermittent labor force participation and "involuntary" migration associated with their husbands' dominating job opportunities, women's expected tenure with a particular firm 1s shorter
than men's. Firms are less willing to make investments in women if the
profitability of their investment is thwarted by women's quitting. As
a result of profit-maximizing behavior of the firm and the lesser firmspecific human capital embodied in female employees, women will
often be the first to be laid off when business becomes poor. However,
employment opportunities would become available first for women
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during cyclical upturns. The specific human capital phenomenon explains the greater cyclical sensitivity of female compared with male
unemployment rates, and the greater job turnover of women partia,lly
explains sex differences in the level of unemployment.12

0. Job Search Behavior of Mature Women
According to the economic theory of job search, the unemployed
worker chooses a "reservation" wage, below which she will not accept
a job offer. The persons' job search strategy is reflected by the reserva~
tion wage. I£ the reservation wage chosen is too high, then the cost of
the worker of earnings lost during the job search is greater than the
extra earnings gained from finding the higher paying job. A reservation wage that is too low means the worker should have tried to find a
higher paying job, since the earnings gain from that job would exceed
the earnings foregone in additional unemployment. It was possible to
investigate the labor market behavior of unemployed women using the
NLS data. Information contained in these surveys allowed the examination of the determinants of reservation wage, the duration of unemployment, and the post-unemployment rate of pay for a sample of
married women who were unemployed between 1967 and 1972. Preliminary results from the study indicate that unemployed women who
have had recent work experience conduct their job search in a manner
that can be considered to be rational from the point of view. of economic theory.
The reservation wage reported by unemployed married women seems
to be systematically related to the wage they received at their most recent job and the average wage received by employed women with
equivalent education and labor market experience. Women whose husbands have high labor market earnings and women who receive unemployment compensation report higher asking wages than other
women. Women who did not leave their previous job voluntarily reported lower reservation wages than women who quit. Furthermor~,
women adjust their asking wages downward as the period of unemployment lengthens. This continuous reduction, 1 to 2 cents per hour
for each week of unemployment, could reflect the revision of expectations in the light of increased knowledge of job opportunities.
The conceptual framework used to study the duration of unemployment of married women is straightforward. By definition, a job will be
accepted by an unemployed woman if the offered wage is greater than
the job seeker's reservation wage. The probability of accepting a job
within a certain time period is equal to the probability of receiving a
job offer in that period multiplied by the probability that the associated wage offer is higher than the person's asking wage.
The preliminary results of regression analysis using NLS data indicated that: (1) Longer spells of unemployment were associated with
greater divergence (in a positive direction) between the asking wage
and the wage that women with similar personal characteristics recei ved. 13 ( 2) Women who lost their jobs experienced seven weeks more
12 For a discussion of the relationship of employment stability and unemployment rates
see Stephen T. Marston, "Employment Instability and High Unemployment Rates," Brook'.
ings Papers on Economic Activity 1 (Washington, D.C.: 1976), pp. 169-203.
,., Although women suffer a longer period of unemployment when they ask for higher
wages, they are rewarded with higher paying jobs. In fact, the preliminary results seem to
indicate that, based on financial considerations alone, the average married woman could
profita_bly spend a longer period of time In job search activities and, thereafter be rewarded
with higher wages.
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unemployment than women who had left their previous jobs voluntarily. (3) On the average, a 1-percentage-point increase m the area
unemployment rate was associated with an additional week of unemployment for married women.
The last result emphasizes the interaction between overall economic
conditions and unemployment among women. The analysis described
here used a sample of married women who have worked for pay since
1966. For this group of women, the duration of unemployment( and,
hence, their unemployment rate) is affected by the general conditions
in the labor market. There would. also be fewer involuntary job terminations in a more ,prosperous economy, so both the incidence and the
duration of unemployment for women would be lower. These preliminary Tesults indicate the propitious effect that Government commitment to full employment will have on those (married) women already
in the labor force, in addition to the favorable effect it will have on the
labor force participation among mature women.



To a large degree, the position of mature women in the labor market
reflects their past acceptance of family and household responsibilities.
Labor force withdrawal weakens both their employers' and their own
incentives to invest in their human capital. These problems are compounded by sex discrimination.
While there is a role Government policy can play in alleviating employment problems faced by mature women, they will only experience
substantial labor market equality with men when their home and career
orientations are similar. Only after equal labor force experiences are
realized by- men and women in their 20's and 30's will they be treated
as equals m their 40's and 50's. The most important role Government
can play is to insure that today's young women are aware of the consequences of labor force withdrawal and lack of training.
Throughout the paper there have been allusions to specific labor
market policies that could help mature women. These include making
available day care facilities and retraining opportunities to women. Another important aid to mature women is to encourage them to use private employment agencies and the public employment services. The
latter could be directed to cater to the special needs of mature women.
Currently, only 29 percent of women who search for jobs compared
with 37 percent of the men use the State employment service.14
Finally, the Federal Government should vigorously enforce laws
that provide equal opportunity for women. There is ample evidence
that women respond to economic incentives in their training and. job
search behavior. I:f the job opportunities and the wages of mature
women have been reduced by discrimination, they have lower labor
force participation and suffer more unemployment than in a truly
egalitarian labor market. 15 If women's treatment by employers and
their labor force participation expectations are similar to men's, their
labor market experience will be equal.
"1,975 Handbook on Women Workers," p. 74.
15 See Sandell and Shapiro, op. cit. The dliference in work experience accounts for only
25 percent of the male-female wage gap.
Federal Reserve Bank of St. Louis
Federal Reserve Bank of St. Louis



91- 086--77 ---ll
Federal Reserve Bank of St. Louis
Federal Reserve Bank of St. Louis






BosE * **


Child care___________________________________________________
Recommendations for legislation on the family__________________
A. Principles____________________________________________
B. Family support systems________________________________
1. Facilities for family functions____________________
2. Employment___________________________________
3. Education_-----------------------------------4. Housing and community design__________________
5. Food services __ -------------------------------6. Household services_____________________________
VIII. Conclusion__________________________________________________




Women's family lives and work lives are inseparable. A vicious circle exists in which the assignment by society of housework and child
care to women, sex inequality ingrained in our mores, and the labor
force experiences of women, interact continually to reinforce the worst
features of each. On the one hand, the family responsibilities of women
limit markedly their ability to earn a reasonable living in meaningful
work. In the absence of support systems, they find it difficult to meet
the formal requirement of work continuity in order to gain job promotions and salary increases; they find it difficult to have time for training or retraining outside the normal hours of the workday; thus, their
work continuity and training opportunities are interrupted by family
responsibilities and family crises. On the other hand, women's work experiences make it difficult for them to develop and maintain sound family lives. Women are concentrated in psychologically deadening lowskill jobs with low pay, often without fringe benefits. The economic
deprivation and meaninglessness of the work sometimes combine to
provoke concern about family responsibilities and economic problems.
Furthermore, women are notoriously underemployed. They often
work in jobs which are well below the level of their abilities and formal education and experience high rates of unemployment. The very
*Nornt Glazer is a professor of sociology : Linda Majka is an assistant professor of socinloc::v. Portland State University, Portland, Oree:.: Joan Acker Is an associate professor,
University of Oregon. Eugene, Oreg. ; and Christine Bose is an assistant professor of
sociology, University of Washington, Seattle, Wash.
••ApprPciatinn is expressed to the Graduate School and the Sociology Department at
Portland State University for clerical support.
Federal Reserve Bank of St. Louis


existence of sex-typed jobs, which are accompanied by discriminatory
rates of pay and low status, in turn contributes to the persistence of
sex-stereotyping within family patterns, that is, assignment of the
primary responsibility for home and children to women, because the
rational economic decision for most families facing a choice is that the
higher :paid man should work outside the home and the lower paid
woman m the home.
Today it is not a question, however, of whether or not women with
family responsibilities ought to combine work in the labor force and
work in the home. Rather, we must deal with the reality that millions
of women do work:
In 49 out of 100 husband-wife families where the husband is
employed the wife is also working. 1
Employed mothers with children under 18 years include 13.6
million women, representing 46 percent of all such mothers and 38
percent of all employed women. 2
Among 7.2 million families headed only by women, and including 9 million children, 54 percent of the women were in the labor
force. 3
The employed wife contributes, on the average, about 25 '!)ercent
of the family's income, and keeps a sizable proportion of families
out of poverty, or just ·at the poverty line.'
The overall length of the worklife expectancy of American women has increased from 6.3 years in 1900 to 22.9 years in 1970, still
below the average for men, but nonetheless a considerable number
of years. 5
We must recognize that the family has been accused over and over
again of being the source of many social problems in American society.
Yet, we have been unwilling to provide the basic essential services
which would support an adequate family life and family stability in
a complex, urban society.
Married women in the labor force and women heading families must
be recognized as multiple jobholders. Multiple jobholding now has a
very narrow meaning-"moonlighting"-which refers to holding a second paid job to meet regular expenses. 6 Our failure to recognize housework and P-hi]d care as work comes from the archaic view that work
only includes activities that bring earnings. If our views of housework
were revised to acknowledge that what the homemaker does is work,
we would not continue to let employed women carry an undue burden
without society's encouragement and aid. The everyday life o-f the
average em'!)loyerl wife and mother is far different from the "ideal"
lives of women who are married to men prominent in business, the pro•
fessions, and government; unlike these latter women, 70 to 80 percent
1 HowRrd Hayghe, "Marital and Fam11:v Characterfatics of the Labor Force. 'M•rch
1975." Sneclftl Labor Force Report 183 (Washington, D.C.: U.S. Department of Labor,
BurP•11 of Labor Statistics. 1975).
• "Whv Women Work," Women's Bureau (Washington, D.C.: U.S. Department of Labor,
19711) ( July, revised). p. 25.
3 BPverly Johnson McEaddy, "Women Who Head Fammes: A Socioeconomic Analysis"
Monthly Labor Review. 99(6) (June 1976). n. 16.
• Donald Cymrot and Lucy D. Mallan. "Wife's Earnings as a Source of Family Income "
Research and Statistics Note, No. 10 (Washinl(ton, D.C.: Department of Health," Education
and Welfare, Apr. 3-0, 1974). DHEW Pub. (SSA) 74-11701, pn. 10-11.
5 H. N. Fullerton, Jr., and J. J. Byrne, "Len11rth of Working Life for llfen and Women
1'970." Monthly Labor Review. 99(2) (Februarv 1976).
• Konp l\,flchelottl, "Special Labor Force Report-Multiple Jobholders In l\fay 1975 "
:Monthly Labor R,ev½ew, 98 (11) (November 1975).
Federal Reserve Bank of St. Louis

of employed American women cannot afford to hire regular household
and child care help or to purchase sufficient convenience foods and appliances to lighten the load of housework and child care.
We should recognize that the ability and willingness of women to
enter the labor force rests upon the availability of support services to
meet family needs. These support services should allow women to enter paid en1ployment without risk to their own physical and mental
well-being, without risk to the physical, moral and intellectual development of their children, and without risk for those who have spouses,
to the continued stability of their marriages. We should point out that
the provision of the variety of support systems outlined below would
also contribute to the creation of additional jobs necessary for a full
employment economy.
From the foregoing discussion, it is obvious that special support
systems are necessary in order to make it realistically possible for
women to be "able and willing to work." In addition, work available to
women should be "useful and rewarding employment." vVomen have
suffered too long from low-paying, dead-end jobs, without fringe benefits or long-term security; these types of jobs have basically been an
additional hardship to bear, added to women's existing burden of
repetitive, never ending jobs at home.
For purposes o:f discussion, the complex interrelations between :family and work life will be separated into the following areas: employment, child care, housework, leisure, honsing and community design.
After our discussion of the problems, we have presented a set of principles, which should be embodied in legislation for the :family, and suggestions for a support system which would be necessary to implement
those principles.



The complex interaction between :family and work life calls for adjustments in the terms o:f employment in order to meet women's needs.
Under conditions o:f the existing labor market, women have higher
rates of unemployment, lower incomes and low-skill occupational options. 7 Even when they are full-time labor force participants, women
have disproportionately constituted "the working poor." 8 Equal pay
and antidiscriminatory policies are vitally important, but they are not
enough to end women's secondary status in the labor force. Ending the
scarcity o:f work at the minimum wage level will relieve women of the
effects of having to compete with so many other workers for low-wage
employment, but it will not solve women's economic problems. The
solutions must include (a) changing the terms of employment to make
these compatible with women's ( and men's) familv responsibilities,
and (b) increasing the absolute number of jobs available to women at
the higher skills and professional levels.
Currently many, if not most, occupations depend on the social and
domestic infrastructure provided by women as unpaid full-time household workers. 9 Even when women work :full time, they still bear a
7 J\fcEaddy, op. cit., pp. 6--9.
• Ellzabeth Koontz, "Women In the Labor Force," In 1972 report of the New York City
Commission on Human Rights, "Women's Role In Contemporary Society" (New York:
Avon, 1972), p. 187.
9 Marjorie Galenson, "Women and Work: An International Comparison" (Ithaca, N.Y.:
Cornell, 1974) •
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disproportionate amount of responsibility for social and domestic
functions at considerable personal cost. 10 Although spreading the burden of such costs within the family by involving men (if they are
present) will relieve some of the problems of multiple job-holding
for women, it will not resolve the basic issue that the terms of employment for all workers have not adequately taken into account
the requirements of workers' so-called "private" needs for family life
and friendships. As long as women have traditionally supplied
unpaid labor in the home, such requirements have remained outside
the employer's accounting system. Families of full-time workers have
traditionally received only the "leftover time," as the needs of fathers,
mothers, and children are subordinated to the employment schedule.11
"\Vhen women and men both exercise their option to seek paid work,
the continuity of social and family life requires adjustment of the hours
of employment, time off from work, and increased earning capacity
of jobs to provide a decent livelihood. 12
An example of the kind of adjustment that might be made can be
taken from Eastern European countries. Employed mothers in Poland,
for instance, are likely to be with their children from 3 :30 to 4 :30
p.m. on, and in Yugoslavia from 4 p.m. on. In the United States,
employed women usually must wait to see their children until 5 :30
or 6 p.m. Thus, the leisure that mothers and children might spend
together is curtailed by the work responsibilities of women. 13 Highquality part-time work is an important factor in the adjustment of
terms of employment.
"\Vork in America has not enhanced the ability of people to act
~ffectively on their own behalf or to influence the events and decisions
affecting· their own homes and persons through social means. In the
face of scarcity of and competition for jobs, women and men have
seldom been "free" to find the type of employment they prefer, and
have thus experienced the, powerlessness of economic pressures. 14
Women have been observed to "prefer the semiskilled work at home
to unskilled work in the market, but prefer skilled work in the
market to either of these alternatives." 15 Some evidence suggests they
might also prefer the semiautonomous work at home to subordination
on the job, but they prefer autonomy and participation in market
work to either. 16 The ability and willingness of women with family
responsibilities to accept paid employment may depend on the extent
to which the meaningfulness of work can be enhanced through the
expanded utilization of ability and autonomy.
1 • Nona Glazer, "The Class Position of Women: Housewlfery." naper prPsente<'I at the
annual meeting of the American Sociology Association, Sept. 1, 1976, New York City.
11 Hayghe. op. cit., p, 19.
12 White House Conference on Children, "Report to the President" (Washington, D.C. :
Government Printing Office, 1970).
13 Phillip J. Stone, "Child Care In 12 Countries," In Alexander Szalai and others (editors), "The Use of Time: Dallv Use of Urban and Suburban Populations in 12 Countries"
(The Hague: Mouton & Co., 1972).
u Frank F. Furstenberg, .Jr.. "Work Experience and Family," In James O'Toole, editor,
''Work and the Quality of Life" (Cambridge, Mass.: MIT Press, 1974), p. 354.
lfi Isabel V. Sawhill, "Perspectives on Women and Work In America," In James O'Toole,
editor, "Work and the Quality of Life" (Cambridge, Mass.: MIT Press, 1974), p. 93.
16 Alice S. Rossi, "A Good Woman Is Hard To Find,'' Transaction 2, No, 1 (NovemberDecember 1964).
Federal Reserve Bank of St. Louis


Tha core of family life and the center of the female role has been
the bearing and raising of children. As the lives of women change,
new patterns of carrying out this crucial function become necessary.
The immediate need is for more adequate and more varied child care
arrangements for children of mothers who are already working or
The number and proportion of children with working mothers conwho want to enter the labor force.
tinues to rise.17 While the magnitude of the need for child care is
difficult to estimate, in 1973 there were 25 million children under age
17 whose mothers were working. 18 At about the same time, only approximately 575,000 children were receiving full day care in child care
centers. 19 While other forms o:f care, such as that provided by neighbors and relatives, are satisfactory for many children, there is no
way to estimate the number of children receiving inadequate care.
There is also no way to calculate the anxiety borne by mothers who
must work and who must leave their children in less than optimal
The problems o:f single mothers, another group which is growing
rapidly in size, are particularly severe. "Over the past decade, femaleheaded :families with children have grown almost 10 times as :fast
as two-parent families." 20 In the United States. 17 percent o:f all
children under 18 live in a family where the father is absent. 21 In
1973, 855,000 children under the age of 6 were in such families. 22 As
could be expected, mothers who head families are more likely to work
~han are those in husband-wife families, 23 so day care is especially
important to them.
In 1973, there were an additional 14 million children under the age
of 6 whose mothers were not in the labor force. Some proportion of
these children would also need alternate child care if their mothers
were to have full opportunity to prepare for labor force entry. Recent
estimates of the reserve labor force provide some preliminary basis
for anticipating the approximate number of homemakers who are
potential workers. 24 These women should be added to the calculation
of the magnitude of the need for child care.
. More and better child care facilities are only part of the solution to
the child care problems of women workers. Emergency as well as routine health care is needed for the children of working mothers. The
frequent illnesses of young children often necessitate a mother's absence from her job. Further worktime is also lost in other child care
obligations, such as attending to routine medical care and school problems. Some of these needs could be met if child care centers included
clinic facilities.
17 Anne M. Young, "Children of Working Mothers," Monthly Labor Review, 96, 4 (April
18 "Children of Working Mothers" (Washington, D.C.: U.S. Department of Labor, September 1973).
1 • Pamela Roby, "Child Care--Who Cares?" (New York: Basic Books, 1973).
20 Sawhill, op. cit.
21 "Marital Status and Living Arrangements: March 1975," Current Population Reports,
Serles P-20, No. 287 (Washington, D.C. : U.S. Department of Commerce, Bureau of the
Census December 1975).
2 • U.S. Department of Labor, "Children of Working Mothers" (1973).
20 Young, op. cit.
., Christopher G. Gellner, "Enlarging the Concept of the Labor Reserve", Monthly Labor
Review, 98, 4 (Aprll 1974.).
Federal Reserve Bank of St. Louis

The time demands of raising children, however, are extremely variable and are not amenable to highly organized solutions. Therefore,
in the long run one of the weatest contributions to the solution of the
problems of these time pressures would be the equal assumption by
men of the responsibilities of parenthood. Sex equality in child care
would not only lighten the multiple burdens of women, but would
likely contribute to the sound development of children, who often have
only a passing acquaintance with their fathers.



Doing housework, taking care of children, and carrying out assorted
jobs for husbands are work just as much as leaving home each day for
paid employment in an office or factory. To ignore this is to do a disservice to women in the labor force. These women, their children, and
eventually all Americans suffer the consequences: harried, unhappy
women; ill-cared for children; and angry, puzzled men. The reality of
housework is that women's work in the home averages 56 hours per
week for the full-time homemaker, actually up 1 hour per week since
the 1920's; 25 and 26 hours per week for the employed wife/mother.
Husbands and children barely increase their contribution to housework and child care when the wife/mother is in the labor force. 26 As
a result, the employed woman with family responsibilities simply gives
up most of her leisure to carry out the responsibilities of family life,
as well as dropping certain household tasks. Moreover, husbands' participation in child care, when it does occur, is usually concentrated in
playing with children, reading and taking walks, rather than the
basics of feeding, bathing, and dressing children. 27
We realize that it may sound strange to hear women's activities in
the home called work. Since women who do housework and child care
receive no salary or wages, homemaking is not considered "work." 28
Economists have finally helped us to recognize the importance of
women's work in the family by estimating the monetary value of homemaking. These estimates range from $4,705 (1972) through $8,200
(1968) to over $13,000 per year (1973), depending on whether the work
of the homemaker is considered equivalent to an unskilled, skilled, or
a professional worker, respectively. For example, is child care comparable to babysitting at $0.75 per hour, to a nursery school aide at
$3 per hour, or to the care of a child psychologist at $30 per houd 29
Some people have proposed that the solution to the problems of the
employed housewife would be simply to pay women for being housewives; hence, women with heavy family responsibilities would not
'".Joann Vanek, "Time Spent In Housework," Scientific American, 2,31, No. 5 (1974).
18 Nona Glazer, "The Husband-Wife Relationship and the Division of Labor: The Reconceptualization and ExtPnslon," paper prepared for Ford Foundation/Merrill-Palmer Conference on the Family ~Detroit, Nov. 9-12, 1975) •
.Joseph Pleck, "Mens Roles In the Family: Another Look," paper prepared for Ford
Foundation/Merrill-Palmer Conference on the Famlly (Detroit, Nov. 9-12, 1975).
Kathryn Walker and William Gauger, "The Dollar Value of ,Household Work," Cornell
University Information Bulletin, No. 60 (New York: Ithaca, N.Y., 1973).
Richard Berk, Sarah Berk, and Sally Berheide, "The Nondlvlsion of Household Labor,"
paper presented at the Paclflc Sociological Association (San Diego, March 1976).
27 Alexander Szalai, op. cit.
""Ann Oakley, "The Sociology of Housework" (New York: Pantheon, 1974), p. 9.
29 Nona Glazer, "Housework," Signs: A Journal of Women in Culture and Society, 1 (4 ►
(summer 1976).
Federal Reserve Bank of St. Louis

have to enter the labor :force in order to gain income for themselves
and/or their families. This is not a solution for the :following reasons:
First, wages provide income, but they do not remedy the isolating nature of the work itself, nor the negative attitudes housewives them.selves have toward housework (but not toward child care). 30 Second,
wages for housework would reinforce occupational stereotyping by
freezing women into their traditional roles. Unless women and men
are paid equally in the labor force and there is no division of labor by
sex, women's work in the home will have no value. Third, since it is
not clear what constitutes housework, and we know that housework
standards vary greatly, it would be difficult to know how to reward it.
Several methods have been calculated, but none appear likely to be
successful. The methods are variously based on ( a) opportunity cost
-of staying at home, controlling on person's age and education; 31 (b)
market cost or the income derived from an equivalent labor force
job; 32 and ( c) willingness of spouse to pay. Fourth, pay for housework might place homemakers (mainly wives) in the difficult position
of having their work assessed by their husbands, while in the case of
single homemakers it is not clear who would do the assessing. (The
idea of a Federal or other governmental regulatory agency inspecting
the home to assess women's housework must be dismissed without any
serious consideration at all, but income transfer payments to children
of homemakers might be reasonable). Fifth, wages for housework, derived from spouse payments, overlook the contribution women make
to the society ( e.g., by training children to be good citizens), and
assume that women's work in the home is only beneficial to their own
families. Finally, payment for housework does not address itself to
the basic reason why women with family responsibilities work: To
increase family income over that which the employed husband/father
makes. Also, single women with family responsibilities work because
they are the family breadwinner.
It may seem puzzling that the honrs of women's home activities have
not d~clined because of the availability of many appliances (washing
machmes, gas and electric ranges, blenders, etc.) and convenience
products (prepared soaps; frozen foods, mixes, dried foods, etc.) 88 The
truth is that appliances tend to be energy saving rather than time saving and the convenience of appliances has encouraged a rise in the
standards of housekeeping. Hence, women today spend more time than
their grandmothers doing laundry, since family members demand
more frequent changes of clothing today than in earlier generations. Husbands and children expect more varied meals. Advertising
encourages women to devote an inordinate amount of time and money
to waxing floors, creating rooms free of "odor-causing" germs and
seeking to meet other extraordinary standards of cleanliness. Furthermore, the inf'reasing concern with good nutrition, in the face of thA
,exposure of dangerous additives in some commercially prepared food,
Oakley, op. cit. Berk, Berk, and Berheide, op. cit.
31 Reuben Gronau, "The Measurement of the Output of the Nonmarket Sector: The
Evaluation of Housewives' Time," The Measurement of Economic and Social Performance
(New York: National Bureau of Economic Research, 1973).
32 Walker and Gauger, op. cit.
33 William D. Andrews and Deborah C. Andrews, "Technology and the House.wife in 19th
Century America," Women's Studies, vol. 2, No. 3 (1974),
R. S. Cowan, "Two Washes in the Morning and a Bridge Party at Night: The American
Housewife Bet.ween the Wars," Women's Studies, vol. 3, No. 2 (1976).
Federal Reserve Bank of St. Louis

and in the face of "junk" food, means many homemakers are .now
spending more time preparing foods which are not available in the
marketplace, or which are only available at great costs.
Housework is further complicated by the assumption made by businesses, schools, stores, etc. that there is a full-time housewife in each
home. This obviously is incompatible with the statistics quoted above
that show one-half of all wives with employed husbands and most
women who head families are in the labor force. Stores, home delivery
services, repair services, schools, legal services, "after-school activities
for children" and the like are available mainly from 9 a.m. to 5 p.m.
These hours are, of course, exactly the hours employed women with
·family responsibilities work. 34 Staggering the hours of the availability of goods and services is not necessarily a solution, because of the
strncture of tlwse industries. Since women dominate in the retail and
service trades, the burden of working evenings or weekends ironically
falls most heavily on the very group which is in the greatest need of



The world-famous French sociologist, Professor Joffre Dumazedier,
observed: "In history the right to leisure has been defined in relation
to the right to work and has been claimed by men." 35 By "work,"
Dumazedier was referring to paid employment in the labor force,
something which not all women have, of course, and which may be
part time or intermittent for many who do. Hence, women may be denied vacations because the:v fail to meet certain criteria for receiving
paid vacations, as established by their employers. It is indeed easy to
define leisure so that women are seen as having lots of it (whether they
are employed in part-time or full-time work). This is done simply by
defining leisure as all time not spent in paid employment. But we must
consider leisure more realistically, and in less narrow economic terms.
It is the pursuit of an activity :for its own sake and for enjoyment.
Leisure should also be refreshing to the person. The result of leisure is
that people feel rejuvenated, invigorated and alive.
I.Rt us examine the availability of leisure-time available for the
fulfillment of well-being-for the average employed wife/mother.
First, the average paid workweek for the employed women in the
United States is around 40 hours. Equally important, women work
long hours in the home. Despite the labor saving devices, working
hours of the employed American housewife have not decreased in the
last 50 or so years because of the changes in standards and consumption.36 Thus, one can conclude that women have little opportunity for
leisure, a component that should be an important facet in every individual's life.



Uost of the residential housing in the United States has been designed and located on the assumption that the woman is a full-time
homemaker who cares for the basic needs of other family members.
84 Viola Klein, "Synchronization and harmonization of working hours with the openings
and closings of social services, administrative otdces, and so forth" Women Workers
(Paris: OECD, 1965).
35 Joll're Dumazedler, "Sociology of Leisure" (.Amsterdam· Elsevier 1974) p 29
•• Jiri Zuzanek, ;•society of Leisure or the Harried Leisure Class? Le!su're Tr1>nds In
Industrial Society,' Journal of Leisure Research, vol. 16, No. 4 (fall 1974), pp. 299-301.
Federal Reserve Bank of St. Louis

Supposedly, her husband also is available to help with heavier chores,
make minor repairs and care for any outdoor areas. The exceptions
to this set of assumptions about house care are the homes of the rich
which provide living quarters for servants; special housing for particular groups such as "singles" complexes, which include a manager;
housing for the elderly or handicapped which may be designed to meet
their special needs.
Most of the designers and builders of housing and communities have
generally failed to rethink housing and community living in recognition of the high percentages of all women who are in the labor force.
Housing could and should be designed so as to fulfill the changing
needs of women and their families, regardless of role changes throughout life. 37 As the U.S. Department of Commerce report indicates:
• )Iillions of homes are considered substandard where it is necessary for a mother to cope with inadequate cooking facilities, heat,
sleeping quarters, as ,vell as inadequate space where the family can
spend time together.
• :.-\Iillions of homes are overcrowded: putting a.dditional psychological pressure on family members, and forcing children into the
streets for minimal individual freedom and for enjoyment of their
peers' company.
• Millions of residents cannot easily find necessary services in their
immediate neighborhoods; medical services, quality affordable goods,
wholesome recreational facilities are unavailable.
• Child care services and other activities relating to training
and recreation for children are not available in the immediate
neighborhood. 38




A. Principles
Legislation designed to support the family should embody the following considerations. Such legislation should provide family members with support systems-services, facilities-which will help develop healthy, independent, active children, promote the fulfillment
of adults, and aid employed women and men in their desire to supervise and guide the training of the moral, intellectual, physical, and
e1;:notional development of their children. Since the primary responsibiiity for adequ~te ~amily life has resided traditionally with the
wife/mother, legislation must focus on the employed women with
family responsibilities. Ho,vever, the programs suggested are compatible with (a) supporting the involvement of fathers with their
children; and (b) promoting an expanded relationship between
fathers and their children. Furthermore, it is necessary to recognize
that the identical services and facilities are needed~ regardless of the
empl~yment status of women with family responsibilities.
Children are a special concern: Legislation is needed to provide
services and facilities that would support children livino· with their
own families until the completion of high school or comp~rable training, or a lesser age if that is preferable to the families concerned.
37 Dolores Hayden and Gwendolyn Wright, "Architecture and Urban Planning," Signs:
Journal of Women in Culture and Society, vol. 1, No. 4 (summer 1976), p. 930.
38 "~ial'ital Status and Living Arrangements."
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Local contro1 by parents and children, as well as the cooperation
of the providers of the services and facilities, should be a central provision of the programs recommended. Methods of financing should
include the extension of the principle of revenue sharing to local
neighborhood bodies. Organizational structure should supr.ort client
control of services, including work-based control of family-related
w·omen head of households have a special problem, since full employment may mean that burdens fall unduly on poor women who
head families. As the sole adult in the family, these women may need
support to participate in the labor force on a flexible basis, including
support when they are out of the labor force for long periods, without sacrificing the benefits of full-time employment.

B. Family Support Systems
In recognition of the extent of single-family household heads, the
extent to which "adult children" with dependent children return to
their own parental households, and in recognition of cooperative living
units shared by more than one family, the family is here considered
to be a more or less permanent household which has the responsibility
of daily living.

Pi. Ohild care facilities.-Federally supported child care facilities
should be established to provide 24-hour care, available when needed,
for children from the age of 1 year to the age of 14 or 15. There should
be support for different types of such organizations. For example,
older boys as well as girls might be involved in caring for younger
children in some centers. This could contribute to increasing the ability of men in the coming generation to feel at ease in caring for and
being close to children. Some centers might use older retired people
as part of the staff or involve parents on a cooperative basis. All of
these methods have been tried in previous programs, such as Head
Start. Child care experts, who have knowledge of this experience,
would be used as consultants and staff, but the planning and on-going
control would be in the hands of the clients/parents. The centers would
be open to people of all economic levels and to nonworking as well
as working mothers.
Child care centers can be located either in the community or at
the place of work. The size of the community, the distance of the
usual trip to work, as well as the length of the working day, may have
a bearing on the decision about location. For example, work-loc9.ted
child care centers have some advantage for parents and children if
job requirements are flexible enough so that parents and children can
visit during the working day.
b. Neighborhood service houses: Neighbors in Community Helping
Environments (NJOHE) .-Because of their working hours, employed
women are often unable to carry on responsibilities of homemaking
and child care easily at levels which insure ample guidance to children. This is especially true for women who earn low wages for they
are especially unable to purchase services in the marketplace to substitute for their labor in the home. We urge the establishment of fed
Federal Reserve Bank of St. Louis

era.Uy. funded nei~hborhoo~. houses, which are rooted in the longestal:ib:shed American trad1t10n of settlement houses. The NICHE
program would establish a house in the neighborhood which would
provide the following services. The services would be especially in
support of employed heads of families, but available to others in the
neighborhood, too, in order to encourage the reactivation of the American tradition of local barter and neighborly service and concern :
1. The supervision of play and homework activities of children under 15 years of age;
2. House visitors who would be able, on a visiting basis, to supervise childre~ under 11 years, and who might be available by
telephone to children between 11 and 14 years who cannot attend
school because of minor illness;
3. Clinic beds for the day for children who have an illness which
precludes school attendance but is not so severe as to preclude
travel to the clinic;
4. Transportation of children to needed medical and dental
services, as selected by parents, for a regular program of preventive medical care;
5. House visitors who would be available to facilitate access
to private homes by repair service people, delivery persons, etc ..;
6. Neighborhood meeting places where the distribution of tools
and bartering of services among neighbors could take place;
7. Distribution points for hot, prepared nutritious meals for
families to take home to eat in the privacy of the family dining
8. Other neighborhood-based services, such as may be provided
by an auxiliary Women's Center and Men's Resource Center which
would provide support for women and men facing personal
traumas, such as rape, battm-ing, abuse, or job-connected race,
sex, or ethnic discrimination, and other problems that now
threaten the American family.
c. Women's Oenters.-Federally financed women's resource centers
would provide women reentering the labor force with counseling related to labor force participation as it affects family life; they would
also provide women with vocational counseling, including the selection of appropriate programs for retraining. Since many women enter
the labor force because of severe family distress ( e.g., child abuse,
divorce) which requires that they become breadwinners, the center
would also provide psychological support of an informal nature, as
well as referral service to an appropriate professional agency.
d. Holiday Camps and Weekly Leisure.-To meet the basic human
needs for leisure, we recommend the development of federally funded
holiday camps for employed mothers. This is based on the Ameri<>an
fondness for family camping by more affluent families; the success of
organized family camp retreats, as sponsored by sectarian organizations; and the long established federally supported system of family
holiday camps in Norway. Low cost family camµing as sponsored by
the YWCA. Pasadena, Calif., and the YWCA, Portland, Oreg., could
serve as models.
Facilities should be available in these holiday camps for (a) the
supervision of children; (b) the purchase of low-cost, nutritionally
sound meals so that women may enjoy actual relief from the year
Federal Reserve Bank of St. Louis

round jobs connected with family responsibilities. To meet the basic
human need for regular leisure, we further recommend the provision
of low cost or free child care su:{>ervision during the work week and
on weekends. Neighborhood visitors and/or persons involved in a
family support system would provide supervised activities during the
weekly or yearly periods in order to free parents from worry about
their children. ( See section on Neighborhood Service Houses.)

a. Structure of W ork.-Men, women and children in the families of
fulltime workers have traditionally had to accommodate their personal human needs to the routine of jobs. Terms of employment have
not been adequately responsive to the requisites for a humane social
and family life. We urge the adjustment of national standards to
shorten the hours of the work week (which have been constant for
over 50 years) while maintaining the existing standard of living;
to increase the numbers of jobs at every rank in the occupational
structure; to improve the earning capacity of jobs at the lower income levels; and to institute flexi-time in hours of work and leave
time. The following provisions are intended to support additional
hiring and further the goal of full employment.
Changes in work hours and leave should include the following practices to take into account the necessity for workers to carry on a meaningful home life and ensure their social well-being:
1. Mandatory overtime limits should be established.
2. Flexible work hours should be instituted to allow individuals
to reach an accommodation between the demands of work and the
demands of home.
3. Routine provision of "personal leave" time for both women
and men should be established to meet family and personal
4. Paternity as well as maternity leave should be instituted
to insure the opportunity for both parents-father as well as
the mother-to be involved in care during the first year of a
child's life.
5. The status and earning capacity of part-time work should be
improved to allow people to pursue a meaningful personal and
family life and to allow participation by both parents in the
care of children. Workers in part-time jobs would receive fullbenefit medical and dental care, and other normal fringe benefits
such as vacation and pension rights. Income incentives should be
provided for shared jobs. Hourly wage rates for part-time work
should be raised substantially to reflect the fact that part-time
workers are highly productive and are often expected to work
with more intensity than full-time counterparts.
6. Career level positions with job security and pensions should
be available for part-time workers. Tax advantages associated
with full-time work should also be afforded to part-time work.
b. O()1'1,tent of Work.-Under conditions of scarcity of paid employment, women and men have seldom been free of discrimination
and economic pressures in their choice of work. Single parents and
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poor people with family responsibilities may, understandably, be reluctant to give up the semiskilled and autonomous work of home and
family :for unskilled, subordinate and inadequately paid work in the
market. A Federal guarantee of the option to engage in useful work
should reflect the fact that employed people require meaningful work.
We recommend that Federal policies endorse a shift in work roles
which encourage:
1. An assessment of the goal of constantly expanding the production of goods in the face of the growing awareness of the shortage
of materials, and the recognition that material goods alone do not
meet the human right to the pursuit of life, liberty and happiness;
2. Worker participation in planning;
3. Continual learning of new aspects of production of goods,
and the delivery of goods and services by workers. This is to insure a
means by which employees can represent themselves as consumers as
well as producers at the workplace, and increase employee participation in decisionmaking on the job. Such matters as hours, distribution
of tasks, internal leadership, recruitment, and methods of production
and service have been found to be adaptable to employee
c. Sew Equality in Employment.-We urge expansion of agencies
to enforce equal pay policies and other practices which would end
sex discrimination and sexual harassment. Eliminating scarcity of
employment throughout the occupational structure is essential in order to overcome the seg,regation of women in low-skilled, low-paid jobs.
·women require financial and family support networks if they are
to be free to pursue education and training which would improve
their employment opportunities; particularly important is Federal
financing of education, which would provide women with support
for everyday living and free child care.

(a) A Family training bill should be formulated, providing for a
variety of educational mPasnres to promote sex equality in chi1d care
and home maintenance. This conld include a home training corps, in
which all able-bodied youth would serve for 6 months between the
ages of 15 and 19. They would have supervised participation in activities related to the support of the family in American society;
work as aides in child care centers and as assistants in neighborhood
service houses, where they conld serve as parent surrogates and also
gain experience in household tasks. Programs could also be funded
m the schools to break down the age segregation which separates older
from younger children. Involvement of older children in the care and
teaching of younger children would help them learn how to be parents.
There should be increased efforts to alter sex role stereotypes presented in the mass media with the objective of developing an image
of masculinity which includes the nurturing father. These efforts
should include increased federal funding to monitor the media for
sexist stereotypes, tax incentives and subsidies to encourage nonsexist
program content and advertising, and funding for research on the
social effects of sex role stereotyping in the media.
Federal Reserve Bank of St. Louis


We recommend a housing policy, supported by Federal subsidy and
encouraged by tax incentives, which would have as a primary goal
the support of the family and the provision of a sound community for
the strengthening of the family. Housing should maximize the basic
family functions, including family shared activities. Neighborhood
settings should recognize the combined employment and family responsibilities of both sexes by providing facilities and services necessary for fulfilling work and family roles.
(a) Establish a National Commission on Family-Supportive Housing and Community Design, instructed to assess housing, household
equipment and community design as related to the participation by
all family members in the daily maintenance of the household; the
minimization of energy and goods for household maintenance; and
the maximization of community cooperation.
( b) Establish local community design groups composed of employed
mothers, feminist-informed designers and architects and local builders to develop designs appropriate for the cultural needs of local
groups, according to living patterns of ethnic, minority, and singleparent family lifestyles, among others.
( o) Establish a federally subsidized program of tax incentives for
the renovation of existing facilities and the building of new facilities
which would meet the standards established by a National Commission on Family-Supportive Housing and Community Design.
Housing would be developed (renovated, and newly built) which
would recognize the responsibilities of the employed wife/mother
by emphasizing design to maximize the participation of all family
members in housework, including meal preparation, housecleaning,
laundry, as well as leisure time activities, by making spaces large
enough for joint activities; to minimize upkeep by such means as
finishing surfaces, traffic patterns, storage facilities, et cetera; to
maximize child-parent interaction by designing spaces which include
flex-equipment ( for example, equipment accessible to children) and
to allow the inclusion of children in ongoing activities (for example,
space for cribs in kitchens), quiet-work and play space for children
as well as adults; flexible apartment units, as tried in Sweden, which
allow the family to change room size to adapt to the life cycle changes
of family members.
Community organization would be developed which would recognize
the responsibilities of combining employment, mothering and housewifery by emphasizing design; to provide space for child care within
a short and safe walking distance; to provide space for neighborhood service houses; to provide mass transportation through the
enlargement of existing systems and the development of small scale
buses and mini buses.

. Support for the working homemaker by the provision of nutrit10nally adequate and appetizing food for the family could be achieved
1. _Increased attention by the Fo?d and Drug Administration to the
quality of food commercially available so that the homemaker will
Federal Reserve Bank of St. Louis

not be forced to return to old methods of growing and preparing food
in order to ensure proper nutrition for the family.
2. The provision of well-prepared, low-cost meals at convenient
locations for families of working women. Ready-to-eat meals could
be available at child care centers and at neighborhood service houses
to be picked up and taken home at the end of the working day. Experience in providing such meals at child care centers in the Kaiser
shipyards during World War II indicates that such services are
feasible and would be utilized.

Alternative ways of providing household services for working
mothers, particularly single parents, should be tried and evaluated.
Some services, such as laundry, might be recommercialized. Many services could be provided at low cost through the neighborhood service
houses. For example, members of a Home Training Corps could do
laundry, heavy cleaning and minor repairs. The neighborhood service house could develop equipment coops which would purchase large
tools, such as lawn mowers and washing machines. This would have
obvious conservation advantages. The neighborhood house could also
serve as a center for the exchange of services. For example, repair
of a leaking faucet might be exchanged for mending. Staff of the
neighborhood service house would have the responsibility of facilitating the development of cooperation, wherever possible.



We urge the redevelopment of the human service programs which
were developed in the 1960's and dismantled in subsequent administrations, for example, the expansion of Headstart programs; a reconsideration of the Child and Family Service Act of 1974; the restoration of a full lunch program for school children; et cetera.
Priorities in the development of family programs should be directed
to low-income families and women heads of families who may, without
support, experience more than their share of long-continuing social
problems. However, except for the top income group of 10 to 15 percent of families, most Americans could benefit from all the systems.
We are fully aware of the enormous cost in tax dollars of the implementation of even a beginning of a family support system. However, the human costs-to women, to men, and especially to childrenof failing to take seriously the alleged American belief in the family
as a sacred and basic unit in society is far greater. Without a financial
commitment by the Nation to the well-being of families, we can expect further marital problems and an increased unwillingness to marry
and have children-trends already appearing among very young
adults. We can expect increased problems among children, including
drug and alcohol abuse, and further deterioration of American cities.
The ~meric~n family is still COJ.l.sidered the basic unit in society,
responsible ultimately for all that 1s good, as well as all that is bad.
We have continued unwillingly, however, to support the American
family with little beyond pious platitudes. We are left with a question whose answer implies our moral bankruptcy: Why are we willing
to spend tax dollars to prevent large multinational corporations from
going under financially, but are unwilling to spend tax dollars to prevent the American family from going under, morally and physically?
Federal Reserve Bank of St. Louis




I. Existing
formal extrafamily child-care arrangements: Cost, utilization,
and (dis)satisfaction ________________________________________ _



A. Cost _________________________________________________ _
B. Utilization ________________________________ -----------C. Level of satisfaction with existing arrangements ___________ _
The case for subsidization of formal extrafamily child care _________ _
A community based satellite child care system ____________________ _
Financing, ownership, and control_ ______________________________ _
Conclusion ___________________________________________________ _



The substantial and relatively steady increase in the labor force
force participation of mothers in the post World War II period has
been one of the most far-reaching economic and social developments
in recent years. In 1976, 46.1 percent of all children under the age of
18 and 37.4 percent of children under the age 6 had mothers who were
working or seeking work. 1
Traditionally the raising of children has been the job of women,
particularly mothers, but also other female relatives. However, as more
and more women, including mothers, have chosen to enter paid employment outside the home, the provision of extrafamily child care
services has become an important national issue. This paper evaluates
existing formal extrafamily child care arrangements, presents the economic arguments for Government subsidization of child care, describes
a community-based satellite model of child care delivery and raises
several issues with respect to the financing, ownership, and control of
child care systems. 2




The discussion presented in this paper focuses on formal extrafamily child care, that is, those child care arrangements which take
place in a child care center or in a family day care home. Foster homes,
nnrsery schools and other schools open for only part of the day- or year
are not part of the formal care considered here. Moreover, mformal
care~ that is, care which takes place in the home of a child's relative,
*Assistant professor of economics, Graduate School of Business, Stanford University, Palo
Alto, Callf.
1 tT.S. Department of Labor, Bureau of Labor Statistics, Washington, D.C., unpublished
data for 1976.
2 Sev.-ral of the ideas presented in this paper may also be found in Myra H. Strober,
"Formal Extrafam!ly Child Care-Some Economic Observations," in Cynthia Lloyd (editor), "Sex, Discrimination and the Division of Labor" (New York: Columbia University
Press, 1975), pp, 346-375.
Federal Reserve Bank of St. Louis


or inside the child's own home by a relative, nurse or housekeeper
is also excluded from our discussion. We shall first examine the cost of
extrafamily child care, then go on to look at the demand for these
arrangements and finally assess the satisfaction, or lack thereof, with
the current child care system.

A. Cost
Extrafamily child care services are expensive. These services generally operate about 2,000 to 2,500 hours per year (8 to 10 hours per
day, 5 days per week, 50 weeks per year). They typically require
rather high staff/child ratios and often necessitate costly support services. The full cost of formal extra family day care depends upon the
staff/child ratio, the education levels (and hence the salaries) of the
staff, the range of support services (that is, transportation, parent
counseling), the quantity and quality of food provided, the quantity
.and quality of plant and equipment, and whether or not the center is
designed to yield a profit. The cost to parents depends npon all of these
factors, as well as the extent to which the care is subsidized by the
care-givers, community, agencies, the Government and/or the parents'
own labor.
Studies for the 1968-71 period on the full cost of child care for
ehildren age 3 to 6 estimated a range of $1,300 to $2,400 for the average
annual cost per child for full time care (8½ hours per day, 250 days
per year). 3 I recently obtained a rough indication of the current cost
.of high quality non-profit child care from the Child Care Mobilizer
at -Palo Alto Child Care (PACC). As of October 1976, in Palo Alto,
Calif., full-time, full-year center care for infants and young toddlers
(9 months to 3 years) costs approximately $3,600 per year per child.
This involves a staff/child ratio of 1 :4. Full-time, full-year care in a
licensed family day care home may be obtained for about $2,500 per
year. Such a home generally has a 1 :5 staff/child ratio with no more
than two of the children being under the age of 2. Full-time full-year
center care for 3- to 6-year-olds, utilizes a 1 :6 or 1 :7 staff/child ratio
and also costs about $2,500 per year per child. Finally, the average
annual cost per child for after school care plus full-time holiday and
yacation care is $1,500. This type of care employs a 1 :8 staff/child
lianv parents purchase less expensive and presumably lower-quality
care. The National Council of Jewish Women Study (also known as
the Keyserling Study) found that in 1972 the average annual fee in
proprietary centers was about $960 per child, in family day care homes
about $860 per child. 4 The California Legislative Analysts' office found
that in 1974 the average annual cost of 2,500 hours of care for a 3- to
'6-year-old in a nonsubsidized center or family day care home was
tipproximately $1,300.~
s See U.S. Department of Health, Education, and Welfare, Children's Bureau, and Day
Care and Child Development Council of America (CB-DCCDC), "Standnrds and Costs for
Day Care," unpublished study (Washington, D.C., 1968), as quoted in ::\Iary P. Rowe,
"Economics of Child Care." in U.S. Congress, Senate, Committee on Finance, "Child Care,"
henrln~s on S. 2003, chlld care provisions of R.R. 1, and title VI of printed amendment
318 to R.R. 1, 92d Cong., 1st sess., Sept. 22, 23, and 24, 1971, p. 280; Abt Associates, Inc.,
'"A Study in Child Care, 1970-71" (Cambridge, Mass., 1971) ; and budget of National
Capital Area Day Care Association, Inc. (Washington. n.c., August 1968), cited in Gilbert
Y. Steiner, "The State of Welfare" (Washington, D.C .. 1971).
• :Mary D. Keyserling, "Windows on Day Care" (New York; National Council of Jewish
Women. 1972), pp. 3, 142.
a California Legislative Analyst's Office, "Publicly Subsidized Child Care Services in
California" (Sacramento, August 1974), pp.113-117, 123-125.
Federal Reserve Bank of St. Louis

B. Utilization
Most working mothers do not utilize formal child care at all.
Data for 1971 from the National Longitudinal Survey (NLS) of
women 30-44 years of age are presented in table 1.8 They md1cate that
about 56 percent of the preschool children of working mothers were
cared for in the child's own home; 18 percent in another person's
home; 9 percent in group day care; 7 percent by their own mothers,
3 percent by the child him or herself and 7 percent by "other" arrangements. Group day care in a home or center and family day care in a
nonrelative's home provided 22 percent of the total child care arrangements for preschool children. The percentage of working mothers
utilizing formal care for their preschool children appears to have ,remained the same over the 1965-71 period. However, the mix of formal
care changed as the percentage using family day care homes dropped
by about 3 percentage points, while the percentage using center care increased by 3 percentage points. Given the differences between the 1965
and 1971 samples, it is difficult to assess the significance of these
changes. 7
Age of youngest child
Child care arrangement
Tota percent_ __________________________________________________________

Less than 6




Child cares for self_ ____________________________________________________________ _



Care in own home. _____________________________________________________________ _

By relative (including father)_-----------------------------------------------G~ ~~~)~1!lvned nonrelative___ _______________________________________________ _

Care in another person's home ________________________________________________________
18 _


By relative ________________________________________________________________ _
By nonrelative _____________________________________________________________ _







Group day care home or center __________________________________________________ _
Mother cares for child at work. __________________________________________________ _
Mother cares for child after school_ ______________________________________________ _
Other_________________________________________________________________________ _





Source: Based on table 4.1 in Carol L. Jusenius and Richard L. Shortlidge, Jr., "Du3I Careers: A Longitudinal Studv of
Labor Market Experience of Women," vol. Ill. (Center for Human Resource Research, Ohio State University, February 1975),
p. 82.

Among- working mothers' children age 6 to 13, 43 percent were cared
for in their own home, 21 percent cared for themselves, 18 percent were
cared for by their mothers either at work or at home, 10 percent in
• Richard L. Shortlidge, Jr., "Changes in Child Care Arrangements of Working Women
Between 1065 and 1971," in Carol L. Jusenius and Richard L. Shortlidge, Jr., "Dual
Careers: A Longitudinal Study of Labor Market Experience of Women," vol. III (CentPr
for Human Resource Research, Ohio State University, February 1975,), table 4.1, p, 82.
Additional analysis of the 1971 National Longitudinal Survey data will be forthcoming in
Rl~hard L, Shortlidge and Patricia Brito, "How Working Mothers Care for Their Chil,lren :
A StlHlY of Child Care Arrangements, Costs, and Preferences" ·(Center for Human Resource
Research, Ohio State University).
7 The 1965 estimates may not be directly comparable to those for 1971. The 196fi data
were obtained from a questionnaire added to the Current Population SurvPy (CPR) for
February 1965. The median age of the women in the 1965 CPS sample was 36 as compared
with 40 in the 1971 NLS sample. In addition, the 1971 data were coll~ct!'d in early summer
while the 1965 data were collected in midwinter. For an analysis of the 1965 survey see
Rnth Low and Pearl G. Spindler, "Chlld Care Arrangements of Working Mothers in the
United States" (Washington, D.C.: Government Printing Office, 1968).
Federal Reserve Bank of St. Louis

another person's home, and 2 percent in a group day care home or
center. Only 8 percent of school-age children were in a formal extrafamily day care setting. This 8 percent represents a slight increase over
the 1965 figure of 5.5 percent.
The 1970 Westinghouse day care survey examined the child care
arrangements of families with annual incomes of less than $8,000 and
at least one child age 9 or under. 8 This survey revealed that about 10.5
percent of lower-income working mothers used child care centers and
about 19 percent used family day care homes for their preschool children, while 50 percent used care in their own homes. Compared with
the mothers of preschool children in all income groups in the 1971 NLS
study, a higher percentage of the mothers of preschool children in the
estinghouse sample used family day care homes and child care centers, while a lower percentage used care in their own homes. Among
the mothers of school-age children (6 to 14) in the ·westinghouse
lower income group, about 5.5 percent used formal child care. This
figure was about 2.5 percentage points lower than the 1971 NLS figure
for similar age children.


0. Le'l)el of Satisfaction With Existing Arrangements
Two questions arise with respect to the level of satisfaction with
existing child care arrangements. First, are parents satisfied i Second,
is society as a whole satisfied?
There are several pieces of evidence concerning parent dissatisfaction. First, it is clear that additional working parents wish to purchase
formal child care. It is also evident that many are unable to purchase
the kind of care they desire. When ·westinghouse surveyed existing
-child care facilities, they found about 124,000 children on center waiting lists-an estimated 16 percent of total enrollment.9 The Westinghouse survey also reported that 63 percent of working mothers desired
a change in the child-care arrangements of their preschool children;
.of those who desired a change, 60 percent wished to move to formal
daycare. 10
The 1971 NLS study probed the latent demand for child care
centers somewhat more precisely, by specifying a price for such
care. NLS asked working mothers if they would be willing to use a
day care center if it were available to them at a cost no greater than
their current arrangement. Twenty-three percent of white women in
the labor force with preschool children and 39 percent of such black
women answered affirmatively. Yet only 9 percent of white working
mothers and 12 percent of black working mothers were in £act using
-child care centers. 11
Moreover, when Westinghouse asked working mothers with family
incomes under $8,000 per year what they would be willing to pay for
the child care arrangements of their choice, 16 percent indicated that
1:hey could pay nothing. Of those who could pay something toward
• Westinghouse Learnlng Corp. and Westat Research, Inc., "Day Care Survey, 1970: Summary Report and Basic Analysis," prepared for Evaluation Division, Office of Economic
Opportunity (Washington, D.C., 1971), pp. 175-180.
• Ibid., p. 25. However, there were also 63,000 unfilled spaces available, indicating that
"t;vp<> of product," including location and price, are important to potential users.
10 Ibid .. p. 163.
11 See Sbortlidge, op. cit., p. 82.
Federal Reserve Bank of St. Louis

child care, $520 was the median annual fee which working mothers
said they were willing to pay for the kind of child care they desired. 12
Mary Rowe's study, which includes higher-income families, suggests
that less than 5 percent of families would pay more than about $1,000
per year per child for child care services. 13
There is also evidence of dissatisfaction with existing child care on
the part of some nonworking mothers who find the absence of "affordable," reliable child care a significant barrier to their seeking work.
However, the latent demand for child care among these mothers is
extremely difficult to estimate. vVhen center operators were asked by
Westinghouse about the need for child care in their communities: 45
percent saw a need for care on the part of working mothers, and
significantly, 34 percent perceived additional need on the part of nonworking mothers. 14 How·ever, when nonworking mothers themselves
are asked about the importance of child care as an impediment to their
working, interpretation of their answers is difficult; some women who
say they are out of the labor force for child care-related reasons may
also be out because of their preference to remain at home. In the ,vestinghouse survey, day care problems constituted 18 percent of the
reasons given for not working. 15 A high percentage of AFDC (Aid
to Families with Dependent Children) mothers indicated that child
care was a barrier to work. For example, a six-State study done in Uln9
reported that 52 to 63 percent of nonemployed AFDC women indicated that they would like to work in a steady job, provided adequate
child care were available. 16 A recent study by Jack Ditmore and Wil~
liam Prosser estimates that the provision of free adequate day care
services would probably raise the labor for~e participation rate of
low income women by about 10 percentage pomts-32 to 42 percent. 11
The smallness of this response is due to several factors: (1) the preference of some lower income ·women to remain at home even when good,.
free care is available; (2) the fact that for many of these women
inadequate child care is only one of many job-related probleme; and
(3) the fact that even when child care is free, some AFDC recipients
cannot earn enough to compensate for the combined loss of their AFDC
grant, food stamps and medicaid.
Given the cost figures discussed earlier it is clear that many families
find it impossible to translate their desire for formal child care services into effective demand for those services. Although the majority of
working mothers prefer noncenter care for their pre-school children,.
a substantial latent demand for center care exists. The price at which
such a demand would become manifest is unclear. However, it should
be pointed out that many of those who indicated a desire to use day'
care centers at a price no greater than that of their current arrange-·
ment were, in fact, paying a zero price for child care.
12 Westinghouse and Westat, op. cit., p. 206.
,... Rowe, op. cit., p. 270.
14 Westinghouse and Westat, op. cit., p, 203.
13 Ibid,, p. XVI. For this lnterpret1ttlon of the Westini?honse data, I am ini!ehted to·
Vivian Lewis, "Day Care: Needs, Costs, Benefits, Alternatives," Studies in Publi<' Welfare,
Paper No. 7: Issues in the Coordination of Public Welfare Programs, prepared for theuse of the U.S. Congress, Subcommittee on Fiscal Policy of the Joint Economic Committee,
93d Cong., 1st sess., July 1973, pp. 102-165.
16 Betty Burnside, "The Employment Potential of AFDC Mothers in Six States," Welfarein Review (July/ August 1971), p, 18. The States included were California, Maine, Maryland, Minnesota, New York, and Oklahoma.
17 Jack Ditmore and W. R. Prosser, "A Study of Day Care's Elfect on the Labor ForceParticipation of Low-Income Mothers" (Washington, D.C. : Evaluation Division, Office of
Planning, Research, and Evaluation, Office of Economic Opportunity, June 1973), pp. 43-44,
Federal Reserve Bank of St. Louis

The issue of societal satisfaction with existing arrangements is even
more complicated to assess. Clearly, the intersection of supply and
demand in the formal child care market leaves many families unable
to satisfy their desire to purchase formal child care. Private industry
is unable to increase the supply of child care center slots because, given
the price which families are willing to pay for child care services, private firms cannot profitably run centers of reasonable quality, except
for high income users.18 To the extent that we regard formal child care
as importiant, necessary and/or desirable, we should be concerned
about most families' inability to purchase such care. To the extent
that formal child care provides significant externalities, we should be
concerned with the private sectors' underproduction of these services.
It is my view that there are powerful arguments in favor of partially
subsidizing form·al child care services, thus increasing their production and utilization and insuring their equitable distribution.



There are two major arguments in favor of government subsidization of extra-family child care.-the equity argument and the externality argument.
The equity argument is that, in the interest of achieving a more·
equitable distribution of goods and services, there should be a redistribution of income toward certain groups. Subsidized child care
would provide additional income or services to children of eligible·
mothers, to •the mothers themselves and to potential employees of child
care systems. If the level of subsidization were negatively related to•
family income, then lower income children and mothers would benefit
to a gre•ater degree than others.
The externality argument is that where private benefits •are Jess than
social benefits, private production is likely to be too small; Government should, therefore, encourage increased output until marginal
social cost is equal to marginal social benefit. There are several important external benefits associated with expenditures on child care.
First, child care centers would yield external benefits by reducing
parent absenteeism at work. At the present time, unreliable child care
or unavailable sick child care is often responsible for parent absenteeism.
Second, any educational program produces external benefits and
quality child care is no exception. Society would reap considerable
returns from the early detection of children's mental and physical difficulties, from young children's exposure to alternative forms of information and a wider scope of experiences and from a child's early
opportunity to enhance his or her self-confidence and self-esteem.
should consider carefully the possible social problems and hazards to
future generations of citizens if adequate child care is not provided
to youngsters.


18 For a discussion of the difficulties which proprietary operators encounter, see Joann
S. Lublin, "Growing Pains," Wall Street Journal, Nov. 27, 1972; and "Where Day Care
Helps To Sell Apartments," Business Week (Sept. 30, 1972), pp. 60-61; "Dilemma for-Working Mothers: Not Enough Day-Care Centers," U.S. News & World Report (Apr. 12,
1976), pp. 49-50.
Federal Reserve Bank of St. Louis

Third, two kinds of external benefits 'are likely to ensue when women
can choose to make market work a permanent feature of their adult
lives. Higher !"ates of labor force participation by women would probably discourage procreation, thus increasing utility for all who find
themselves already too crowded or fear excess population in the future.
It is likely that women who are committed to labor force participation
will develop tastes for "satisfactions" other than children. In addition,
assuming that most women regard a certain amount of their own time
as an essential, unsubstitutable input in the raising of children, the
fewer hours ·a woman has available for her children ( due to market
work), the less likely she probably will be to dilute her quality of input by having additional children.19
Moreover, as women realize that it is feasible to combine family
life with an uninterrupted worklife, they will plan more adequately
for their jobs and careers. Work is already a substantial part of
women's lives, but because the child rearing ye1ars frequently require
an interruption of market work, women often make inadequate educational investments in themselves. A visible system of high quality
extra-family child care would make it possible for women to invest
more realistically in their own education and training and would thus
allow society to employ its human resources more effectively. If the
Congress wishes to guarantee full employment, this efficient utilization of women's talents becomes particularly important.
Also important in a context of full employment are several external
employment and training benefits to be derived from government expenditures on formal extra-family child care. Since approximately 80
percent of child care budgets are for staff salaries, Federal expenditures on child are, for the most part, employment creating. Moreover, many of the kinds of jobs to be filled at child care centers are of
a paraprofessional nature, thus making possible the training and employment of precisely those groups, especiaUy teenagers, who currently have difficulty in finding meaningful jobs. The opportunity for
AFDC women to obtain training and employment as paraprofessional
child care workers might well assist in the alleviation of welfare dependency. Finally, because the labor market for child care workers is
relatively loose and rather competitive, expenditures on child care are
likely to provide employment without generating inflationary wage



If we accept the need for partial Government subsidization of child
care, we are then faced with several important questions: (1) What
kind of system should we design~ (2) How should the system be financed 1 and (3) How should ownership and control be determined i
An ideal system, given a particular price level, would conform as
much as possible to parents' desires. Given a particular quality level,
19 It is, of course, true that subsidizing child care wonld lower the price (in both money
and time) of raising children and that the substitution eff'ect of this price change would be
negative (that is, a fall in price would result In an increase in the purchase of child care
services). In addition. unless child services were an inferior good, the income efl'ect of
the price change would also operate toward Increasing the quantity purchased. But purchasing more child services as a result of the subsidization of child care centers does not
by any means imply increasing the number of children born.
Federal Reserve Bank of St. Louis

such a system would operate at the lowest possible cost. Finally, given
price and quality, an ideal child care system would maximize external
benefits. A satellite community system would fulfill these three criteria. Such a system is described in this section. In section IV, issues
of financing, ownership, and control ·are examined.
At the present time families who use formal day care utilize either
a family day care home or a child care center, but generally not both.
On the other hand, children of nonworking mothers, especially middle
class children, frequently spend part of their day in a nursery school
(which is of.ten similar to a developmental type child care center) and
part of their day in their own home with other young friends and siblings. The latter, of course, is quite simila.r to a family day care environment. The child care system proposed here would closely replicate
for the children of working mothers the system of care now operating
for the children of nonworking mothers. Thus, I would envision a
care system where children spend part of the day in a core child care
center and part of the day in a satellite family day care home,.
The core center would accommodate anywhere from 25 to 100 or so
children (not, however, all at one time) and would provide the major
"educational" component of the system. As portrayed in figure 1, a
network of satellite family day care homes would surround the center. Run by men and/or women family day care parents, these homes
would care for 4 or 5 children for part of each day. Parents would take
their children to a center in the morning, but pick them up in the afternoon or evening at a family day care home, or vice versa.
A community-based satellite system would provide care not only for
toddlers but also for infants and school children under age 14. Infants
could be cared for solely by family day care parents until such time as
they were old enough to benefit from educational and social interaction
at the core center. After school care for children 6 to 14 could also be
provided by family day care homes. Indeed, the system could be designed so that, if desired, school age children and their younger
siblings could be cared for after school in the same home. It would also
be possible for core centers to provide after school programs and/or·
for such programs to be provided at elementary schools. -in discussing
child care delivery, it is important not to neglect the importance of
adequate after school care for the school age children of working;
Federal Reserve Bank of St. Louis

Fi r.ure 1
A Corrmunity~Based Satellite Child•Care System

Day-Care Home
Family Home




~ ti

Family DaY-care Home

Family Day•Care Home

There are several advantages to combining family day care homes
with a core center. First, such a system could lower the overall cost of
child care. Each child would make less intensive use of the high cost
services of professionals at the core center. Moreover, if children did
not stay all day at a child care center, the staff/child ratios at the
center could probably be lower than those now mandated. Presumably,
nursery-school type ratios (for example, 1 :10) could be used in the
core center if some of the personal attention reguired by children came
from the family day-care home; the latter facility would have a high
adult child ratio (for example, 1 :4), even though not all of the children would be preschoolers. Additional savings could also be effected
Federal Reserve Bank of St. Louis

i~ child care centers di? not have to be equipped with nap rooms,
1ntchens, and cooks. Children could have lunch and take naps in the
:family day care home. While transportation between the core center
,and satellite home would have some positive costs associated with it,
these costs are likely to be offset by savings in personnel costs.
The second advantage of a community-based satellite child care
system is that such a system would upgrade the quality of family day
care homes and make it possible for family day care parents to develop
careers as paraprofessional ( or ultimately even professional) child
•care workers. 20 By developing specific ties between core centers and
:family day care homes, it becomes quite feasible for family day care
parents to receive training from the child care professionals at the
core center. Indeed, I would envision family day care parents actually
working at the core center for several hours each week. Moreover, a
supervisor from the center could periodically visit the center's satellite
family day care homes, thus providing family day care parents with
·assistance and evaluation.
Finally, a community-based satellite system could solve the problem
,of sick child care. One reason why parents are frequently reluctant to
rely on child care centers is because such centers seldom make arrangements for the care of sick children. When a child becomes ill, parents
are understandably unwilling to call upon an unknown adult, whose
qualifications they cannot assess, to care for their sick children. It is
also obviously extremely difficult for parents to arrange for sick child
·care on very short notice ( for example, an hour or so after the family
awakens in the morning). There are several ways that a satellite system could handle sick care.
First, it would be possible to designate certain :family day care
homes as sick care homes. As long as the care-givers in these homes
·were given some training in caring for sick children and were :familiar
to parents and children prior to a child's illness, such a solution would
probably work well.
· A second alternative would be to provide :for an infirmary at the
core center. I:f such an infirmary required the complete isolation of
sick children, it undoubtedly would be too expensive to incorporate
into the system. However, i:f transmission o:f most children's illnesses
occur before symptoms appear, it may be that most sick children can
be cared for in core centers without requiring precautions against
A third possibility for the care o:f sick children would be to train a
corps o:f sick care workers who could be sent to the homes o:f ill children. Again, these sick child care workers would need to be familiar
to parents and children prior to illness. Upon receipt of a phone call
:from a user-family, the core center could arrange for the dispatch of
these sick child care workers to the ill child's home.
These methods of handling sick child care are not mutually exclusive. A community-based satellite system might wish to employ all
three models and utilize each, depending upon the age, length and type
o:f illness o:f a particular child, and the costs o:f the various alterna20 It would be possible to build a career ladder solely within the family day-care system,
that is, without involving child-care centers. However, since centers already employ professionals, centers seem a particularly good place to begin training family mothers for the next rungs of a career ladder in child care.
Federal Reserve Bank of St. Louis

tives. 21 It should be pointed out that given the unwillingness (and inability) of most public school systems to care for working mother's
sick school-age children, the need for sick child care is not required
merely for preschoolers. Designating particular family day-care homes
as sick child care homes would be a particularly useful way to care,
for sick school-age children.



Just as experimentation with new types of child-care delivery systems should be encouraged, we also should facilitate the investigation
of various methods of child-care financing, ownership and control. A
better understanding of the advantages and disadvantages of various
models remains to be achieved. This section briefly outlines some of the
issues to be resolved.
With respect to financing, it seems clear that most parents will have
to shoulder a part of the cost of formal child care; since there are
substantial benefits from child care which accrue directly to families,
cost-sharing by parents appears to be warranted. There are impo1tant
questions which require an answer: What proportion of the total cost
of care will be subsidized~ How will the subsidy vary by income level?
How will the subsidy be administered i
The proportion of c:rure ,to ibe subsidized depends upon the total
amount Congress wishes to allocate to child-care services and on the
price elasticity of child-care demand. However, it should be recognized
that in the contexJt of a full-employment guarantee, the demand for
subsidized child care is likely to be rather high. As we have seen, there
is already a latent demand for subsidized child care among women
now in the labor force,. As we move toward fu]l employment, many
women who are now discouraged workers will enter the labor £orce.
Prerecession estimates o:f discourag-ed female workers indicated that
in the first quarter of 1973, when !the unemployment rate £or women
was about 6 percent, 400,000 women would have looked for a job had
they believed they oou1d find one. 22 Many of these women will ,require
subsidized child care i.f they seek work. If a full-employment guarantee is to be 1a 11eiality for these women, Con·, when it considers the
price of a full employment program, should also consider the costs
for investment in new facilities and for ongoing partial child-care
It is widely accepted that child-care subsidies should vary negatively
with family income level. There is ,less agireement, however, on whether
there should he a ceiling on the number of children subsidized in any
one family. Whiait does seem clear is that ·given the high costs of child
care and the information cited earlier on parents' willingness or ability
to pay, a s!lltisfac'tory sulbsidization scheme may well require parti'al
subsidization of even those families with incomes iabove the median.
At the present time, srubsidization is achieved for low income fumilies th11ough a system of reimbursement to care-g-ivers, and for low
and middle-income families through a tax deduction. A closer relationship between family income and size of subsidy could be achieved


The costs of sick care alternatives are very difficult to estimate because of the paucity

of Information on frequency and duration of Illness among young children.

U.S. Department of Labor, Bureau of Labor Statistics, "Employment and Earnings,.
(Wa1hlngton, D.C.: Government Printing Office, April 1973).
Federal Reserve Bank of St. Louis

through a voucher system. Such a system could also relate the size of
the subsidy to the number o:f hours o:f mothers' employment.
Unresolved issues also exist with !respect to ownership and control.
Suggestions range all the way :from ownership and control by parent
cooperatives to ownership and control by a Federal Child Care Corporation. Midway between these solutions lie the possibilities o:f ownership and control by existing school boo;rds or by new State or local
government agencies. Each of these suggestions lras its merits and demerits; enabling Federal legisla.tion should undoubtedly permit more
than one approach. However, States and localities should recognize
that changing back and forth among administrative systems is extreme,ly costly. A particular approach needs to 1be a.dequa.itely researched, utilized and eV'aluated before an 1alternative structure is
Moreover, no matter what the particubw form o:f ownership and
control, if the Federal Government provides the :funds for subsidization, it should require a system o:f prior approval o:f child-care system
budgeits ,a,nd a network o:f local pl anning and eV'alu~tion boards.
Ideally these boards would consist of parents, child-development specialists, pediatricians, employer representatives with management expertise and local officials with know ledge of community resources; they
could be city or county-wide organizations. The local boards would
work with State agencies on matters o:f licensing and inspection;
setting standards in conjunction with Federal regulations; assisting in
locating appropria,te core facilities or, if such were unavailable, in
applying for capital grants from the Federal Government; aiding in
recruiting o:f personnel; approving center-system budgets; working
with existing community services, including local school boards; and
providing for area-wide child-care center planning. Local boards are
likely to be particularly important in urban and large suburban areas.

Any legislation which deals with the guarantee of fu11 employment
should deal with the provision of child care. First, the expenditures
on child care provide jobs. Second, in the short run, without adequate
child care, a :full-employment guarantee is an empty promise for
women. Finally, in the long run, the existence o:f a visible, high-quality
system o:f child care will result in more realistic human capilt'al investments by women, thus ensuring the :full utilization of women's tJalents.
The increased labor force participation by mothers in the postwar
period has made it imposR-ib]e for the -care o:f children to continue to
remain entirely within the family. The challenge now ·at hand is to
develop new methods o:f child care which M economi0ally efficient
as possible, while still meeting the needs o:f young children and their
I have suggested that a community-based satemte child-care system
might be one desirable way to organize child-care delivery. Given the
likely cost savings o:f such a system, and its potential for upgrading
the quality of family day care and providing training for paraprofessionals, the satellite system deserves a serious test. I have also
suggested that we should experiment further with al!terniative methods
of financing, owne,rship and control o:f child-care systems.
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Implications for family and work structures______________________
Reasons for upgrading part-time work___________________________
Option of part-time work_______________________________________
A. Flex-time______________________________________________
B. Child care_____________________________________________
C. Sweden's system ___ -----------------------------------D. Concept of work day and work continuity_________________
E. Benefits of part-time work_______________________________
V. Conclusion___________________________________________________


As the proportion of mothers with young children entering the paid
labor force rises, society should reevaluate mherited conceptions of appropriate family roles and work modes. F-amily work structures may
need to be modified so thatt the aspirations of women can be .accommodated at the same time that adequate nurturing is provided for children. Society has a stake in insuring economic efficiency, freedom of
choice :for the individual, and appropriate care for children.
Since a mn,jority of women with children under age 18 -are now employed in the paid labor force, it is no longer appropriate .to trrot men
as eolely responsible for the economic welfare of the family and
women as responsible for all other care. Just 'aS both fathers and
mothers are working outside the home to support the :family, both
pa,rents must now assume the responsibilirty for nurturing activities in
the home.
Legal and structural changes in the larbor market may be required
to allow girn::iter flexibility in employment patterns so that both men
and women can share :the responsibility and pleasure of nurturing
their children. Because of inflation and an incroosingly higher standard of living, the ii10ome of working wives is essential to the economic
maintenance of most Ame;rjcan families.
The widespread adoption of part-time work options for both parents
dnring the child-raising years would offer an excellent means of providing for the ffilliOtional and other child care noods of children, without sacrificing the careers of women or the efficiency needs of the economy. The acceptance and use of part-time work for men and women,
coupled with the availability of public day oare centers and other
forms of child care, are necessities if women are to attain the economic
equality with men envisioned in recent social poHcies.
•Commissioner of Banks, Commonwealth of Massachusetts, Boston, Mass.
Federal Reserve Bank of St. Louis



IMrLrcATrn::-s FOR



By 1971, the proportion of women workers had passed the highest
level attained during World War II when women p:articipaited fully
in the war effort. Women's work in the 1940:s was facilitated by the
opening of child care centers ,across the Nation. One of the most outstanding child care centers was opera.ted by the U.S. Maritime Commission at the Portland, Oreg., shipyards of the Kaiser Corporation.
Not only did the shipyard provide an attractive and wholesome place
for pre-school children to play, it also provided a cooked dinner for the
tired mother to take home to her family. These accomodations tJo the
needs of workingmd,hers ended with the war.
Since the 1950's and early 1960's, which were characterized by a lack
of day care facilities and a pervasive 'attitude in society that women
should limit themselves to being homemakers, ,a dramatic ohiange has
taken place in American family life. In the 1950's, it was unusual for
mothers to work outside the home, especially if they had young children. Today, it is not at all unusual. In 1976, almost half of the mothers
of school-age children were in the labor force, as were 37.4 percent of
the mothers with children under age 6. 1 This change is not primarily a
reflection of the break up of families; it has occurred mainly among
women living with their husbands. It reflects the fact that younger
women are no longer willing to Emit their roles to that of wife and
mother or to sacrifice their careers; it also reflects the fact that women
in midlife with older children are interested in pursuing meaningful
Approximately one-third of working mothers have tried to balance
their home and work responsibilities by taking part-time paid employment. This has entailed substantial career costs for many women,
since practically all part-time jobs now are the lowest paying ones in
an occupational category. For ex,ample, in white-collar work, part-time
opportunities are primarily as low-paid office temporaries or sales
clerks. Even though career sacrifices are involved, part-time employment of adult women has grown almost twice as fast as full-time employment of women since 1966. The number of voluntary part-time
workers in nonagricnlture industries has nearly doubled, from 5.8 million in 1960 to over 11.3 million in March 1975, and consist primarily
of white, married females. The majority are in sales and clerical posi.tions. 2 Despite the evident desire among women for more opportunities
for part-time employment, there is a dearth of good part-time jobs, for
example, at a professional, upper-income level.




The major demand for permanent and meaningfnl part-time work,
as well as for more flexible scheduling of hours in full-time jobs, has
come from women's organizations. The pressure for adjustments in
the workday has even had an influence in Congress, where former Senator John V. Tunney and Congresswoman Yvonne Burke introduced
legislation calling for part-time career opportunities. MassachusPtts
1 U.S. D<anartment of Labor, Bureau of Labor Statistics, Washington, D.C., unpublished
data for 1976.
· • "Employment and Training Report of the President" (Washington, D.C.: U.S. Department of Labor, 1977), pp. 181,-185.
Federal Reserve Bank of St. Louis

passed legislation in 1974, based on the Tunney-Burke bill, requiring
that in each of the nex~ 5 years 2 percent of current full-time State positions be adapted to part-time flexible hours status.
Proponents of expanding the number and scope of part-time jobs
feel tha,t there are many benefits to be gained, both economic and noneconomic: (a) Individuals who want to upg-rade their education and
skills so as to facilitate career mobility could be accommodated, simultaneously upgrading the overall quality of the labor force. ( b) Women
with young children would be able to maintain their labor market skills
and knowledge and would not suffer the later difficult reentry problems
which lead to high unemployment among reentering women. ( o)
Women who are not career-oriented would be able to work to supplement family income without carrying the burden of being both fulltime worker and full-time homemaker. ( d) Older workers and the
handicapped who may be incapable of putting in a full workday could
become self-supporting and self-respecting through part-time work, as
they contribute to the economy.
III. CosTs
Employers sometimes argue that giving benefits to part-time workers
increases the cost of employing part-time rather than full-time workers. Generally, this is not true. Hiring two half-time workers rather
than one full-time worker obviously needn't increase sick pay and
vacation pay. Similarly, prorating life insurance and retirement benefits would not add to the total costs. In other words, two half-time
workers would share equally the benefits that one full-time worker is
entitled to.
Many employers also cite social security and other payroll taxes as
an argument against hiring part-timers. But the employer must pay
social security taxes up to the first $16,500 earned by each worker. Unfortunately, most jobs that women hold don't pay close to $16,500. If
each part-time worker earns $8,250 or less, soci,al security taxes for
part-time jobs are no greater than for full-time jobs, so this argument
loses mnch of its weight.
Employers also cite State taxes for unemployment insurance as
another double burden. They pay these taxes as a contribution to the
pool used for unemployment compensation. The tax is a per<'entage of
each employee's salary up to a low bnsc. In l\fassac-hmi<'tts. the base is
the first $4,200 earned. So, if an employer has one employee earning
l!;S,400, the employer pays the tax only on the first $4,200 ofthat$8,400;
but, if the employer has two part-timf'rs each earnfog $4,200, the emplov<'r pavs the tax on each $4,200 or $8,400 totitl.
It's undeniable that double payroll taxes mean a l!reater expense for
firms employing part-time workers. But if the firm ah10 tends to require
a lot of overtime work, a reshuffling of nersonnel and wol'I{ Hehedules
can nrtually save money. For example, if fonr worlrnrs ('arn $4 an hour
straight time for a 40-honr week and $6 an hour overtime for an additionn 1 fi honrn a week, the total annual payrolJ for t liN11• C'rnployees
wonld he $!39.520. If, insh•ad, the four worked only 40 hours and a
fifth nerRon worked nart-time for 20 honrs, tht' ann1ml payroll would
h<" nnly $~7.4-40. In MasRachu&>tts, the employer would have to pay
$364 in social security an<l unemployment taxes for the fifth employee,
Federal Reserve Bank of St. Louis

but the additional social security tax on the four workers' overtime
pay would be $365. So in this case, paying overtime cost over $2,000
more than hiring the part-timer.
Health insurance is. also an additional cost for the employer but
again not an overwhelming one. Consider the case of the Federal Reserve's health insurance plan, which is an exceptionally good one. The
bank contributes $21.61 a month for full coverage for single persons
and $47.70 a month for those under the family plan. H the bank were
to designrute 10 percent of its 1,500 full-time positions (two part-time
workers for each position) or 300 jobs as available for half-time employees and if 200 of the new 300 half-time workers elect to take the
family plan, the additional monthly expense would be only 23 cents an
hour for these employees or 5.4 percent of their average wage. If the
added expense is distributed over all the workers, it would be only 2
cents an hour per worker or one-half of 1 percent to cover ihalf-time as
well as full-time workers. For companies with less expensive health
plans, the cost would be even less. 8



The option of working part-time involves a compromise among the
needs of individuals, society, and husiness firms.
For men, part-time work is not yet ful]y socially acceptable, making
it difficult for men to take the responsibility of caring for children.
This is due to (a) the fact that men's jobs have been higher paying and
therefore men have traditionally been the main support of their families, and (b) psychological inhibitions which have been handed down
over the centuries. However, the very act of making part-time work
options available to both parents-men and women-can help break
down the harriers to parental sharing in the care of children.
Up until now, wives were always expected to and consistently did
compromise their careers in order to care for children, but they are
becoming increasingly reluctant to do so. Expanding part-time job
opportunities may be a realistic short-run approach to providmg
useful and productive work for women within the present culture.
But part-time options should be structured so as to be equally available to men; only then will this work option become part of evolving
structural changes in both the labor market and the family. Because
changes in the labor market and the family are interrelated, one change
cannot occur without the other; until both these changes take place, sex
role stereotyping at home and in the labor market will continue unabated. Unless future patterns of child rearing are very different from
today's, most women are likely to remain at a disadvantage relative to
men in the jo_b market. A sex-role revolution, in which men's domestic
roles and employment patterns change as much as women's roles, appears to be necessary if full employment and equal work opportunities
for women are to take place.
3 See Carol S. Greenwald and Judith Liss, "Part-Time Workers Can Bring Higher Productivity," Harvard Business Review (Se.ptember--:October 1973).
See Carol S. Greenwald, "The Way We Live Now-Part-Time Work: When Less Is More,"
:\Is. magazine, 1976.

Federal Reserve Bank of St. Louis

A. Flex-Time
Firms have been less resistant to adopting flexible work hours, that
is, they have begun extending some of the flexibility that senior management has always had to lower echelons of management and to
workers. While flexible work hours allow greater freedom for workers
to arrange their workday to meet certain of their needs, it is only of
limited help to parents.. True, it solves some problems of parenthood, such as getting children to school in the morning if a parent can
come to work at 9 :3.0 a.m., or taking children to doctor's appointments
on occasion, since anissed work tiine can be scheduled later in the week,
hut it does not really handle the fundamental problem of creating time
for parenthood. For a parent who has worked all day and is, therefore.
as tired as an:v other worker in the evening, the saw about quality of
time spent with children substituting for quantity is not realistic.
Flexible work hours should be encouraged because it does ease some of
the problems created by rigid work schedules and because it treats
workers as real people with a variety of needs impinging on their lives,
but it. should not be seen as an answer to the needs of working women
and their children.
B. Child Oare
Since a high percentage of both mothers and fathers are now participating in the paid lahor force, care of children is an important consideration. '\Vhile surrogates can and shonld play increasingly important roles through the increased availability of child care centers and
after school programs, parents must continue to devote substantial
time to beirnr a parent, for both the child's and the parent's emotional
well-beina. Societv's interests coincide with those of families in creating facilities that allow parents greater flexibilitv in their work modes,
while also provirling time for parental responsibilities.
The organization of well-run child <'.are centers renresr.nts an exnensive but necessarv solution to the logistics of child care for working
mothers. Cost, of course, has not stopped the establishment of free
elementary schools and should not stop the establishment of a sufficient, number of child care centers and after school programs. Well-run
rhild care centers have ·been carried out successfully in a number of
foreirrn. <'Ountries. France is particularlv notable for its care of preschool children; free facilities are available from the age of 2 and
low-cost creches are available for younger children. However, considerable resistance to comprehensive child care still exists in the United
States, especially for very young infants. A number of alternatives
for handling child care should be available so that parents can
choose the one anost appropriate to their needs and preferences. One
alternative to child care centers for young infants wonld be to nermit
parents to take a leave of absence or to provide part-time work opportunities without penalties t-0 their careers.

0 ... Sweden's System
Many _of t~e structural changes in the occupational system recommended m this paper have already taken place in Sweden. Men and
women who wish to take part-time work during the child-rearing years
( or any other time of their lives) can do so without incurring any type
Federal Reserve Bank of St. Louis

of economic or occupational penalty.4 The Parent's Insurance System
was introduced in January 1974 to replace a maternity allowance system. Parents now have a statutory right to 7 months paid leave
and a further unpaid leave of 6 months. The paid leave can be divided
between the parents as they see fit. They can take alternate months
or even alternate half days, while both work part-time. The parent
staying at home receives a sum per day which corresponds to the
amount of sickness benefit, that is, 90 percent of income. Like the sickness benefit, parent's allowance counts toward a future pension, the
entire parent's allowance system being part of the State social insurance system which is financed out of taxes and employers' contributions. 5 It would appear that the parent's insurance system could
similarly be fitted into the disability payments system of the American
social security program.
The Swedfah parent's insurance program has been in existence for
only a short time. So far, only a small minority of fathers have
availed themselves of it. In the fourth quarter of 1974, only a little
over 2 percent of all new fathers with wives in gainful employment
used the opportunity. They stayed at home an average of 24.2 days of
the 7-month period. 5
The parent's insurance system includes another feature which gives
both parents the right to stay home from work on a temporary basis
if a child is sick. Both parents oan take turns and receive a daily sum
corresponding to sickness benefit. The child must be under 10 years
of age and the number of days must not exceed 10 per family per year.
This aspect of the parent's insurance is used fairly extensively by
fathers. In Massachusetts, 'State employees may annually use 7 days
of their sick leave to care for sick members of their immediate family.
The present American disability insurance program under social
security could easily be expanded to include a parent's insurance system modeled after the Swedish program. Establishment of statutory
right under social security for a paid parental leave of a few monthis
duration, equally available to both parents, would be a major step in
restructuring work opportunities for women.
The costs of instituting such a system need not be very large. Assuming that new parents receive for a 7-month period the average
monthly benefit now paid social security recipients, the increased contributions necessary to fund the new benefits would be $4.2 billion,
which would raise the combined employee-employer social security
tax rate from 11.7 percent on the first $15,300 of income 'to 12.2 percent
on this same income base.
In addition, new part-time employment opportunities could be
started in Federal agencies as a model for the private sector to follow.
Legislation similar to that passed in Massachusetts could require
that in each of the next 5 years 2 percent of current full-time Federal
positions be adapted to part-time status. In addition, such legislation
would be likely to influence State and local government agencies and
the private sector to follow suit.
Availability of parental leaves and part-time work options could
also be encouraged hy the Department of Labor as part of affirmative

• Marianne Millgardh and Bert Rollen, "Parents' Insurance," Current Sweden Series, X0.
76/itid~kholm: Swedish Institute, Apr!l 1975).
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action programs 'for Federal contractors. Discrimina.tion is defined
in terms of the oonseqnences o-f an employer's action; that is, the effects, and not the intent, of the actions. I-f any action that an employer takes bras an adverse effect on the employment opportunities
o-f any of the groups that are protected by title VII of the Civil Rights
Act of 1964 (women are one of the protected groups), the employer
must justify the necessity of continuing this discriminatory course of
action. The employer must be able to prove that the discrimina.tory
a.ction is a matter of business necessity, that it is truly necessary to
the safe and efficient operation of the business. When examined, many
personnel policies turn out to be nothing more than convenient wellestablished ways of doing business, not particularly crucial, but unquestioned. Current maternity leave practices of firms, which severely
limit leave and limit them to women, and 'the unavailability of parttime work options for men and women during child-rearing years,
clearly have a discriminatory impa,ct on women's employment. It
would appear that a firm should be required to explore these options
if it is to be in compliance with the l•aw.

D. Oonaept of Work Day and Work Oontinuity
These changes in Sweden represent only a beginning in the structural changes needed within the labor market. The total concept of
the workday and work continuity would benefit from a fresh ap![}roach. Is it really necessary and desimble that people have uninterrupted work records if they are 'to be considered serious, reliable and
committed 9 The increasing desire of high status men for an improved ·"quality of life" that includes ade(luate leisure time may help
facilitate profound structural changes in the world of work.
Firms have resisted part-time employment for a variety of philosophical and administrative reasons.
Philosophically, they have viewed part-time work as not legitim11,te,
legitimacy 'being defined as what men do. One can't be serious about
a iob if one wants to work part time. Full time is defined as the ·amount
of time men ordinarily work. However, what is considered full time
is not an immutable 'fact of nature; there have been more changes
during this century in the "full-time workweek" than there had been
in the previous thousa.nd years. In recent years, the hours of the day,
the days of the week, diays and weeks of the year, years of a working
lifetime have ·all been considerably shortened. Even after World Wnr
I. the steel industry still had a 12-hour, 7-day workweek. With the
office workweek at 35 hours, full-time work is closer to part time than
it is to the standard 60 hour week before World War I. The conrept
of full-time has remained constant only in that it is the standard
.amount of time men work. Pro:f. Paul Samuelson has pointed out that
·in to our "freedom in the spending of the money we earn,
the modern industriial regime denies us a. similar freedom in choosing
the work routine bv which we earn those dollars." 6
Firms avoid part-time workers because it complicates administra·tion. Top manag-ement people like to have access to employees when
·they need them. If executives are there, they want employees there.
• Paul SamuPlson, foreword In "4 Da;vs, 40 Hours," Riva Poor, editor (Cambridge, Mass.:
:Bursk & Poor Publlshing Co., 1970), p. 8.
Federal Reserve Bank of St. Louis

This annoyance 'factor is important. It may be lessened if not eliminated when working part time is no longer a deviant pattern. Being
a part-time administrator also conflicts with common notions about
what supervisors and employees do on the job. The common picture
is that the supervisor oversees the workers who would not work if the
supervisor were not there. There is an out-dated notion here that if
workers are not watched, they will not produce anything. There is
also the notion that employees are incapable of taking any responsibility for their work. The assumption is that supervisors must be there
to solve any unexpecood problem at the very moment that it occurs.
Part-time workers also complicate routine administrwtive problems,.
such as computing the payroll and establishing the fringe benefit
It is important to examine the real essential requirements of management, supervision, and professional work. Is in{>ut a necessary meas,..
ure of output 9 Does it.s importance vary for d1fferent kinds of professional work 9 Do the supervision requirements of a research director and of a comptroller diffed
A common objection to part-time employees is that they are less
committeed, less productive, and inefficient workers. Almost by definition they must be inefficient because they lack the all-consuming
dedication to their job that is almost a requirement of success in the
corporation. Research-based data indicate that permanent part-time
employees are more efficient, more productive, less frequently absent,.
and have a lower turnover rate than comparable full-time employees.'
Career-oriented employees who work less than full time should not be
confused with office temporaries who have no long-term commitment
to particular jobs.
A number of examples can be cited: 8 The Smithsonian Institution
has successfully used two part-time lawyers. The Federal Reserve Bank
of Boston has paired a part-time department head and an economist,.
and has had a part-time assistant statistician. The Massachusetts Department of Banks has a part-time director of research, a part-time
supervisor of examinations for equal credit compliance, and a staff of
part-time researchers and individuals consumer com_plaints.
By offering part-time opportunities the Massachusetts Bankmg Department has been able to attract people with high qualifications which
exactly match the needs of the Department, despite the low salary
levels in state employment. In areas like consumer complaint handling,.
the Massachusetts Department of Banks has found that part-time
employees, because of the shorter hours, are able to maintain a greater
sensitivity in handling consumer complaints than are full-time employees. Five public school systems which employ 500 job-sharing
teachers have called the experience a success.
Flex-time also has been found to improve a work situation, rather
than hinder it. The Massachusetts Department of Banks and the
Massitehusetts Rehabilitation Commission have both found it to be an
hnportant morale booster. Lufthansa employees in Germany have been
found "to interact more effectively, assume greater initiative and
7 Marjorie M. Silverberg and Lorraine D. Eyde, "Career Part-Timi' Employment: Personnel Implications of the New Professional and Executive Corps," Good Government (fall


• RobPrt I. Lazer, "Job Sharing as a Pattern for Permanent Part-Time Work," the Cookr,ence Board Record (October 19711), pp. 117-61.
Federal Reserve Bank of St. Louis

responsibility, and be more aware of, and hence become more considerate of coworkers' time."
. 1
The Massachusetts State Department of Welfare in 1969 hired 50
caseworkers on a half-time schedule. An independent study made 6
months later by a consulting firm indicated that these social workers
had 89 percent as many face-to-face contacts with clients as full-time
workers, thus once again providing Parkinson's law that work expands
to fill the time given to do it. Moreover, the turnover rate among the
part-timers was only one-third of that of their full-time colleagues.
Since their employer was paying them half a regular full-time salary,
the State benefited.
So much for the oft-repeated statement that part-time help is expensive, inefficient help. It may be in some cases, but it certainly is not
always. It is important to determine when it is and when it is not.

E. Benefits of Part-Time lVork
There are many sound reasons why a company might benefit from
hiring more part-time workers.
First, a great many talented, well-e:ducated wives with child-rearing
responsibilities will be attracted to part-time work. Offering part-time
work thus gives the firm a personnel-management lever to use against
competitors, especially larger ones, in attracting high-quality workers.
Second, the firm that broadens part-time job opportunities will probably experience greater productivity and lower tinit costs, due to
reduced absenteeism, turnover, recruitment. activity, and overtime pay.
The practical and psychological advantages of part-time work for
employed mothers will be mainly responsible for the drop in all but
one of these areas; the drop in overtime pay obviously results from not
having to pay increased rates when part-time workers put in more than
their usual hours. Productivity will also rise because one can keep up
a much faster work pace for 4 hours a day than one can for 8 hours.
The First National Bank of Baltimore found that productivity rose
under flexible hours, as did the Mine Safety Appliance Co. of
Pittsburgh. 9
The institutionalization of part-time work for men and women while
their chfldren are young would constitute an important step toward
the equalization of parental responsibility and the upgrading of parttime work. To do this, several conditions must be satisfied. Part-time
and full-time workers must receive the same fringe benefits. 10 Parttime work for child-rearing purposes might be treated similarly to
sabbaticals, that is, part-time work years would receive the same crediting toward seniority, promotion, tenure, and salary adjustments as fulltime work. Concerted efforts would need to be made to establish parttime work options in at least some prestigious occupations. Finally,
men i=:hould be encouraged to work part time £or some period of their
work lives. The right to part-time work might be extended to 15 years
per person as in Sweden, or 9 years as in France. Part-time work options will not eliminate the need for a system of child care centers, but
it can be expected to reduce the need for them, and will enable parents
and children to satisfy important emotional needs.
• "Problems Cut bv Flexitime." the Washington Post <May 22. 1977). D6.
10 Ree Carol S. Greenwald and Judith Liss. op. cit., for a discussion of the costs of providing equal fringe benefits to part-time workers.
Federal Reserve Bank of St. Louis




Achieving equality for women workers requires ada_pting administration to the rhythm of family life. Women are startrng to insist on
the right of women and men to be complicated, .to work full time at
certain periods in their lives and to work part time at others. Women
are starting to request that the bureaucracy set as its goal not the
reduction of complications, but the mastering of them.
Businesses are making job structures and the work week more flexible
with such innovations as the 4-day week and flexible hours. Restructuring jobs to accommodate more part-time employees would be another
step forward. Women want to pursue careers, but their lives and interests, like those of men, extend beyond the marketplace. Working part
time during some periods of ,the life cycle is now a need of many
women. It should, of course, be an option for every person, as joint
nurturing of children becomes a widespread reality, and as increasing
incomes make greater leisure possible. The women's movement is doing
both women and men a great service of humanizing work by helping
to establish the concept that working part time during part of the lifecycle is legitimate.
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Federal Reserve Bank of St. Louis

Federal Reserve Bank of St. Louis

Federal Reserve Bank of St. Louis



I. Career and occupational development across the Nation____________
II. Purpose of this paper___________________________________________
III. Career education for self-assessment and self-development__________
IV. Career education for occupational awareness and job preparation____
A. Job preparation________________________________________
B. Training and employment_______________________________
C. Special populations_____________________________________
V. Career education for planning and decisionmaking_________________
VI. Recommendations _________________ --------------------------__


Career education is an emerging concept which can better enable
women and men to achieve suitable direction and focus of their
lives. By facilitating the realization of individuals' employment potential, career education simultaneously maximizes the Nation's productivity. It helps people recognize and develop their skills and
talents and match them to employment and other opportunities.
Career educated women will tend to look with a healthy skepticism
at the traditional roles to which they have been confined. In the
absence of career education, decisions tend to be made in a hit-ormiss manner within a limited range of choices. A chance job offer
may divert a young person into an unsatisfying life path. Role models
such as a relative who is a lawyer, a TV heroine portraying a policewoman, or a friend working in a factory may influence a person
to make a capricious, rather than a thoughtful career choice. The
result may be a lifetime loss in potential earnings and satisfaction
for the individual, with a parallel loss to the Nation. To prevent
such haphazard life decisions, career education builds on the present
education system, broadens and enhances the roles of existing schools
and faculties, and extends the period and scope of learning.
Putting the concept of career education for women into focus
requires definition of the terms "career" and "career education."
Each education/training experience and each occupation/job (paid
or unpaid) a person pursues is a point on the continum of his/her
career. Everyone has a career, whether she/he works for a wage, is
a homemaker, or is a volunteer; whether she/he is a student,
a worker, or an annuitant. The purpose of career education is to
assist each individual in the formulation of a series of education
and work decisions and in the pursuit of a series of education and
work goals that will enhance her/liis options, support the life style
to which she/he aspires, and contribute to society's purposes.
•Senior Research Scientist, American Institutes for Research in the Behavioral Sciences,
Palo Alto, Calif.
Federal Reserve Bank of St. Louis


The term "career education" is known to many, but the concepts
it covers are known to few. Analysis of the contexts in which the
term appears reveals that it frequently is used as a synonym for
"vocational education;" however, vocational education covers only
about one-third of the curriculum of career education. Career education goes beyond vocational education to help the individual develop
knowledge of self and of ways to enhance self as a worker, and to
develop skill in planning and decisionmaking processes. Vocational
education alone, out of context of the other two concepts, falls short.
One study 1 showed that vocational graduates had no better income,
job status, turnover rate, upward mobility, unemployment rates or
job satisfaction in their initial employment than students with academic programs. In the long run, their initial employment record
was worse. Career education curriculum prepares individuals to be
:ready for discontinuity-for change both expected and unexpectedinstead of limiting their training to the narrow skills frequently
taught in vocational programs.
Career eduation embraces three components: (1) self-assessment
and self-development ( intellectual, physical and emotional/social; (2)
occupational awareness and job preparation (vocational education);
and (3) planning and decisionmaking skills. Each component covers
a multiplicity of discreet knowledges and skills. Career education is
not the content for a course or a unit at one or several points in a person's formal education experience; it is not a structured curriculum
that is uniformly delivered to all. Rather, it is a component that is
incorporated into any and all subjects and other aspects of education
and becomes an integral part of learning in order to relate that learning to the individual's career. Career education, then, is an organizing
fa.ctor for all of education, from preschool through college and continuing education.
The career educator helps each individual identify career development needs at each point of his/her career-kindergarten throu~h retirement-and personalizes education by relating current learnmg to
the key roles the individual will play. Career education permeates the
fabric of the educational system through curriculum, instruction, and
counseling. It brings personal meaning to all learning experiences.



An analysis of the results o:f the Career and Occupational Development Tests of the National Assessment of Educational Progress attests to the need for career education for women. A national sample of
males and females at ages 9, 13, 17 and adult were given a series of
tests based on five objectives: (1) prepare for making career decisions;
(2) improve career and occupational capabilities; (3) possess skills
that are generally useful in the world of work; (4) practice effective
work habits, and (5) have positive attitudes toward work.
Sex differences were seen in the responses on some items in each of
the five objectives areas. For instance, responses of 17-year-olds showed
that males did better in identifying characteristics of male-oriented
jobs. Males perceived group sports, individual sports and hobbies and
1 Reubens, Beatrice, "Work In America," quoted In "German Apprenticeship: Contro•
versy and Reform," Manpower (Washington, D.C., November 1973).
Federal Reserve Bank of St. Louis

crafts as activities most useful for a job, wh~reas females named musical or artistic activities, school and academic areas, and household
skills. Asked for reasons why a worker might accept a promotion,
females suggested challenge, responsibility, and .Personal satisfaction;
whereas males more often named working conditions and benefits. In
the basic skills areas, females did better in language arts and males
did better in math.
In general, the data showed serious gaps, as well as inequities, in
the career and occupational development of the youth of the Nation,
with particular evidence of the impact of the sex stereotyping which
pervades our culture and reduces women's work options.2
A parallel study of mature educated women and men found that men
followed a relatively simple and straightforward pattern compared
with the much more complex career and life patterns characteristic
of women. 8 A multitude of conditions have contributed to an escala•
tion of the need for career education for women: changes in career
and life patterns; changes in attitudes toward, needs for, and laws concerning women in the work force; and many other social, economic and
political factors.

It is not the purpose of this paper to define the total content of
career education. Content is limited to career education program
elements which focus directly on those factors that facilitate the full
employment of women at levels commensurate with their abilities,
interests and aspirations. Procedures for selecting program elements
to be included in this paper were:
1. Problems that inhibit full employment of women were identified
by an analysis of documented evidence as reported by government and
2. Compendiums and other publications were searched for existing
career education programs and program elements which have been
• Mitchel!, Anita M., "Career Development Needs of 17-Year-Olds" (Washington, D.C.,
NVGA, un,).
• Glnzberg, E., et al., "Life Styles of Educate/I Women" (New York, Columbia University,
• Rubinstein, Ellis, "Profiles In Persistence," IEEE Spectrum, November 1973.
Broverman, Broverman, Clarkson, Rosenkranz, and Bogel, "Sex Role Stereotypes and
Clinical Judgments of Mental Health," Journal of Consulting and Clinical Psychology,
34 (1), 1970.
Thomas, H., and N. R. Stewart, "Counselor Response to Female Clients With Deviate
and Conforming Career Goals," Journal of Counseling Psychology, 18, 1971.
Hawley, Peggy, "The State of the Art of Counsellng High School Girls" (Ford Foundation, 1975).
Hawley, Peggy, "Perceptions of Male Models of Femininity Related to Career Choice,"
Journal of Counseling Psychology 19 (4), 1972.
U.S. Department of Labor, l:lonthly Review (Washington, D.C., U.S. Government
Printing Office, June 1971).
Employment Training Administration, "Women and Work" (Washington, D.C., U.S.
Df>partment of Labor, April 1976).
Sheehy, Gail, "Passages: Predictable Crises of Adult Life" (New York, E. P. Dutton &
Co .. Inc., 1976).
Editorial, "The Tug of War for Equality," Women In Business, May 1975.
Chisholm, Shirley, "Sexism and Racism : One Battle To Fight," Personnel and Guidance
Journal, vol. 51, No. 2, October 1972.
Women's Bureau, "Facts on Women Workers of Minority Races" (Washington, D.C.,
U.S. Department of Labor, U.S. Government Printing Office, 1975).
Federal Reserve Bank of St. Louis

found to produce outcomes aimed at reducing the specific inhibitng
factors identified in the analysis of problems.5
3. These identified program elements were organized around the
three components of career education to show how career education
could contribute to the realization of full employment of women.
The program elements are not arranged by educational level, as
most of the concepts, such as sel£-assessment, may be introduced at
any age level and refined as the individual matures; others are specific
to mature women, either entering the work force for the first time,
or reentering after an absence. Therefore, emphasis is not on the setting,
but on the content. It is understood that different delivery systems
would be appropriate for different levels of career development:
This author does not claim that any one current career education
program embraces all the career development outcomes presented.
However, the fact that each program element present~d has been developed, implemented and validated in at least OM setting, supports
the possibility that a total career education emphasis could contribute
substantially to the full employment of women. It would be space
consuming and inappropriate to identify spec:i'fic materials and procedures of program elements here; other compendiums, including
those footnoted on the previous pages, have per:formed this task.

Among major inhibitors to full employment of women at levels commensurate with their abilities and interests are: women's concepts of
themselves as workers; their failure to develop personal traits and
worker traits that help them compete with men for existing jobs; and
stereotypical role expectations in the community.
The first component of career education, one that serves as a base
and a buttress for occupational skills development, includes the following program elements which could be expected to reduce the inhibitors to full employment named in. the previous paragraph:
1. Exploration of strengths and weaknesses, successes and failures,
to help girls and women (a) clarify their values, attitudes and selfperceptions; (b) sort out their own personal resources including abilities, interests and personal characteristics; (a) mobilize strengths and
cope with areas in which they are weak; ( d) evaluate their work experiences; and (e) develop occupational self-understanding and selfesteem.
• McLaui:hlin. Donald H., "Career Education In the Public Schools, 1974-75-A National
Survey" (Palo Alto, Calif., American Institutes for Research. 1,976).
Mitchell, Anita M., "The Use of Print and Nonprlnt Media In Csreer/Occunational Education" (Palo Alto, Calif., the ERIC Clearinghouse on Information Resources, 1976).
Arterbury, Elvis, J'ohn Collie, Dave J'ones; and J'ayne Morrell, "The Efficacy of Career
Ed11eatlon, Washini:ton, D.C., NACCE, 1976.
Peat, Marwick, Mitchell & Co., "Instructional Materials for Career Education" {Washing-ton, D.C.. USOE, 1974).
Ellis, Stephen H .. and others, "A St.udy of Career Centers In the State of California"
(La Mesa. Calif.. 1975).
Hoyt. Kenneth. "Career Education: How To Do It" {Washington D C Office of Career
' ' .,
Education (DHEW/OE), 1974),
Foyt, Kenneth. "Ceree,. EdneRtion: The State of the Scene" (Washington DC Office
' · ·•
of Career Edncation (DHEW /OE), 1974 ).
. Smith, Keith E., "A Summary of Commissioned Papers Prepared for the National Advisory Council for <;,areer Education". (Washing-ton, D.C., NACCE, 1976).
Herr. Edwin L.. The Emerging History of Career Education: A Summary View" {Washing-ton. D.C., NACCE, 1976).
Begel. Elsi,~ P., J'ames A. Dunn, Robert M. Kaplan, John Kroll, J'ud!th M. Melnotte, and
Lauri Steel, Career Education: An Annotated Bibliography for Teachers and Currlcului9
Developers" {Palo Alto, Calif., American Institutes for Research, 1973).
Federal Reserve Bank of St. Louis

2. Development of intrapersonal and interpersonal skills, basic instrumental skills, how-to-learn skills, and skills in self-presentation
that will open career options.
3. Development of (a) women's awareness of the subtle but pervasive societal forces that continue to constrain women's opportunities
and roles in the labor market, and (b) resources, avenues and techniques for combating these forces. (Example: Analysis of the biased
language and pictorial presentations in the catalogs of education/
training institutions, in classified help wanted ads, and in many nationally distributed occupational briefs; identification of laws and
agencies which exist to facilitate equal training/placement access to
4. Development of the concept of education and training as investment in human capital ( an investment in themselves, against which
they can draw at any point in their lives), and of continuing education as a. way to slow down the rate of deterioration, depreciation,
and obsolescence of themselves as human capital.
5. Institutional screening of educational materials and encouragement of production of nonsexist materials to counteract the many
myths about women workers, the stereotypical roles portrayed in
textbooks and the mass media, and the biased selective information
presented by interests vested in specific occupations/professions.




The second component of career education is aimed at increasing
women's occupational awareness and improving their job preparation,
as deficiencies in either or both of these areas affect women's employment.
Career education program elements for this component are organized into three sections: Job Preparation, Training and Employment,
and Special Populations.

A. Job Preparation
1. Provision of experiences and role models at all levels to increase
girls' and women's perceptions of their educational, training, and occupational options. (Example: Classroom visits by successful career
women-including parents of students-such as scientists, machine
tool operators, or pilots.)
2. Development of generic skills that will be transferable when work
roles change.
3. Application of basic language and computation skills to the work
settin~. (Example: Specific vocabulary used in a health setting such
as a doctor's or dentist's office; arithmetic used in a real estate or insurance office.)
4. Establishment of personal relevance in all curricular areas.
5. Development of skills for. (a) maintaining awareness of present
and future occupational t:uends, opportunities and requirements, and
(b) identification of advanced occupations/professions for which
they can train once or intermittently, using-the career ladder
Federal Reserve Bank of St. Louis

6. Development of job choosing, job seeking, job getting, and job
maintenance skills.
7. Development of specific occupational skills.

B. Training and Employment
1. Development of realistic views of the "shelf life" of training,
and awareness of the need for continuing and recurrent education.
(Example: The rapid obsolescence of computer technology.)
2. Development of skills for locating resources and for testing and
using these resources to find economical ways to train and retrain.
3. Awareness of women's rights under title IX of the Educational
Amendments of 1972, to counteract discriminatory practices still employed by some training institutions.6
4. Understanding of (a) the meaning of other antidiscrimination
laws, (b) the fact that their implementation is spotty, (o) enforcement procedures, and (d) implications for women as workers.
5. Awareness of sources of help in problem areas such as financial
support, child care, and occupational evaluation.
6. Institutional support and flexibility for women of all ages to
receive technical and other occupation-related training.

0. SpeoiaZ Populations
1. Development of the specific skills necessary for special populations
to gain access to education, training and job opportunities. (Example:
upgrading the communication skills of the cerebral palsied, the deaf
and the retarded.)
2. Institutional provision of appropriate content, facilities and
equipment in career education for women from isolated rural areas
and from low socio-economic families, older womeni and those with
physical, intellectual, developmental or emotional handicaps.
3. Institutional provision of linkages between education/training
and successful job placement.


Women's failure to plan for a succession of work roles and to set
short-term and long-term goals frequently results in their being unready for job mobility, job advancement, job entry or re-entry. Confusion surrounding the conflict between individual goals and societal
goals, and deficiencies in decisionmaking skills may cause women to
choose inappropriate education/training institutions or job options.
Career education program elements witliin this component that show
promise for removing these inhibitors to full employment of women
inf'lnde the following:
1. Development of planning skills through application to current
educational and occupational goals.
2. Development of skills in goal setting, testing, and followthrough.
3. Development of skills in adjusting short-term and long-term
goals and in knowing when such adjustments are desirable.
• RPrnlce Sandler, "Admissions In Higher lllducatlon and the Law." address delivered
at College Entrance Examination Board Conference, San Francisco, Calif., January 1975.
Federal Reserve Bank of St. Louis

4. Development of realistic time plans for accomplishing goals, and
of productive implementation of these plans.
5. Identification of training and occupational alternatives, and of
the relationship of each to short-term and long-term goals and desired
life style.
6. Contingency planning for job change, job advancement and job
7. Development of skills in seeking and assessing the accuracy and
reliability of sources of information; of examining values; of clarifying career objectives; of examining options and seeking alternate
routes to reaching objectives; of considering consequences of alternate
choices; and of using this total process in making career decisions.
8. Development of skills in reconciling conflicts between individual
goals and societal goals when confronted with negative statements in
the media such as the following:
President Carter's most immediate economic plans could be upset badly by one
of the most profound social changes in American history-the continued, dramatic rush of women away from the role of housewife arid into the labor market!

Bernstein continues by stating that factors such as newly created jobs
that entice "additional millions of women" out of their homes * * *
would leave the Nation's unemployment rate at an intolerably high level and
effectively thwart Carter's plan.

The previous three sections listed some of the knowledges and skills
that have been developed through implementation of specific care~r
education program elements. Women's development of these knowledges and skills could be expected to reduce specific barriers to t.l1eir
full employment. Institutional actions which have been initiated as
part of the career education movement and which could contribute to
women's full employment are also reported.
·with increased flexibility in terms of age, program, setting and
schedule, these program elements could be delivered to girls and women of all ages and at ail stages of career development. As suggested
above, career education is most effective when it becomes part of the
regular curriculum, instruction and counseling programs, relating
learning to current, emerging, and projected career roles.



Since the content and process of career education have been defined.
· and since career education could help remove many of the barriers to
full employment of women, it is recommended:
1. That career education be made mandatory in all the schools o:f
the Na ti on-kindergarten through higher education-and be encouraged in other community settings. H.R. 7-Elementary and Secondary Career Education Act-was recently passed by the House o:f Representatives. A companion bill awaits action in the Senate.
2. That capital market investment, which encourages the development o:f talent in women, e.g., tax and credit reform, provide long-term
private and public loans not only :for initial training, but for retraining or upgrading skills at any time during women's working lives.
7 Harry Bernstein, "Women at Work: U.S. Jobs Upheaval," Los AngeleR Times, Feb. 6,

Federal Reserve Bank of St. Louis

3. That day care services be mad,e available £or all women trainees
and workers needing this service.
4. That Community Career Education Action Councils be established in each community, with representatives from local government
agencies, labor unions, business and industry, schools, and other local
groups to plan and evaluate the community's career education efforts.
5. That incentives and disincentives be used to promote nondiscrimination in advertising and to encourage portrayal of women in other
than stereotypical social and occupational roles.
6. That licensing/accrediting agencies such as trade unions, higher
education institutions and government agencies establish policies
which give women credit for competencies developed outside o:f school,
and increased opportunities for training in early or midcareer.
'7. That institutions training career educators incorporate career
education concepts, skills, and methodologies in their programs.
8. That schools become open-entry, open-exit systems, available to
women of all ages, and offering program and schedule flexibility.
Federal Reserve Bank of St. Louis




I. Women in vocational education ________._________________________
II. Vocational education research and women __________________ _:_____
III. Proposals for research and development__________________________
A. Admission_____________________________________________
B. Enrollment____________________________________________
C. Instruction____________________________________________
D. Counseling____________________________________________
IV. Conclusion___________________________________________________


In the United States, lack of training or education has been overemphasized as a cause of unemployment and poverty. 1 The extremely
low unemployment rates of vVorld vVar II testify to the fact that
many of those who are considered "unemployable" due to lack of
training and other factors in times of low labor force demand are indeed employable when the labor force demand is high enough. Nevertheless, individuals' rights to training for work in which they are interested should not be overlooked. In an ideal future, when jobs are no
longer sharply differentiated by prestige and pay, training will allow
individuals to have variety in their work by enabling them to move
from job to job; Today trarningrepresehts a step toward a more interesting, prestigious or better-paying job. It is within this context that
we will consider vocational education for women and the full employment economy.



·while school and college enrollments have been leveling off, vocational education has been booming. State vocational and technical
education enrollments increased from roughly 7.5 to 11.6 million from
• Associate professor of sociology, director of the Extended University, and chairperson
of Community Studies at the University of California, Santa Cruz.
*"This article is a revised version. of "Toward Full Equality: More Job Education for
Women," School Review, Vol. 84 No. 2, and is reprinted with the permission of the author
and publisher. The .authQr .received financial assistance from the Russell Sage Foundation and the University. of California, Santa Cruz Academic Senate, which enabled her
to conduct the research.·
,. .
1 Compare S. M. Miller and Pamela Roby, "The Future of Inequallty" (New York: Basic
Books, 1,970), ch. 6; and Howard M. Wachtel, "Looking at Poverty From Radical, Conservath-e, and Liberal Perspectives/' in, Pamela Roby ed. "The Poverty Establishment" (Englewood Cliffs, N.J.: Prentice-Hall, 1974.)
Compare "Learning-a Living Across the Nation," '1>'.ol. IV, pt. 1, narrative rPnort by Arthur
M. Lee ;-pt. 2. statistical almanac. by Arthur M. Lee and Dorris Fitzgerald, Flagstall', Ariz.:
Project Baseline, fourth national report prepared for the National Advisorv Council on
Vocational Edncfltlon under U.S. Office of Education Contract OEC 0-72--0414, (October
and December 1975).
Federal Reserve Bank of St. Louis


1968 to 1972. 2 Even exceeding the growth in enrollment, funding for
vocational education has increased massively. In 1962 vocational education received $262 million in Federal and $930 million in State and
local funding; in 1972, the figures were $464 million and $2.2 billion,.
respectively. 3 In addition, the Higher Education Act of 1972 authorized $950 million over the next 3 years for post-secondary occupational
(i.e., vocational) education. This sum was over three times that authorized for the establishment of new community colleges and the
expansion of old ones--$275 million. 4
Despite this very considerable growth, it appears that the needs of
women for vocational education have not yet been given serious attention.• Given Congress's definition of vocational education as "vocational or technical training or retraining . . . given in schools or
classes ... designed to prepare individuals for gainful employment as
semi-skilled or skilled workers, technicians [orj ... subprofessionals
in recognized . . . and in new and emerging occupations or . . . for
enrollment in advanced technical education programs ... " there is
considerable evidence that opportunities for women in vocational education are severely limited." A 1974 report of the Women in Apprenticeship Project of the U.S. Department of Labor observed that 9S.5
percent of the enrollees in Wisconsin high school industrial class2:,;
were male. The girls are given home economics or, if they are not on
the college track, business subjects. In most schools girls are either
overtly forbidden or subtly discouraged from seriously experimenting with shop courses that lay the foundation for work in the skilled
trades: too great an interest in, or proficiency at, things technical are
considered "unfeminine." This puts most women at a disadvantage
• These figures are for secondary and postsecondary education programs combined. Vocational education enrollments in public secondary schools were nearly 6.4 m1llion in 1972-73
(U.S. Department of Health, Education, and Welfare, Office of Education, "Vocational
Education : Characteristics of Students and Stair," 1972, by Nicholas A. Osso (Washington,
D.C.: Government Printing Office, 1974), p. l).
• National and State Advisory Councils on Vocational Education, "The Impact of the
Vocational Education Amendments of 1968" (prepared for the U.S. congressional oversight
hearings on the Vocational Education Act, April 1974), mimeographed (Washington, D.C.:
Department of Health, Education, and Welfare, 1974).
• !\Ioney authorized by the ,Higher Education Act was specifically for training for "gainful employment as semiskilled or skilled workers or technicians or subprofessionals In
recognized occupations (Including new and emerging occupations) ; it prohibited the
funding of programs leading to a bachelor's degree" (Jerome Karable, "Protecting the
Portals: Class and the Community College," Social Policy 5, No. 1 (May-June 1974) :
p. 15-16).

5 Ori~!nally I Intended this paper to be on the effect of vocational education on minorities as well as on women, but I found that the vocational education issues alfecting the two
groups are quite diverse. In fact, the elfect of vocational education on and the needs of
various minority groups are also highly varied. Therefore, to confine this paper to reasonable bounds, I am limiting it to women. But see Herbert E. Striner, "Toward a Fundamental Program for the Training, Employment, and Economic Equality of the American
Indian" (Washington, D.C.: Upjohn Institute, 1968), pp. 303--304; "The Negro and Vocational Education," in "The Role of Secondary Schools in the Preparation of Youth for
Employment : A Comparative Study of the Vocational, Academic, and General Curriculums." editors, Jacob J. Kaufman, Carl J. Schaefer, Morgan V. Lewis, David W. Stevens,
and Elaine W. House (University Park, Pa. : Institute for Research on Human 11:esources,
1967). A recent U.S. Office of Civil Rights sampling of 79 area vocational schools In Illinois, Indiana, Michigan, and Ohio found that only 135 of the 2,612 instructors In these
schools were minority members (5.3 percent) despite the fact that the minority population
of these four States is more than 10 percent, the representation of minorities among all thP
public E!_lementary and secondary teachers of these four States approaches 10 percent, and
minorities are a high proportion of the work force at all levels of skill and competence in
these States (Peter E. Holmes, director, Office for Civil Rights, U.S. Department of Health,
Education, and Welfare, "Enforcement of Civil Rights Statutes in Area Vocational-Technical Schools" (paper prepared for the annual meeting of State directors of vocational education. Wa~h!n~ton, D.C., May 1, 1974), p.11).
• Sec. 108 of Public Law 90-576.
Federal Reserve Bank of St. Louis

when taking selection tests that examine :familiarity with the tools
.and terms o:f the trade.'
Of the 6.4 million women and girls enrolled in public vocational
programs across the country in 1972, 49 percent were being trained
in home economics and another 28 percent in officejractices.• Table
1 provides a picture of the distribution of women an men in the several areas of vocational education. The evidence is that very few
women are being trained for the 20.1 million jobs that the National
Planning Association estimates will occur by 1980 in what have been
viewed primarily as male occupations, including the better-paying
trades, industrial, and technical jobs for which high schools now offer
vocational courses with entry-level preparation.G
We do not have evidence that the clustering of women in vocational
programs is only a matter o:f access and social influence. Nor do we
know what proportion of women, given a real opportunity, would
choose to move into traditionally male jobs. However, all the information that we do have suggests that, given a real choice, women would
move into every level of the industrial hierarchy.10 Indeed, between
1960 and 1970 when some doors were opened to women, the rate of
increase of women in the skilled trades was eight times the rate o:f
increase for men. u
7 U.S. Department of Labor, Manpower Administration, "Women In ApprenticeshipWhy Not?" Manpower Research Monograph No. 33 (Washington, D.C.: Government PrintIng Office, 1974), p. 1.
• These percentages include homemaking which does not fall within the definition of
vocational education used in No. 2 above and by the U.S. Congress. Despite the congressional definition, most vocational education data provided by the U.S. Office of Education
includes homemaking, which Is not "preparation for gainful employment" (data calculated
from Bureau of Adult, Vocational, and Technical Education, "Summary Data: Vocational
Education. Fiscal Year 1972" (Washington, D.C. : Office of Education, U.S. Department of
Health, Education, and Welfare, May 1973), p. 2).
• Ibid., pp. 2, 14-17. Vocational education is composed of the following major program
areas : agriculture, distribution, health, home economics (galntul), office, technical, trades
and Industry, and special programs. Among the 19 major instructional prog1·ams included
in the "distribution" area are advertising services, apparel and accessories, automotive,
finance and credit, floristry, and food distribution. Dental assistant, medical lab assistant,
practical nurse, and physical therapy are among the instructional programs in the health
area. Gainful home economics includes care and guidance of children and food management
service. The office area includes accounting and computing, filing and office machines, stenography, secretarial, and typing programs. Among the 21 major Instructional programs in
the technical area are aeronautical, architectural, automotive, chemical, electrical, and
metallurgical technology. Among the 44 major instructional programs in the trade and
industrial area are air-conditioning, appliance repair, auto mechanics, blueprint reading,
business-machine maintenance, carpentry, electricity, masonry, plumbing and plpefitting.
drafting, graphic arts, cosmetology,.....and textile production (Leonard A. Lecht, "Priorities
in Vocational Education: Recent uevelopments and Potentials for Change During the
1970's." Looking Ahead 20, No. 7 (November 1972) : 1; see Kaufman et al., op. cit., pp.


1 • See Dixie Sommers, "Occupational Rankings for Men and Women by Earnings,"
Monthly Labor Review, vol. 97, No. 8 (August 1974), tables 1, 2.
11 ,Tanlce Neipert Hedges and Stephen E. Bemis, "Sex Stereotyping: Its Decline in the
Ekilled Trades," Monthly Labor Review 97, No. 5 (May 1974) : 14.
Federal Reserve Bank of St. Louis



ing Including
homehomemaking) makin~
(percent) (percent

homeGainful makin'
Number (percant) (percent


Agriculture________________________________ _
~~Jf/~utive education ______________________ _

17. 0
17. 0
7. 0
7. 0
Home economics gainful_ ___________________ _
Office ____________________ -----------------1,796,387
Tachnical education ________________________ _
6. 0
Trades industry ____________________________ _
15. 0
15. 0
Special program•--------------------------Total-gainful only____________________
101 __________ 3,505,128
100.0 __________
Home economics: homemaking_________________________
45 2,916,987 __________

Total gainful and homemaking___________________ _


6,422,115 ----------

101. 0

248, 745

• Includes prevocational, prepostsecondary, and remedial programs.
Source: Calculated from Bureau of Adult, Vocational and Technical Education Summary Data: Vocational Education,
Fiscal Year 1972 (Washington, D.C.: U.S. Department of Health, Education, and Welfare_ Office of Education, May 1973)
p. 2.



Between 1965 and 1974 (inclusive), $250 million was spent :for vocational education research and development under the authority of the
Vocational Education Amendments of 1968 (Public Law 90--576) 12 and
administered by the Bureau of Occupatipnal and Adult Education
of the U.S. Office of Education (USOE). Additional sums were appropriated :for vocational education research and development by
the U.S. Department of Defense, the Department of Labor, the National Institute of Education, other Federal agencies, the States indepent of State-administered Federal funds, and private foundations.
Little of this multimillion-dollar funding was devoted to projects
directly related to the needs of women. 13 In 1974, out of the 93 federally funded project under section 131 (a), part C of the Vocational
Educational Amendments of 1969, only one pertained directly to
women (that, directed by Kaufman and Lewis, will be discussed below).14 The allocation of so few part C funds in 1974 to projects for
12 Congress authorized $152.5 million, or nearly 4 times as much as was appropriated,
for vocational education research and development for fiscal year· 1974.
Committee on Vocational Education Research and Development, Assembly of Behavioral
and Social Sciences, National Research Council, "Assessing Vocational Education ResParch
an<'! Development" (Washini:ton. D.C.: National Academy of Sciences, 1976), pp. 20-21.
13 Monica K. Sinding (research associate, Committee on Vocational Education RPsearch
and Development, Assemhly of Behavioral and Social Sciences, National Research Council)
reports receipt of several letters from Government officials indicating that they have no
knowledge of plans for research in "how vocational education might be adjusted to better
meet the needs of girls and women" (letters from Ralph R. Canter, program manager, Llfe
Sciences Directorate, Air Force Office of Scientific Research, U.S. Department of the Air
Force: Glenn C. Boerrlgter, chief Research Brirnch, Division of Research and Demonstration, Office of Education, Sept. 16, 1974; ,Howard Rosen, Director, Office of :\Ianpowµr
Research and Development, Manpower Administration, U.S. Department of Labor). The
Division of Manpower Development and Training of the U.S. Office of EdnPation in l!lH
noted that "over 90 percent" of female trainees In MDTA institutional programs "have
been enrolled in either clerical, food services, or health related occupational training," an,1
that although "the Income level of both men and women increases after MDTA training, • * • the income level of women after training has never reached the pretralnln~
income level of men" (U.S. Department of Health, Education, and Welfare, G,:ivernment
Contracting Office. Office of Education, "New Careers for Women," mimeographed ('Washington, D.C. : HEW, 1974)).
a U.S. Department of Health, Education, and Welfare, Bureau of Occupational and
Adult Education, "Research Projects in Vocational Education: Fiscal Year 1974 Program,
Funded Under Sec. 131(a), Pt. C. Vocational Eih1c~tlon Amendments of of 1968, Publ!c
Law 90--576," mimeographed (Washington, D.C.: HEW, 1974),
Federal Reserve Bank of St. Louis

women is all the more striking given the critical observation the previous year by the National Advisory Council on Extension and Continumg Education that " ... although the legislative lan~age [of
part C, section 132 of the Vocational Education Act] 1s general
enough to permit funding of demonstration projects relevant to the
needs of mature women ... only one project has been funded with
any relevance to the concerns of women." 15
Furthermore, no projects for women were funded in 1974 under the
federally administered part I or the regionally administered part D of
the amendments.16 Of the 50 State offices of vocational education, only
three are currently sponsoring substantial research to determine how
vocational education might better serve girls and women.17
To date, no survey has been made to determine what percentage of
the project directors funded under the vocational education amendments are women. Such a survey would appear to be called for under
title IX of the i972 education amendments.
omen comprised 17
percent of the members of the American Vocational Education Research Association in 1973-74.18 This figure would appear to be a
justifiable benchmark against which to evaluate whether or not women
are :fairly represented as directors o:f research projects :funded under
the vocational educational amendments.
In 1976, 56 percent o:f all women between 18 years o:f age and 64
were part of the labor force. They comprised 41 percent o:f the total
labor force, compared with 26 percent in 1940.19 Most o:f these women 1
the U.S. Department of Labor reports, work because they must. In
March 1976, o:f the 39 million women in the labor force, 43 percent
were either single, widowed, divorced, or separated. An additional
quarter o:f an women in labor force were married to men who earned
less than $10,500. 20 In 1975, the median earnings before taxes, for


i;; Kathryn L. Mulligan. "A Question of Opportunity: Women and Continuing Education"'
(Washington, D.C.: National Advisory Council on Extension and Continuing Education,
March 1973), p. 25.
16 Interview, Mary Wingrove, Curriculum Development Branch, Bureau of Occupational
and Adult Education. U.S. Department of Health Education. and Welfare. Aug. 12. 1974;
interview, Dr. Joyce Cook, acting chief. Demonstration Branch, Bureau of Occupational and
Adult Education, U.S. Department of Health, Education, and Welfare, Ang. 16, 1974.
17 The State of Ill!nols' Office of Vocational Education in 197•4 allocated $30,000 to JoAnn
M. Steiger of Steiger, Fink, and Smith, Inc., McLean, Va., for curriculum materials t<>
encourage girls to consider a wider range of jobs. The same year, the New Hampshire
Office of Vocational Education used part C moneys to fund Instructional materials geared t<>
women on "Careers in Building Trades" (Langdom Plumer, director of vocational education.
Exeter High School, Exeter, N.H., letter to Pamela Roby, Nov. 4, 1974). The Division of
Occupational Research and Development of the Texas Education Agency has used part C
moneys to develop means to recruit women into vocational programs traditionally dominated by men ("Equal Vocational Educational," a project by the Center for Human Resources, University of Houston, in cooperation with the Houston Independent School
District, sponsored by the Division of Occupational Research and Development. Texas
Education Agency, February 1975,-June 1976, mimeographed (Houston, Tex.: University
of Houston), p. 3).
18 Mary B. Kievit, president, American Vocational Education Research Association,
letter to Pamela Roby, Mar. 25, 1975.
19 U.S. Department of Labor. Bureau of Labor Statistics, "Employment and Earnings,"
January 1977 (Washington, D.C. : Government Printing Office, 1977).
00 U.S. Department of Labor, Bureau of Labor Statistics. "Marital and Family Characteristics of the Labor Force," March 1976 (Washington, D.C.: Government Printing Office,
1976). The Bureau of Labor Statistics' "lower budget" Income standard was $8,181. "intermediate budget," $12,626, and "high budget." $18,201 for an urban family of four in
autumn 1973 /U.S. Department of Labor, Bureau of Labor Statistics, "Autumn 1973
Urban Family Budgets and Comparative Indexes for Selected Urban Areas," June 16, 1974,
press release, table A, p. 2). For a description of the concepts and procedures used in the
development of the BLS budgets, see U.S. Department of Labor, Bureau of Labor Statistics.
"Three. Standards of Living for an Urban Family of Four Persons," bulletin No. 1570-5
(Washmgton, D.C.: Government Printing Office, 1969), pp. 1-4.
Federal Reserve Bank of St. Louis

fnll-time year-round ( 50-52 weeks a year, 35 hours or more a week)
female operatives was $6,251; of service workers ( except private
household), $5,414; and of nonfarm laborers, $6,937.21
Unequal pay for equal work, though important, is only a part of
the larger question of why women workers receive low wap:es. Following an extensive analysis of census data, economist Mary Stevenson
concluded that sex "segregation in labor markets is the real problem
underlying the low wages that women receive.... Whenever women
are cordoned off into a circumscribed number of occupations and
industries, the consequences are low wages." 22 In line with Stevenson's conclusions, Elizabeth Waldman and Beverly McEaddy recently re}?orted that although women, like men, find jobs in the fastest
growing mdustries, today, as in decades past, no matter what industry
women are in they remain clustered in fewer and lower paying occupations than men:2s
Furthermore, female-intensive industries continue to pay considerably lower wages than male-intensive industries. For example, Waldman and McEaddy report: "In ,January 1973, most industries paying
average weekly earnings of less than $100 were female-intensive. Several were paying under $90 a week, while the weekly paycheck for all
industries averaged $138. The average salary for all manufacturing
workers was $159 a week in ,January 1973. For those in manufacturing industries that were female-intensive, the average was much
lower-for example the apparel industry, in which 81 percent of the
employees were women, paid average weekly salaries of only $93." 2•
Recently, women have been moving into the higher-paid skilled
trades in greater numbers, but their percentage in these jobs remains
small (1.6 percent of women over age 16 were employed in craft and
kindred jobs in May 1974),25 despite research that shows that many
women have the aptitudes to perform jobs that have been traditionally held by men. In fact, research by the Human Engineering
Laboratory of the Johnson O'Connor Research Foundation indicates
that no significant sex differences exist in fourteen of the aptitude
and knowledge areas studied, and of the remaining areas, men excel
in two and women in four. 26
As more and more women need to earn enough to support themselves and their families, and as it becomes clear that their low wages
result largely from their being restricted to lower-paying jobs, vocational education has failed to move significantly to prepare them for
"'U.S. Department of Commerce, Bureau of the Census, "Money Income and Poverty
Statu• of Families and Persons in the United States" (Washington, D.C.: Government
Printing Office, 1975).
""l\Iar:v Stevenson, "Women's Wages: The Cost of Being Female" (paper presented to
the Society for the Study of Social Problems, August 1972), p. 8; see Mary Stevenson, "The
Determinants of Low Wages for Women Workers" (Ph. D. dissertation, University of
Michigan. 1974) : Barry Bluestone, William M. Murphy, and Mary Stevenson, "Low Wages
and the Working Poor" (Ann Arbor: Institute of Labor and Industrial Relations, University of l\Iichlgan, 1973).
20 Figures for hourly wages which exclude the efl'ect of part-time and overtime work
•nr11ort conclusions based on weekly earnings (Ellzabeth Waldman and Beverly J. McEaddy,
"Where Women Work-An Analysis by Industry and Occupation, Monthly Labor Review
97. No. 5 (May 1974) : 7).
"' Ibid., p. 10.
""In 1970 almost half a mtllion women were working in sktlled occupations, up from
277,000 in 1960 (Hedges and Bemis, p. 14) ; 5-24,000 females over age 16 were working in
craft and kindred jobs in May 1974 (U.S. Department of Labor, Bureau of Labor Statistics,
"Employment and Earnin~s: June 1974" (Washington, D.C.: Government Printing Office,
1974), pp. 31, 32, tables 820,821).
26 John J. Durkin, "The Potential of Women," research bulletin No. 87 (Washington,
D.C.: Johnson O'Connor Research Foundation, 1972).
Federal Reserve Bank of St. Louis

the wider range of occupations that pay higher wages. Vocational
education teachers and counselors, in fact, often discourage, or actually refuse to allow women to take courses that would prepare them
for these jobs. Even unwittingly they simply mislead women students
by encouraging them to believe that as wives and mothers they will
not need to work when, in fact, these students as young adults are
fairly likely to be divorced and have to support themselves and their
children or to have husbands who are unable to alone support a family.
Eradicating these barriers to women and girls in vocational education is no longer a matter of gallantry, it is a matter of law. Title IX
of the 1972 U.S. education amendments states: "No persons in the
United States shall, on the basis of sex, be excluded from participating
in, be denied the benefits of or be subjected to discrimination under
any educational program or excluded from actively receiving federal
financial assistance. . . ." 27 This passage, as well as the subsequent
antidiscrimination provisions with regard to admission, student assigrunent, and faculty employment practices applies to public or private institutions of vocational education.


Prejudices and outmoded customs act as barriers to the full realization of women's basic rights which should be respected and fostered
as part of our Nation's commitment to human dignity, :freedom. and
democracy . . . [John F. Kennedy, in establishing the President's
Commission of the Status of
omen, 1961]
Both internalized and inst.itutional barriers against women operatein vocational education. 28 Internalized barriers refer to social attitudes and norms taught men and women about "feminine" and "masculine" behavior that can serve to limit both sexes' ability to think :flexibly
about what are appropriate abilities, activities, and social roles for men
and women. A girl considering a career in what has been viewed as a
masculine occupation must overcome her own early socialization in
which she was taught that traits such as physical and intellectual prowess and problem-solving abilit3" were masculine. 29 Despite much discussion about sex stereotypes in school materials and despite the increasing
proportion of mothers in the national labor force, grade-school read-


"'Title IX, "Prohibition of Sex Discrimination," U.S. Education Amendments of l!l72,
Public Law 92-318, 92d Cong., S. 659, June 23, 1972; r.roposed rules, DepartmPnt of
HPalth, Education, and Welfare, Office of the Secretary, 'Education Programs: Nondiscrimination on the Basis of Sex," Federal Register, No. 120, pt. 2 (June 20, 1974), pp.
08 Similar factors operate in higher education (see Pamela Roby, "Structural and Internalized Barriers to Women In Higher Education," In ''Toward a Sociology of Women."
editor, Constantina Safllios-Rothschild (Lexington, Mass.: Xerox College Publishing, 1972),
pp. 121-140, reprinted in Jo Freeman, editor, "Women: A Feminist Perspective" (Palo
Alto, Calif.: Mayfield Publishing Co., 1974), pp. 171-194; and "Institutional Barriers to
Women Students in Higher Education," in "Academic Women on the Move." editors. Allee
S. Rossi and Ann Calderwood (New York: Russell Sage Foundation, 1973), pp. 37-56).
19 Sandra L. Berns and Daryl J, Berns, "Training the Woman To Know Her Place";
Kathleen Barry, "A View From the Doll Corner"; Leah Hevn, "Chlldren's Books": Jamie
K. Krisof, "Textbooks and Conditioning"; Donna Keek, "The Art of Maiming Women,"
all In Women, vol. 1, No, 1 (fall 1969). Also see, Nancy Frazier and Myra Sadher, "Sexism
In School and Society" (New York: Harper & Row, 1973): Scott, Foresman & Co .. "Guiflelines for Improving the Image of Women In Textbooks" (Glenview, Ill.: Scott, ForPamnn
& Co., 1972) ; M. B. U'Ren, "The Image of Women In Textbooks," in "Woman in Sexist
Society : Studies in Power and Powerlessness," editors, Vivian Gornick and B. K. Moran
(New York: Basic Books, 1971) ; D. B. Graebner, "A Decade ot Sexism In Readers," Readinir
Teacher, vol. 26 (October 1972).
Federal Reserve Bank of St. Louis

€rs still tend to portray mothers in the kitchen. 30 Given this early socialization, it is not surprising that a significant percentage of both
adolescent girls and boys have unrealistic expectations about women's
work lives. Indeed, a recent survey of high school seniors from :fourteen
Arkansas public schools found that 22.6 percent of the girls and 38.9
percent of the boys believed that "most girls will become housewives
and never work outside the home." 31
Many believe that girls would be helped to consider a wider range of
vocational choices if school books portrayed women in a wider range of
roles rmcl occupations. Changes in phvsical education conrses, as well,
,vould contribute to a greater flexibiiity for women in the vocational
choices. Courses in physical education that stress strength and endurance would not only widen girls' views of their potentialities but
woul_cl also prepare them better to qualify for jobs that have these
Internationalized barriers to women are buttressed bv institutional
barriers, those organizational patterns and practices that hinder the
~fforts of girls to obtain preparation for technical jobs, the trades and
mdustry. Among these institutional barriers are admission practices
that exclude girls from traditionally male vocational education courses
and schools and pregnant girls from vocational education of any type;
the absence of women from faculties and administrations of schools,
except in home economics and business skills; inadequate job counseling for girls; and inadequate child care for the children of students.
In the fo1lowing section, I wiU trace the paths of vocational education students. For each step, I will examine barriers to women, review
vocational education research related to the barriers, and suggest research and development projects to overcome the barriers.

A. Admi,88ion
Tho first hnrdle con-fronting girls and women seeking vocational education is admission. Girls must fnlfill all the admission criteria concerning intelligenre and educational experience normally required of
men and, in addition, must overcome some barriers not experienced
by men. Jack Conrad ·willers observes that "the most obvions and
common sexist school practice is to track male students into industrial
arts, agriculture, and technical trades, and female students into homemaking, health occupations, and busi.ness. High school girls receive vocatiornll training which prepares them for a very limited range of
30 See Leonore J". Weitzman, Deborah Eifler, Elizabeth Hokada, and Cafoerine Ross. "Sex.
Role Socialization in Picture Books for Preschool Children," American J"ournal of Sociology 77, No. 6 (May 1972) : 1125-115,1; Elizabeth Fisher. "Children's Books: Tbe Second
Sex, J"nnior Division," New York Times Book Review (1970), pp. 89-94; Ann Ellasberg,
"Are You Hurting Your Daughter Without Knowing It?" Family Circle (February 1971).
For an extensive analysis of 2,760 stories In 134 children's readers, see Women on Words
and Images. "Dick and J"ane as Victims: Sex Stereotyping in Children's Readers" (Princeton, N ..J.: Women on Words and Images, 1972). It found that the stories included biographies about 88 different men and 17 women. The overall ratio of stories about boys to
stories about girls was five to two.
31 Of the girls, 29.4 percent, and of the boys, 45 percent believed that "women should
stick to. women's jobs and not compete with men" (Peggy "\V. Patrick, "Education and
Counselrng Status Report on Young Men and Women: A Survey of Senior Students From
14 Public Secondary Schools in Arkansas" (Governor's Commission on the Status of
Women. Little Rock, Ark., December 1972), cited in J"oAnn ;If. Steiger, "Vocational Prepar9:ti?l_l for WomeD;: A Critical Analysis" (prepared for the research and <levelopment unit,
D1v1s10n of Vocat10nal and Technical Education Board of Vocational Education and Rehahil!tation. State of Illinois, under contract No. RDD A5-240), mimeographed (Springfield:
State of Illinois, December 1974), p. 23),
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careers, usually those with low pay potential, or even no pay as
housewives." 32
In a report of a survey of vocational schools, the director of.the Office of Civil Rights of the U.S. Department of Health, Education, and
Welfare said that
[a] chronic problem in area vocational schools is the separation of programs
and courses bv sex. Even more serious is the existence of vocational schools that
accept only students of one sex. So far the survey has identified 17 single-sex institutio;1s and I estimate we will haYe reports on about 40, most of them in the
Northeast where, like other parts of the Nation, some traditions d,o not change
easily. Title IX of the education amendments provides for the elimination of
vocational school policies that discriminate on the basis of sex. Their eligibility
to participate in Federal programs is in danger until they adopt acceptable plans
to tran;;form themselves into institution.s that admit both sexes without bias....
Tho other aspect of sex discrimination in vocational school has to do with segregation by course. Of the 1,000 (Office of Civil Rights institutional questionnaire)
forms surveyed so far, nearly all listed at least one that was exclusive to
one sex and nearly 60 percent reported that a majority of the course programs in
the .school were exclusively for males or exclusively for females. 33

Furthermore, the General Accounting Office's 1974 report on Vocational education stated:
Catalogs describing vocational programs used the exclusive pronoun "he" when
referring to course requirements in almost all subjects, and the exclusive pronoun "she" when describing secretarial and nursing courses. Vocational officials
agreed that potential students studying this material might get the impression
that courses were restricted to members of one sex.
Sometime.s classes were physically located in a manner which could encourage
sex role stereotyping. In one secondary area vocational school, clerical, health
and cosmetology courses were offered in one building and all other courses in an
.adjacent building. Female students questioned by us about their vocational interests said the courses they were taking did not neces.sarily coincide with what
they hoped to do later. They said their choices for training were limited because
girls were not allowed in the "boys" building. The school director agreed that
girls might get that impression but said that girls could apply for courses offered
in the other building...
32 .Jack Conrad Willers, "The Impact of Women's Liberation on Sexist Edncatlon and Its
Implications for Vocational-Technical and Career Education" (paper delivered to the
Regional Seminar/Workshop on Women in the World of Work conducted by the Technical
Education Research Centers), mimeographed (Nashvllle, Tenn.: Department of History
an<l Philosophy of Education, George Peabody College for Teachers, 1974), p. 8.
33 Holmes (note 5 above), pp. 11-12 (see U.S. Department of Health, Education, and
'\Velfare, Office for Civil Rights, "A Guide to Compliance Enforcement in Area Vocational·Educntion Schools (AVE!'!)," prepared by Policy and Program Development Branch, Elementary and Secondary Education Division, mimeographed (Washington, D.C. : HEW,
1!174) ). For local studies of vocational school policies that discriminate on the ha.sis of
sex, see .Jean L. Ambrose, "The Dual Problems of Sexism and Sex Discrimination in Vocational Education in New Jersey," New Jersey Education Association Publication No;
ID-WIE-01 (Trenton, N.J.: State Department of Education) ; Marcia Federbush. "Let
Them Aspire!" report of the Committee To Eliminate Sexual Discrimination in the Public
Rchools, 3d edition (Ann Arbor, Mich., January 1978) ; Gail Byran, "Discrimination on the
Basis of Sex in Occupational Education In the Boston Public Schools," mimeographed
(Boston: Boston Commission To Improve the Status of Women. 1972) ; Massachusetts
Arlvisory Council on Vocational-Technical Education, "Status of Women in Occupntional
Education," in "An Evaluation of Occupational Education in Massachusetts: The Fourth
Annual Report of the Massachusetts Advisory Council on Vocational-Technical Education"
(Bost~n: Massachusetts State Department of Education, 1973), pp. 81-85; Regina Healy
and Diane Lund, "Chapter 622 : One State's Mandate," Inequality in Education, No. 18
(October 1974), pp. 86-46; testimony of Raymond C. Parrot, executive director, Massachusetts Advisory Council on Vocational-Technical Education submitted to the House. of
Representatives Committee on Education and Labor, Subcommittee on Elementary, Secondary, and Vocational Education, Mar. 17, 1975.
•• The Comptroller General of the United States, "What Is the Role of Federal Assistance
fo1· Vocational Education? Report to the Congress" (Washington, D.C.: General Account:lng Office, 1974), pp. 84, 86.
Federal Reserve Bank of St. Louis

AREA, 1969 AND 1972

Agriculture _______________________________________________________ ------ _______ _
Distributive education __________________________________________________________ _
Health ________________________________________________________________________ _
Home economics: gainfuL ______________________________________________________ _
Office _________________________________________________________________________ _
Technical education ____________________________________________________________ _
Trades/industry ________________________________________________________________ _









~a~~~~~~~ing: :: :: :: :: :: :: :: :: :: :: :: :: :: :: :: :: :: :: :: :: :: :: :: :: ::-- -- -- -- -- -!if

Home :c~~~~i1cs

Total, homemaking_______________________________________________________ _





Sources: 1969: U.S. Department of Health, Education, and Welfare, Office of Education, "Vocational Education Characteristics of Teachers and Students, 1969," by Evelyn R. Kay (Washington, D.C., Government
Printing Office, 1970), p. 9, 1972; HEW, Office of Education, "Vocational Education: Characteristics of
Student and Staff 1972," pp. 11, 57.

Table 2 shows that the distribution of secondary level vocational
education female enrollees among program areas was slightly less
stereotyped in 1972 than in 1969, but progress needs to be made for
girls ·and boys to be equally distributed among program areas. Marilyn
Steele has pointed out that the concentration of girls within this narrow range of programs is discriminatory, not only because it results in
women liaving considerably lower wages than men, but because the program areas in which women are concentrated have a much hio-her
student/faculty ratio and lower per student expenditures than those
in which boys are concentrated. The program areas (health, homemaking, gainful home economics, and office programs) in which girls
predominate had an average of 13 more students per teacher than
those in which boys are concentra.ted (agriculture, distribution, technical, and trades and industry) in 1972.85
Quoting from a 1974 speech by HEW's acting assistant secretary of
education, the GAO report identified the consequences of these forms
of discrimination: "In one city the average expected-wage for trades
learned by girls was 47 percent lower than for ,trades learned by boys.
So not only were students channeled into traditionally male or female
jobs, but girls were guided into employment at lower income levels." 36
Law enforcement rather than research is needed to end these forms
of sex discrimination, and the Office of Civil Rights has only
begun to enforce the law. Women's organizations and individual
women have filed suit ,against officers of federal agencies who are responsible for enforcing the laws, title IX, title VII, VIII, and the
fifth amendment to the Constitution, which require that Federal funds
not be extended to educational institutions that have employment practices and education policies which discrimination on the basis of sex. 37
35 Marilyn Steele "Women in Vocational Education," Project Baseline supplemental
report submitted under contract to Technical Education Research Centers, Inc. (Flagstaff',
Ariz., Oct. 30, 1974), pp. 45, 47, 48.
36 Ibid.
37 The Women's Equity Action League, the National Organization for Women, the National
Education Association, the Federation of Organizations for Professional Women, the
Association of Women in Science. and the U.S. National Student Association are the
plaintifl's in the case. Caspar Weinberger, Se.cretary of the Department of Health, Education, and Welfare; Peter Holmes, director of the Office for Civil Rights, HEW; Peter .T.
Brennan, Secretary of the U.S. Department of Labor; and Philip J. Davis, director of the
Office of Federal Contract Compliance, Department of Labor, are the defendants (Women'8
Equity Action League et al. v. Weinberger et al., presently pending in the District Court
for the District of Columbia (civil action No. 74-1720)).
Federal Reserve Bank of St. Louis

.Adequate enforcement of these laws will require that a large number
of professional and clerical personnel be added to the 847 professional
and clerical workers who now staff the central and regioil!al offices of
the U.S. Office of Civil Rights, and that the enforcement budget be
~\.dditional barriers confront pregnant girls when they seek t.o remain
in or be admitted to secondary vocational programs in many parts of
the Nation. Only anecdotal information is available so far on the extent 1Jo which pregnant, physicaHy able girls are refused admission to
or retention in secondary vocational programs.
At the postsecondary level the admission process is more complex.
~Iany potential postsecondary women are not situated so that they can
readily enter a course of study. They are scattered. Some are employed.
Some are full-time housewives with infants or t.oddlers. Others have
reared their children. Consequently, the first major question involved
in the admission process of postsecondary vocational education programs is, who is notified of the program 1 Publicity ahout a program
relayed only through announcements in secondary schools and workplaces is less likely to reach unemployed housewives than if it is also
relayed through posters in laundromats and churches, PTA newsletters, television advertisements, or articles in the women's section of
local newspapers. Likewise, at the workplace, publicity ·about vocational educat10n programs is more likely to reach women if it is related
through posters placed in those areas of the shop where they are likely
to see them. A useful model is provided by Florence Mint.z's demonstration research project which used a multimedia approach inclmling
newspapers, broohures, direct mailings, radio, and tele,·ision t.o recruit
mature women ( over age 30) into the drafting and design program
of the Union County Technical Institute in New Jersey. 39
The second question relating to postsecondary admission is, what impression does publicity concerning the program and the pro'!'ram itself
make on its female audience 1 Are only men pictured on the posters 1
Is the word "he" but not "she" used to describe applicants 1 Do women
students have the impression from their friends that they will not be
welcome in particular programs i The third question is, how do postsecondary vocational education admission counselors advise women of
various backgrounds1 Do they recommend that mothers with young
children not enter the program i Do they tell women,"Of course you
can enroll in the industrial course, but I don't know why a good-looking girl like you would want to"? The final question is, as at the secondary level, will teachers and admissions officers admit women to
traditionally male courses of study 1

B. Enrollment
Assuming access, women are confronted by a series of questions about
the feasibility of enrollment in postsecondary vocational programs.
"" Statement of Nancy Perlman, director of the Department of ProA"ram DevPtopmPnt.
American Federation of State. County, and Municipal Emplo~·ees. testif:dnA" on beh'llf of
thP Coalltlon of Labor Union Women on Sex Discrimination In Vocational Education hefore
thP Ruhcommlttee on Elementary, Secondary, and Vocational Education of the House
Committee on Education and Labor, Mar. 17, 1975, p. 9.
Florence Mintz. "Development of a Model for the Recruitment of Mature Women In
Trnrlltionally :Hale-Oriented Occupational Education Programs" (dissertation propol'al for
tl1e Department of Vocational Education, Rutgers University, 1974), pp. 6, 11, 33.

Federal Reserve Bank of St. Louis

Mothers are the hardest hit. Some may be unable to- enroll siinply be~
cause schools are physically inaccessible or do not offer convenient
hours of opemtion. Locating programs near public transportation lines
and decentralizing them would enable larger numbers, of· women to
take advantage of them.
Financial aid and child care are also crucial problems. While men
need .financiral aid as much as women, the absence of adequate childcare facilities makes it difficult fur women to enroll in- any advanced
education offering, and even more difficult for those women with limited
These enrollment issues pertain primarily to women interested in
postsecondary vocational education programs. But with incre1asing
numbers of g1.rls marrying early or becoming pregnant, inside or outside of marriage, there is also a growing need for suitable programs
a,t the secondary level.40

0. Instruction

Following a survey of secondary-school curricula, Janice Law
Trecker concluded that "In perhaps no other area of the curriculum is
there more need for non-stereotyped information and for positive role
models for young women than in vocational training and career education ... traditional stereotypes about the proper work for women
have combined with overt economic discrimination to greatly restrict
the aspirations and opportunities of the female secondary school student. . . . materials and programs whi<-h might enlarge the career
possibilities and raise the aspirations of young women should be a
high priority item in any responsible school program." 41 The first step
along the way to supplying the kinds of materials and programs
Treckcr refers to would be an effort to screen curricular materials for
Rex stereotypes and make revisions where the materials are found to
be biased.
Another useful sten would be the introduction, in the first year of secondary vocational education. of a course on the changing career 11atterns of women in the United States, manpower projectionR and their
implications for students' occunationa1 choices, the wage differentials
of various occupations, and Federal and State equal employment laws.
"A w·orking Women's Guide to Her ,fob Rights," published by the
TT.S. Department of Labor. is a usefnl basic text for the latter part of
the course. 42 In-service training programs that provide relevant in.,, Tn 19/l!l, the year for which the most re<'ent Rtatlstics are available, there were 17!Ui00
births among unmarried ¢rls age 19 and younger and about the same number to marrlPd
l!'irls, but conceived prior to marriage, Approximately thrPe-fourths of thP•e girls said thPv
hq,l not wanted to become pregnant, most were banned from high school durlne: their
pregnancies, and many were unable to return after thl'v J?ave birth (LeP Morris. "111stlnrn.t!ne: the N1>ed for Family Plannlne: Services Amonj? Unwed Teenal!'ers!' Fnmll:v Plannln~
Pnspertlves 6, No, 2 (sprinJ? 1974): 93 (hereafter F,P.P,); seP Sadja Golnsmlth, l\<arv 0.
Gabrielson, Ira Gabrielson, Vicki Mathews. and Leah Potts. "Teenagers. Sex, and Contrarpption." F.P,P,, vol. 4. No. 1 (Januarv 1972): Melvin Zelnick and ,John F. KantnPr, "The
Resolution of Teenage First Pregnancies." F.P,P.. vol. 6, No. 2 (spring 1974\: and "~exnalitv, Contraception. and Pregnancy Arnone: Young Unwed Females In the United States,"
In Commission on Population Growth and the American Future RPports. vol. 1, Demoj!'r•nhir and Soc!,11 Aspects of Population r:rowth, editors, C. F, Westnff nnil R. Parke
<Washington. D.C. : Government Printing Office, 1972) ; Mary E. Lane, "Contraception for
Ailolescents," F.P.P., vol. 5, No. 1 (winter 1973) ; Elizabeth A, House an/J ~adin GolflSl"lith, "Planned Parenthood Services for the Youne: Teenager," F,P,P.. vol. 4. No. 2 (April
1972); Jane Menken, "The Health and Social Consequences of Teenage Childbearing,"
F.P.P,, vol. 4, No. 3 (July 1972).
"'- Janice Law Trecker, "Sex Stereotyping In the Secondary School Curriculum!' Phi
Del tit Kappan 55, No. 2 (October 1973) : 112.
42 U,S, Department of Labor, Women's Bureau, "A Working Woman's Guide to Her Job
Rights" (Washington, D.C.: Government Printing Office, 1974).
Federal Reserve Bank of St. Louis

formation and guidelines for teachers, counselors, and administrators
would also be helpful.
Another very important factor, though not normally thought of as
part of instruction, is the presence of women in responsible positions
in the school. The absence of women in administrative and faculty positions outside of home economics, health, and business-related vocational programs serves as a silent but potent message to female students. Elizabeth Camp King found that, in public community junior
colleges, women comprise only 29 percent of the total faculty and that
92 percent of the female vocational education faculty is concentrated in
health ( 57 percent), business ( 28 percent), and home economics ( 7 percent). 43 The other vocational programs-agriculture, distribution,
technical, and trades and industry-are dominated by men. 44 At the
secondary level, table 3 shows that, although nearly equal numbers of
men and women are vocational educators, men and women teachers are
distributed differently among the eight major teaching areas. 45
Teaching area

~~:: =~~~~::~ ra~~:~wt~~f?_-::======== == ====== ==== ==== == ====== ====== == ====== ==

Health. _______________________________________________________________________ _
Olfice/busi ness _________________________________________________________________ _
Distributive education __ • _______________________________________________________ _

{~~g~i~~1deuJ~~~tion. ___________________________________________________________ _
A~~bre _________________________________ _


In each area

98. 7
98. 2
88. 2
71. 8
10. 7
1. 5

20. 5

5. I

6. 7
29. I
3. 5
9. 6

100. 0

TotaI_ - -- -- -- -- -- -- -- -- -- -- -- -- -- -- -- -- -- -- -- -- -- -- - .-- -- -- -- -- -- -- -- -- --

1 Less than 0.05 percent.
Source: HEW, Offiee of Education, "Vocational Education: Characteristics of Students and Staff, 1972," pp. 37, 45.

""Elizabeth Camp King, "Perceptions of Female Vocational Faculty Members as Seen bv
Themselves and College Administrators" (State College: State Department of Yocational
Education, Pennsylvania State University, 1974).
44 Ibid., p. 73.
43 Women received the following percentages of the degrees conferred in 1070-71:

arts, vocational and vocational/technical educa- _
tion ____________________________________________________
Agricultural education ___________________________________ _
Home economics education_--------,---------------------

of arts

of arts

Doctor of


4. 7

5. 7
96 4

Source: U.S. Department of Health, Education, and Welfare, National Center for
Education Statistics, Office of Education, Earned Degrees Oonfered 1970-71 by Mary
EYans Hooper (Washington, D.C., Goyernment Printing Office, 1973), pp. 173-268;
cited in Steele, p. 113.
Federal Reserve Bank of St. Louis

At high administrative and advisory council levels, women appear in
-0nly token numbers. In a random sample of 400 area vocational
schools, Sites found that men comprised 93 percent of the directors. 46
Only one woman is currently employed as a State director of vocational
-education or as a State supervisor outside of the fields of business, distribution, health, and home economics.47
To upgrade vocational education, part F of the 1967 Educational
Professions Development Act (EPDA) and title II of the 1968 Vocational Education Amendments provided for "leadership development
awards" for individuals to undertake graduate work in such areas as
.administration, supervision, teacher education, research, and curriculum development "in order to meet the needs in all the States for qualified vocational education personnel" ( section 552) 48 and for ~ants to
.State boards "to pay the cost of carrying out cooperative" pro3ects "for
the training or retraining of experienced vocational education personnel such as teachers, teacher educators, administrators, supervisors, and
<"oordinators, and other I?ersonnel, in order to strengthen education
programs and the administration of schools offering vocational edu-cation" (section 553).49 In 1970-72, the leadership development awards
were for 3-year doctoral studies; in 1973, they were used for 1-year
leadership development programs. Eleven institutions of higher education received section 552 grants as well as State grants for section 553
programs. 50 The directors and State coordinators for these programs,
who in all 11 institutions were selected from the ranks of existing staff,
were all white men. 51 Of the 160 participants in the first 11, 3-year
EPDA. doctoral programs, only 20 (12.5 percent) were women; of the
56 participants in the 7 subsequent 3-year EPDA. doctoral programs
only 16 (28.6 percent) were female. Women, however, comprised a considerable higher and increasing percentage of the participants of the
•• The random sample of 400 directors was drawn from a total of 2,148 area vocational
school directors In the United States (Patricia Tucker Sites, "Perceptions of Professional
FemalP Vocational Faculty and Their Administrators of the Role of Professional Women In
.\ren Vocational Schools" (D.E. dissertation, Pennsylvania State University, 1975), pp, 29,
44\. In.December 1972 the house of delegates of the American Vocational Association at Its
Chicago convention passed a resolution that "the • • • Board of Directors authorize a
atmlv · of professional employment in vocational education with regard to the number of
males and females at every level of the profession, the salaries paid to each category of
PmploYee, and any restrictions in promotional opportunities because of sex." However. the
hoard· of directors did not authorize the study (Elizabeth Camp King. preface; and interviPW, Angelo G!lll, vice president, American Vocational Association. Mar. 31, 1975). The
~ite• and the King studies are parts of a series on the status and roles of professionnl
women In vocational education being conducted in the Pennsylvania Department of Vocntlonal Education and Pennsylvania State University. Other studies under this aegis are
Thomas E. Long's "Vocational Female Faculty in Postsecondary Proprletory Schools,"
and Eugenio Basualdo's dissertation (In process) on professional women and school
a<lminlstrators in comprehensive high school vocational programs. The Penns:vlvania State
VniYPrsity Department of Vocational Education has been granted only $3.877 to conduct
nil of these projects (by the Department of Vocational Education, State of Penns:vlvanla,
proiect ~o. 14-3064-"School Unit 4-10-14-720-1"). Though it has been most productive
nationally in research on women, this department was denied funds to replicate a study
of men with women subjects (Angelo C. Gilli, Sr., professor and chairman, graduate studies
and research, Department of Vocational Education, Pennsylvania State University, letter
to Pamela Roby, Apr. 1, 1975,).
47 Carol Karasik, "Women: The Job Ahead" (Washington, D.C.: Technical Education
Research Centers, January 1974), p. 2. In May 1975, one woman, Wilma Ludwig, was
appointed New Mexico's State Director of Vocational Education.
"Puhlic Law 90-1176, 90th Cong,, H.R. 18366, Oct. 16, 1968, an act to amend the Vocational Education Act of 1963, sec. 552 (a).
"Jhid., sec. 553(a).
" 0 '.rhe 11 Institutions were University of California, Los Angeles ; Colorado State ; Connectkut ; Georgia ; Illinois; Minnesota; Rutgers; North Carolina State; Ohio State: Oklahoma State: Oregon State (Phtllyls D. Hamilton, Marian S. Stearns, Harold R. Winslow,
Geonia Gillis, and Kathryn A. Preecs, "The Education Professions 1973-74: Personnel
DeYelopment in Vocational Education" (Menlo Park, Calif. : Stanford Research Institute,
Oct. R1. 1974. nrenarPd for National Center for Educational Statistics), pp. 9, 10).
51 Ibid., pp, 89-90, 93.
Federal Reserve Bank of St. Louis

less prestigious 1-year EPDA graduate programs (25.4: percent in fiscal year 1973 and 42.4 percent in fiscal year 1974). 52
Among the members of the 50 State advisory councils on vocational
education in 1974, less than 17 percent were women. 53 Three women
( only one of whom was employed) and 18 men comprised the National
Advisory Council of Vocational Education in 1975. 54 The requirements for members of the council set by the Vocational Education
Amendments of 1968 attempt to satisfy such interest groups as labor,
management, State, and local vocational education program administrators, representatives of the handicapped, representatives of the
"disadvantaged," and adult vocational education groups, 55 but there
is no effort made to include persons familiar with the special problems
and needs of women. The inclusion of such a person would help assure
that issues relating to women are treated adequately. The inclusion of
more women on the advisory councils would obviously help to eliminate the stereotype that women do not belong in positions of
D. Counseling
In their advice to students, counselors may, wittingly or not, reinforce stereotypes that prevent women from thinking more broadly
a:bout career decisions. 56
Much of the information they provide ( in the tests and career interest inventories they use), the literature they distribute, and the
films they show contain traditional views of occupational and career
opportunities for women. 57 Counselors would benefit greatly in their
efforts to overcome their stereotyped materials from the National
"'Muriel Shay Tapman, education program specialist, vocational education personnel
development sta:tf, Office of Education, De.partment of Health, Education, and Welfare,
letter to Pamela Roby, Mar. 13, 1975. (Note: fiscal year 1974 funds were utlllzed for
programs which began in September 1974 and terminated in August 1975.)
""In 1974, 862 men, 149 women, 108 blacks (81 males), 25 ilpanish surname (19 males),
17 American Indian (12 males), 15 "other'• (Filipinos, Orientals, ;Hawaiians-all males),
and 846 caucaslans (735 males) comprised the State advisory councils on vocational education (data from JoAnn Steiger, National Advisory Council on Vocational Education sta:tf
member, interview, Aug. 9, 1975).
"'The female members of the National Advisory Council on Vocational Education are
Joanne Cohen (student), Caroline Hughes, and Margo Thornly.
""Public Law 90-576, sec. 104. Because appointments on State advisory counclls on
vocational education are not restricted numerically, appointment to them ls less competitive
than to the National Advisory Council. The State councils are appointed by the Governor.
except in those States where the State board of education ls elected by _the people, in which
case the council is appointed by the president of the State board (Martha G. Bachman,
chairperson, Committee on Equal Educational Opportunity, National Advisory Cou-ncil on
Vocational Education, letter to Pamela'Roby, Dec. 2, 1974).
ao For a fine annotated bibliography on the determinants of women's career choice~. see
Helen S. Astin, Nancy Suniewtck, and Susan Dweck, "Women: A Bibliography on Their
Education and Careers" (Washington, D.C.: Human Service Press, 1971), pp. 27-79.
Compare Ella Mae Bowen, "Factors Related to Teacher Assignment of Students to
School Curriculums," an Ed.D. dissertation, Department of Education, University of Illinois
at Urbana, 19751; Margaret Mosure Torrie, "Identification of Student Employment Determinants by Cluster Area and by Sex, Related to Participating and Nonparticipating
Cooperative Education Youth in Selected Urban Programs," an Ed.D, dissertation, Department of Education, University of Illinois, Urbana, 1976.
"'No indepth study has been made of the e:tfect of counseling on girls' role development.
Results of a 4-year longitudinal study of female undergraduate students conducted at
Stanford University show that "women students need special encouragement to develop
intellectual, artistic, and professional ambitions," The study revealed further that "sometimes e.ven a subtle form of consent or disapproval from a male served as a stimulus for a
young woman to advance or retreat" (Marjorie M. Lozo:tf, "Abstract of College Influences
on the Role Development of Female Undergraduates," mimeographed (Palo Alto, Calif.:
Stanford Institute for the Study of Human Problems, 1969), p, 3; compare Agnes C. Rezler,
"Characteristics of High School Girls Choosing Traditional or Pioneer Vocations," Personnel and Guidance Journal, vol. 45, pp, 659-66G),

Federal Reserve Bank of St. Louis

Institute of Education's recently developed "Guidelines for Assessment of Sex Bias and Sex Fairness in Career Interest Inventories." 58
Another good resource for career counselors is the film on women in
apprenticable occupations entitled "Never Underestimate the Power
of a Woman," produced by the U.S. Department of Labor-sponsored
Wisconsin Women in Apprenticeship project, which is available from
the Wisconsin Employment Service. Though this film portrays only
women in their thirties or older, it would be appreciated as well by
younger girls, especially in the absence, to date, of a similar film for
younger women. The Sex Equality in Guidance Opportunities project
(SEGO) of the American Personnel and Guidance Association
(APGA) funded by the U.S. Office of Education also offers elementary and secondary school counselors technical assistance in changing
sex-role stereotypes. 59
Vocational education counseling for women would be greatly enhanced by offering summer institutes or in-service training programs
to counselors to provide them with the most up-to-date information
and to assist them in finding new means to help junior and senior
high school girls consider a wide range of job possibilities and enroll
in courses that will help them to qualify for jobs other than those
traditionally viewed as women's.
At the point that a girl decides she would like a career in the labor
force, a counselor can be very helpful. Considering her earlier socialization, a girl may begin to experience self-doubt, the result of "internalized barriers"-is this the proper thing for a woman to do? ,v-m
men still like me? Will I lose my femininity? Will I be able to do a
good joM She may also discover that she cannot gain access to the
courses she wants, and that she is unable to find a counselor who has
more than a minimum of information or support for her. 60 Indeed,
Bailey a~d Stadt point o~t that t~~ knowl~dge base required for
effective, mformed occupational adv1smg of girls has yet to be developed. They explain that "major theoretical formulations have not
distinguished between the sexes, and empirical tests for these theories
have been limited almost entirely to boys and men. Only a few studies
have approched female vocational behavior from the standpoint of the
currently accepted theories." 61 Certainly, McAlister as well as Bailey
.. National Institute of Education, "Guidelines for Assessment of Sex Bias and Sex Fairness in Career Interest Inventories," in Issues of Sex Bias and Sex Fairness in Career
Interest Measurement, editor, Esther E. Diamond (Washington, D.C. : GoverD111ent PrintIng Office, 1975, available from Career Education Program, National Institute of Education, Washington, D.C. 20208), pp. xxiii-xxiX; compare Carol B. Crump, editor, Report of
Proceedings : Workshop on Sex Bias and Sex Fairness in Career Interest Inventories
(Washington, D.C.: National Institute of Education, November 1974).
59 In its descriptive brochure, "The Sex Equality in Guidance Opportunities Project,"
SEGO states, "In considering the question of sex equality, it is important to recognize that
sex bias need not be blatant or malicious before it can be damaging. Counselors and other
educators are key individuals who motivate and guide ·Students in the selection of course
offerings and careers. Their programs and materials should be free of sex bias. To reach
these key persons • • • the State trainers of the SEGO project ( one from each State and
the District of Columbia), were selected and brought to Washington, D.C., for an intensive
4-day training workshop (on various questions related to sex discrimination • • • and
strategies for change. • • • [T]he State trainers • • • will go back to their States and
conduct local workshops • • • under the project's direction and funding. • * • [A J multimedia kit for [their] • * • use • * * contains nearly 10-0 items of print materials, a
new filmstrip, [a] booklet [which] lists organizations, publishers and reports [about] • • •
sex bias • • • [and] a list of the 51 State trainers. • • .* A .flniH report of the project
will be available In the fall of 1975." Copies of this booklet or information about the project
ean be obtained from the SEGO project, APGA, Sex Equality in Guidance Opportunities
Project, 1607 New Hampshire Avenue, NW., Washington, D.C. 20009.
•° Compare Kaufman et al. (note 5 above), pp. 10-14; JoAnn Gardner, "Sexist Counseling Must Stop," Personnel and Guidance Journal 49 (1971) : 705-715.
81 Larry J. Balley and Ronald W. Stadt, "Career Education: New Approaches to Human
Development (Bloomington, Ill.: McKnight Publishing Co., 1973), p. 140.
Federal Reserve Bank of St. Louis

and Stadt suggest that research needs to be undertaken on the manner
in which females make career decisions and on how career advisinO'
processes for girls and women may be improved. 62
Improved career counseling, Bailey and Stadt suggest should begin
with the concept of tota_l _life planning: Since, they write, a shift has
occurred from the "traditionally orgamzedfamily where the husband
was the sole breadwinner and the wife was the sole homemaker, to
multiple-role families in which both partners share responsibilities
for the household tasks and for earning * * * young women need to
prepare for multiple roles during different periods of their lives." 63
Girls might also be given the opportunity to consider being, and to
prepare for being, smgle most or all their Jives. Bailey and Stadt
recommend two areas in which changes should begin. The first is to
expose myths about women. The U.S. Department of Labor's handout entitled "The Myth and the Reality" provides accurate information in a readable form about such myths as "women work only for
'pin money,'" women cost companies more because they are "ill more
than male workers," and "men do not like to work for women supervisors." 64 The second area is "expansion of educational programs and
services to help girls and women become aware of the broader opportunities open to them." Here, they suggest that consciousness-raising
group meetings might expedite "recognition of the fact that many of
women's problems are universal and not individual" and that this
recognition might accelerate "individual discovery and self-development." 65 This process can be enriched by occasional meetings with
counselors who utilize informational brochures and slide shows concerning vocational and educational opportunities.
I would add seven suggestions. Vocational education counselors
might provide girls with tours of a variety of vocational classrooms
and visits to a variety of industries so that they may learn not onl_y
about the nature of specific jobs but also about wage differentials
among jobs and industries. 66 Women employed in a wide range of
traditionally male and female occupations might be invited to discuss
their experiences with students. Although boys are generally better
informed than girls about industrial and other jobs, such tours and
discussions would also be useful to them. Counselors could provide
girls and women with information about occupational trends. Because we do not know enough about how sex-role stereotypes dampen girls' motivations to pursue traditionally male careers, imaginative research is needed. For example, a series of posters showing
women in different kinds of work with various kinds of slogans could
be tested for varying responses among girls of differing ages. 67 Girls
and women already in a traditionally male vocational education program could serve as "big sisters" to those newly entering the program.
""Bernard Milton McAlister, "Curriculum Selection Success of 10th Grade Girls as Related to Selected Ninth Grl;lde Characteristics" (State College: State Department of Vocational Erlucation, Pennsylvania State University, 1974), pp. 92-93; H. A. Rose and C. F.
Elton, "Sex and Occupational Choice," Journal of Counseling Psychology, vol. 18, No. 5
"' Bailey and Stadt, p. 143.
°' U.S. Department of Labor, Women's Bureau, "The Myth and the Reality" (Washington. D.C.: Government Printing Office, 1971).
05 Bailey and Stadt, p, 146.
86 Sally ,Hillsman Baker conducted an in-depth study of a large New York City vocational
high school and found that, through a variety of actions, the school sorted women Into
dift'erent levels of work according to their racial and ethnic background ( Sally Hillsman
Baker, "Entry Into the Labor Market: The Pre,paratlon of Negro and White Vocational
High School Graduates" (Ph.D. dissertation, Columbia University, 1970).
111 I am indebted to Norma Wikler for this idea.
Federal Reserve Bank of St. Louis

Simulated job-experience programs like those developed by John
Krumboltz et al. in medical laboratory technology, X-ray technology,
sales, and banking could be developed for girls and women in job
areas in which expansion is projected. The Krumboltz Career Kits
present problems "typical of those encountered by workers in the five
occupations. The materials present the information necessary to solve
the problems," give "subjects an opportunity to solve the problemst
and allow "them to compare their answers with the correct ones." The
Krumboltz Kits "consistently produced more interest and more occupational information seeking" among students than control treatments. 68 Joseph Champagne has pointed out that, to insure the accepttance of such counseling and educational programs by parents and
community members, counselors should educate these groups about
the need to open traditionally male occupations to women. Open
houses and meetings with parents; addresses to community groups;
television, radio, and newspaper exposure; film and/or slide presentations; and the distribution of informational brochures may all be
useful. 69
The counselor's role in vocational education for women needs to be
expanded to include actual job counseling. In many communities,
despite equal employment laws, jobs in traditionally male occupations
are still not made available to women. Kaufman's study shows that
men are considerably more likely than women to obtain their first job
through a relative or friend. 70 Because this "old boy" system maintains prejudices, and because many employers have their own sexist
inclinations, vocational education counselors need to develop strategies to encourage local employers to hire women and to increase
the number of women they hire directly from vocational education
schools for nontraditional occupations.
Along with increasing employers' willingness to hire women and
helping women students to find jobs, counselors could teach students
techniques for applying and interviewing for jobs. Because of their
early socialization, many women are overly modest about their abilities. They need to be taught that a bit of honest boasting is called
for on job applications and in interviews.
68 The Krumboltz kits are now being distributed by Science Research Associates under
the name "Job Experience Kits" (see John D. Krumboltz, Lawrence E. Sheppard, G. Brian
.Toni's, Richard G. Johnson, and Ronald D. Baker, "Vocational Problem-Solving Experiences
for Stimulating Career_Exploratlon and Interest," final report to U.S. Office of Education
under contract No. OE--5--85--059 (School of Education, Stanford University, August
1967) ; Krumboltz, Ronald D. Baker, and Richard G. Johnson, "Vocational Problem-Solving
Experiences for Stimulating Career Exploration and Interest: Phase II," final report to
U.S. Office of Education under contract No. OEG-4-7-070111-2890 (School of Education
Stanford University, August 1968); documents Ed015517 and Ed029101, avallable from the
ERIC Document Reproduction Service, P.O, Drawer 0, Bethesda, Md. 20044). Cf. Linda B.
Stebbins, Nancy L. Ames, Ilana Rhodes, "Sex Fairness In Career Guidance· A Learning
Kit," Cambridge, Mass.: Abt Publications, 1976; Louise Vetter, Alice J. Brown, Barbara
J. Sethney, "Women In the Work Force: Followup Study of Curriculum Materials," Columbus. Ohio : Center for Vocational Education, Ohio State University, 1975.
89 "Equal Vocational Education," a project by the Center for Human Resources
University of Houston, in cooperation with the Houston Independent School District, sponsored
by the Division of Occupational Research and Development, Texas Education Agencv
February 1975-June 1976, mimeographed (Houston, Tex. : University of Houston, 1976) '.
p. 5; cf. Jane Lerner, Fredell Bergstrom, and Joseph E. Champagne, "Equal Vocational Education, Houston, Tex.: Center for Human Resources, University of Houston, 1976.
Federal Reserve Bank of St. Louis



Civil rights laws now state that women may participate fully and
equally in the labor market. The industrial and social fabric of this
nation req_uires that women be granted training to qualify for full
participation and to be self-supporting. What is required now to help
fulfill the Federal mandate is the extension of all types of vocational
education to women. In the appendix, I offer a series of suggestions
for amending of the U.S. "Vocational Education Amendments of
1968" which are designed (a) to include the female sex specifically,
(b) to treat women with equality in all aspects of vocational education, and ( c) to take various steps to advance opportunities for girls
and women and to overcome sex stereotyping and sexual biases within
vocational education programs. In addition, recommendations are
made for Federal and State policy on affirmative action matters, as
well as the development and use of quality films to broaden women's
participation in vocational education and jobs. Finally, suggestions
are ofl'ered to guarantee equity to women in research and development programs in the vocational education field.
At the local level, policymakers, administrators, and program developers could assist high school girls by removing barriers to their
entry into schools and courses for which they otherwise qualify, by
reviewing the curriculum and counseling materials for misleading
stereotypes, and by providing inservice training programs for teachers and counselors.
At the postsecondary vocational education level, policymakers and
administrators could help women by providing child care at low
sliding-scale rates, by examining who is notified by postsecondary vocational education programs and extending publicity to all groups of
women currently not reached, and by examining all public information materials for sex bias. They might also locate vocational_ programs near public transportation lines and decentralize programs so
that women without cars may participate in them, form student support groups of women who have returned to school after several years
of absence, and ascertain that all students receive information concerning recent equal employment laws and opportunities for women
in traditionally male occupations.
1Ve can hope that when Federal, State, and local legislators and
administrators establish a full employment economy, they will also
provide women with equal vocational education opportumties.

Toward the goal of guaranteeing equity for women in vocational education,
I recommend that the Vocational Educational .Amendments of 1968 be further
amended as follows :
Section 101 ( "Declaration of Purpose") to ,itate that "members of both
sexes shall be given equal educational opportunities in all areas of vocational education."
Section 104 ("National and State .Advisory Councils"-subsections [a]
[1] and (b] [1]) of the .Amendments to state that the National and the
State .Advisory Councils on Vocational Education "shall include persons
(a) who are familiar with the special problems women must confront in
vocational education, and (b) who are representative of women."
Federal Reserve Bank of St. Louis

Section 106 ("Labor Standards") which states: "All laborers and mechanics employed by contractors or subcontractors on all construction
projects assisted under this title shall be paid wages at rates not less than
those prevailing as determined by the Secretary of Labor in accordance
with the Davis-Bacon Act. as amended (40 U.S.C. 276a-276a-5)" to state,
"and shall be hired, promoted and paid wages without regard to sex, race,
color, religion or national origin."
Section 107 ( "Limitation on Payments under This Title") to include a subsection (c) which states: "Nothing contained in this title shall ,be construed
to authorize the making of any payment under this title for sexually segre•
gated insitruction, or for the construction, operation, or mai1l!tenan.ce of any
facility which is used or is Ito be used for sexually segregated instruct.i!On."
Section 122 ("Uses of Fedeml Funds''), subsection (a) (6) ("G.rants oo
States for Vocational Guidance and Counseling") to authorize, as Steiger has
recommended, !the use of funds to educate guidance counselors albout :the
changing work patterns of women, to train them in ways of effectively confronting occupational sex stereotyping and of helping girls and women base
their career choices on their occupational needs and interests rather than on
sex stereotypes; and to develop career-counseling materials which are free
of sexual !bias.
Section 122 (a) (8) to authorize the use of funds for the development of
curriculum materials and in-service training programs to overcome sex bias
in vocational education programs and to enable teachers to meet the vocational education needs of female students.•
Section 122 (b) to authorize 100 percent federal funding to states for the
establishment of an Office for Women within the State Departments of Vocational Education which would (a) gather and analyze data on the status
of female students and employees throughout the state vocational education system: ( b) coordinate ·actions to correct the problems uncovered by
the data analysis: (o) review the dissemination of grants by the State Department of Vocational Education and assure that women's interests and
needs are addressed by the projects funded; (d) review vocational education programs in the state for sex bias; (e) review all hiring, firing, and
promotion procedures within the state vocational education system for
sex discrimination; (f) review and submit recommendations for the annual
State Vocational Education Plan; (g) assist local school systems and
others in the state in improving vocational education opportunities for
women; and ( h) develop an annual report on the status of women within
the state's vocational education system; submit it to the State Commissioner of Vocational Education, the State Board of Vocational Education,
the State and the National Advisory Councils on Vocational Education, the
State Commission on the Status of Women, and the Commissioner of the
U.S. Office of Education; and make it available to all interested parties.•
Section 123 ("State Plans") subsection (a) (3) which reads: "Any State
desiring to receive the amount for which it is eligible for any fiscal year
pursuant to this title 1shaU submit a State plan at such time, in such detail,
and containing such information as the Commissioner deems necessary,
which meets the requirements set forth in this title. The Commissioner
shall approve a plan ·submitted by a State if he determines that the plan
submitted for tb:at year ... (3) has been submitted only after the state
hoard . . ." to also state : ( C) has assured the review of the Plan by the
Office for Women of the State Department of Vocational Education, has
Hself given due consideration to the needs of female students, and has aRsurecl that all programs and projects included under the plan are clesignecl
to attract persons of both sexes and that no sex stereotyping exists in the
pro~rams and projects included under the plan.
Section 123. subsection (a) (6) to specify that 5 percent of Part B funds
he set aside for a State incentive program for local school districts to encourage schools to overcome sex bias in vocational education.

1 .ToAnn M. Steiger, "Overcoming Sex Stereotyping in Vocational Flducatlon: RecommPnilationR for Revisini? the Vocational Education Amendments of 1968," mimeographed
()frLPan. Ya.: Steiger, Fink, 1974), p. 6.

• Jhld .• p. "·

• Wisconsin and North Carolina now have State-funded positions to review all vo<'ational
Pdncation programs and research for sexual and ra<'ial bias and to encourage positl,e programs for women and minorities.
Federal Reserve Bank of St. Louis

Section 123, subsection (a) (17) to require the submision of employment
and enrollment data by sex for all vocational education programs.
Section 131 ("Research and Training in Vocational Education-Authorization of Grants and Contracts") subsections (a) and (b) to provide for
5 percent of all grant funds to be ,set aside to be used as incentives to grant
and contract recipients to include females in their (1) research and training programs, (2) experimental, developmental, or pilot programs, and (3)
dissemination of information derived from the foregoing programs or research.
Section 132 ("Research and Training in Vocational Education-Uses of
Federal Funds") to include a subsection stating that funds may be used
to investigate sex bias in the vocational education system; and to develop
research, training, experimental, developmental, and pilot programs ; evaluation, demonstration, and dissemination projects; and new vocational education curricula and counseling materials designed to equalize vocational
education opportunities for male and female students and eliminate sex
stereotyping within vocational education.
Section 133 ("Applications for Research and Training Funds") to include
a subsection ( c) stating that the Commissioner 'shall encourage both sexes
to apply for grants and contracts under Part C.
Section 143 ("Exemplary Programs and Projects-Users of Funds")
subsection (a) (2) to additionally include funding for (F) programs designed to overcome traditional sex stereotyping in vocational education
programs, in placement services, and in programs and projects to achieve
the purposes of this part, including those of manpower agencies and industry.
Section 143, subsection (b) (1) to include a provision (D) that effective
procedures and policies will be adopted by grantees and contractors to assure that no sex stereotyping exists within their programs or projects including the exclusive use of the term "he" in materials developed under
the program or projects.
Section 143, subsection (b) to include a provision stating (5) that the Commissioner shall encourage both sexes to apply for grants and contracts under
Part D.
Section Hl1 ("Consumer and Homemaking Education") subsection (b) to
additionally state that for purposes of this part the state plan approved under
Section 123 shall set forth a program under which federal funds paid to state
from its allotment under subsection (a) will be expended solely for (3)
educational programs and ancillary services designed to attract students of
both sexes.
Section 173 ("Cooperative Vocational Education Programs-Plan Requirements") subsection (a) to specify that (1) funds will be used only for developing and operating cooperative work-study programs as defined in Section 175 which ... are free of sex stereotyping; and ( 8) accounting. evaluation, and follow-up procedures as the Commissioner deems necessary will be
provided including evaluation of the program's benefit to both sexes.
Section 182 (""\Vork-Study Programs for Vocational Education StudentsPlan Requirement") subsection (b) to state that a work-study program
shall ... (2) provide that employment under such work-study program shall
be furnished only to a student who ... (D) has been selected without regard
to sex, race, color. religion, or national origin.
Section 191 ("Curriculum Development in Vocational and Technical Education-Authorization") subsection (c) (1) to additionally state that sums
appropriated pursuant to subsection (b) shall be used by the Commissioner ... ( G) to promote the development and dissemination of vocational
education curriculum materials whlch are free of sex stereotyping and which
aid both sexes in learning about a wide range of occupational subjects
regardless of the sexual stereotypes previously associated with them, to train
personnel in the use of these curricular materials, and to evaluate existing
vocational-technical education curriculum materials as to sex bias.
Section 552 ("Training and Development Programs for Vocational Education Personnel-Leadership Development Awards") subsection (a) to specify
that the Commissioner shall make available leadnship development awards
in accordance with the provisions of this part only upon his determination
that . . . (D) adequate provision has been made for appropriate ,;election
procedures without regard to sex, race, color, religion. or national origin.
Federal Reserve Bank of St. Louis

Section 553 ("Exchange Programs, Institutes, and Inservice Education for
Vocational Education Teachers, Supervisors, Coordinators, and Administrators") subsection (b) (2) to state that Grants under this section may be
used for projects and activities such as ... (2) in-service training programs
for vocational education teachers and other staff members to prove the
quality of instruction, supervision, and administration of vocational education programs; and to overcome sex stereotyping and sexual biases within
vocational education programs.
Recommendations for Improved Federal and State Policies and Practices

The U.S. Department of Health, Education, and Welfare should fully
implement the guidelines for Title IX of the Education Amendments Act of
,1972 (P.L.92---818).

The Administration should increase its appropriations for Federal and regional enforcement budgets for the U.S. Office of Civil Rights and the U.S.
Equal Employment Opportunity Commission to the full amount authorized
by the U.S. Congress so that Federal civil rights laws may be enforced in
vocational education and elsewhere ; state administrations should do likewise
for the enforcement of state civil rights laws.
The U.S. Commissioner of Education should take steps to assure that appropriate affirmative action procedures are followed in the hiring and promotion of state vocational education directors, state vocational education
supervisors, area vocational school directors, state vocational education coordinators, state research coordinating unit directors, institutional directors
of EPDA (Education Professional Development Act) programs, and vocational education teachers and counselors ; in the selection and placement
follow-up of participants for EPDA programs; and in the selection of vocational education research and training project directors.
The U.S. Office of Education should develop and distribute quality films
for high school girls and their parents on opportunities for women in apprenticeship programs and in traditionally male courses of study and jobs, on
women's needs for good-paying work today, and on equal employment laws
and women's job rights. To guarantee equity to women in vocational education the following efforts need to be made :
The U.S. Commissioner of Education and State Directors of Vocational
Education : assure that a statement that "sex discrimination including sex
stereotyping is illegal in any form" is prominantly positioned on all announcements of, applications for, and approvals of research and development
The U.S. Commissioner of Education: keep annual status reports on the
percentage of research and development grant or contract directors who are
women : provide for the dissemination of all research findings on means of
improving the efl'ectiveness of vocational education for women to all state
vocational education directors, all directors of state vocational education
offices for women, and all directors of vocational education systems within
the United States.
Federal Reserve Bank of St. Louis




The picture today_____________________________________________
Exclusion of women from apprenticeship_________________________
"Women's Work": Underrated, so not apprenticeable______________
Some recommendations________________________________________
Modest progrP~s ----------------------------------------------




Apprenticeship is an avenue to skilled, responsible, and well-paid
employment which has been, and is, blocked to most women. After
analyzing current apprenticeship statistics and discussing the reasons
for the virtual exclusion of women from apprenticeship, this paper
makes recommendations for action to encourage women's participation. Without full employment, however, efforts to increase women's
participation in apprenticeship will be less than effective, the paper
concludes. Apprenticeship opportunities tend to decrease as unemployment increases; women also tend to suffer unemployment disproportionately.
The most recent Bureau of Apprenticeship and Training report
listed 3,545 women as registered apprentices in the United States as
of June 1976.1 Women constituted slightly over 1 percent of all 267,645
registered apprentices.
There are 415 different trades and crafts learned through apprenticeship at this time. 1 a Nationally the 21 construction trades account
for approximately 64 percent of all apprentices. Another 32 trades
account for all but 3 percent of apprentices.
The distribution of women apprentices throughout the 53 major
trades continues to be quite different than that of men. In 1975 there
were only 8 groupings listed with more than 100 women apprentices:
barbers and beauticians, bookbinders and bindery workers, carpenters,
typesetters, cooks and bakers, electricians, machinists, and toolmakers
and diemakers. Eleven percent of all women apprentices were preparing to be barbers or beauticians, the only trade that had more
women ( 496 or 54.5 percent) than men apprentices. Seventeen percent
•Executive secretary. WIRconsln Commls~lon on the Status of Women, Madison, Wis.
Data 1wthererl bv the State and National Apprentice S:vstem /SNAPS). Telephoni,
convPrsatlon with the Bureau of Apprenticeship and Training (BAT), Department of
1 • Apprenticeship Is a formal on-the-job traintng program by private industry, usually
under labor-manaJl'ement agreement, which requires a minimum of 1 year or 2.000 hours
of training and off'ers established graduated compensation. It is carried out by the Bureau
of Apprenticeship and Training (BAT), Department of Labor.
Federal Reserve Bank of St. Louis


of all bookbinders and bindery workers were women, 9.7 percent of all
typesetters, 7.9 percent of all medical and dental technicians, 5.9 percent of all cooks and bakers, 5.6 percent of all electronic technicians,
5.3 percent of all industrial technicians, and 4.2 percent of all optical
workers. Of the remaining major trades, there was more than 1
woman out of every 100 apprentices only among aircraft mechanics, butchers and meatcutters, cabinetmakers and millmen, draftsmen, linemen (light and power), lithographers and photoengravers,
office machine servicemen,2 painters, patternmakers, printing and publishing workers, and taping and dry-wall installers. Only thirty-six
hundredths of 1 percent (0.36) of all construction trades apprentices
were women.
In 1973, the first year in which the State-National Apprenticeship
Reporting System was in operation, 2,378 women were counted,
slightly less than 1 percent of that year's 243,956 registered apprentices. There were at that time significantly smaller numbers of women
apprentices registered as barbers a,nd beauticians, bindery workers,
meatcutters, carpenters, cooks and bakers, linemen ( light and power),
machinists, medical and dental technicians, office machine servicemen,
painters, pipefitters, printing and publishing workers, and tool and
diemakers. There were, however, larger numbers of women registered
as auto and related mechanics, bricklayers, cabinetmakers, electricians,
industrial technicians, insulation workers, lithographers, mechanics
and repairmen, plumbers and roofers than in 1975. In 1973 women
comprised thirty-five hundredths of 1 percent (0.35) of all construction trades apprentices.





For the first 60 years of this century there was virtually unanimous
ncceptance of the fact that the skilled trades and the apprenticeship
training that led to journeyperson status was a "male only" preserve.
With the exception of one occupation-that of beautician-almost all
employers, journeymen, apprentices and related training classroom
instructors were men. Since the first State passed a law in 1911 mandating the registration of all apprentice contracts, and Congress passed
the National Apprenticeship Act in 1937, all hut a handful of the
Government-employed apprentice representatives were men, frequently men who themselves had been trained for a trade through
It has been common knowledge among blue-collar level individuals
that workers in the skilled trades commanded good wages. Though this
was somewhat mortifying to many who spent a great deal of time and
money obtaining college degrees as a passport to the good life, they
were able to comfort themselves with the fact that their degrees conferred on them a higher status, even if no higher earning ability. The
fact is that for high school graduates who did not have the financial
resources to continue their education in the classroom, apprenticeship
• Despite the fact that the U.S. Bureau of the Census modified titles In its occupational
classification system in 1973 to remove sex-stereotyped occupational titles, as of October
1976 tbe Bureau of Apprenticeship and Training (BAT) was still using the old sex-linkecl
terminology. Nine of the fifty-three trades were listed as men of one kind or another In
reports generated by the State-National Apprentice Reporting System, even thou~h other
BAT publications had converted to sex-neutral terminology (for example, cabinetmukermuchinist, wood; drafter; line installer-re.pairer; office-machines mechanic).
Federal Reserve Bank of St. Louis

training m a trade was a bargain. It offered an unparalleled opportunity to learn while earning a wage, and at the encl 0£ the 2- to 5-year
learning period, to be publicly recognized as having a valuable-if
relative low status-skill that would he rewarded with wages sufficient
to keep a family at a satisfactory standard 0£ living. The extraordinary value 0£ a completed apprenticeship is attested to by: (1) the
large numbers 0£ hopefuls on the waiting lists for openings; (2) the
stories, some no doubt apocryphal, that the only way to get into a
certain trade in a given city was to be the son 0£ a journeyman already
in it; and ( 3) until the affirmative action push 0£ the past 12 years, the
almost complete absence 0£ minorities from the skilled trades.
The reawakening of the women's movement in the late 1960's re-created an awareness 0£ the large-and rising-numbers 0£ women who
headed families and who needed to become adequate breadwinners. It
was also the time when growing numbers 0£ feminists ,vere looking
about with new vision and exclaiming in shock at the stratification and
segregation 0£ society by sex. One 0£ them, inevitably, turned her eyes
toward the blue-collar workers.
In 1970 the Manpower Administration funded a very modest research and demonstration project, Women in Wisconsin Apprenticeships. Its goal was to isolate, analyze, and minimize the barriers to
women's entry into the skilled trades via apprenticeship.
Some of the project's findings, as summarized in the subsequent
Manpower Research Monograph No. 33, "Women in Apprenticeship"'Vhy Not?" 3 were unsurprising: that since the world 0£ the skilled
trades was populated entirely by males it simply did not occur to most
women, girls, or their counselors that they should seek to enter it. One
survey of 78 establishments that trained Wisconsin State-registered
apprentices discovered not only that all 0£ the current apprentices
were male, but that in the memory 0£ everyone concerned, only two
women had ever applied for an apprenticeship and both 0£ these had
been turned down.
The survey showed that perceptions of women as workers disadvantaged them: almost half the respondents in all-male establishments
thought that women were not as satisfactory in production work as
men; over a quarter of all respondents felt there were some jobs in
their plant that no woman could possibly do; over three-quarters felt
there were some skilled trades particularly suited to women-most frequently mentioned were sewing, upholstery, interior decorating and
drafting-while two-thirds said they would hesitate to consider a
woman £or some apprenticeable trades. Over half explained that their
reluctance was due to the "unsuitable" working conditions of the trade:
the work involved long hours, was "dirty" or "heavy."
The irony 0£ the situation was that side by side with the deeply held
chivalrous notions of the respondents that precluded their seriously
considering women for apprenticeship skill-training opportunities,
the same survey found that 34 of the 78 establishments employed
women on the shop floor doing unskilled work under precisely those
"unsuitable" working conditions. Thirty-two percent 0£ the establishments had ,vomen doing "dirty" work, 41 percent "noisy," 4 7 percent
"messy," 47 percent had women working irregular hours. These women
3 Norma Briggs, "Women In Apprenticeshlp.-Why Not?" Manpower Research Monograph
No. 33 (Washingtc,n, D.C. : U.S. Department of Labor, 1974).
Federal Reserve Bank of St. Louis


were invisible, howe,-er, since the following proportions of respondents
from the all-male shops in the same towns did not know that women
anywhere did dirty work ( 46 percent), worked under noisy conditions
( 41 percent), did messy work ( 38 percent), or worked irregular hours
( 29 percent).
vVomen were not perceived as "skilled" workers. Though all the
establishments reported some male employees doing skilled work, only
one-tenth reported employing women in a skilled capacity. When questioned in detail, however, 50 percent of the establishments that had
women on the shop floor employed them in jobs requiring mechanical
aptitude, 38 percent employed them in work requiring technical rubility, and 18 percent used women in jobs that demanded mechanical skill
::i,nd experience. Once again respondents from the all-male shops in
the same communities demonstrated the invisibility of facts when they
controvert the popular wisdom, for 44 percent of them did not know of
women anywhere who performed work that required mechanical aptitude, 37 percent knew of no women doing work that required technical ability, and 42 percent were ignorant of any woman doing a job
that called for mechanical skill and experience.
The misconception that commonly held stereotypes coincided with
fact was not limited to employers and apprentice supervisors. The
project found evidence throughout the skilled-trade training hierarchy
that: Newspapers commonly divided help wanted classified advertisements into separate male and female columns; employment service
staff-for convenience-put cards recording employment openings
into different boxes according to skilled or unskilled and male or
female; schools steered non-college-bound boys into industrial arts
classes and non-college-bound girls into home economics or typing
classes; even manpower training programs, which had the express
aim of helping families get off welfare, continued to develop deadend traditional women's jobs £or single women of households
that paid them less than their welfare check entitled them to; at the
same time, men, even without families to support, were placed in
jobs with better base pay and more chance for future mobility.
Some of the other findings of the Women in Wisconsin Apprenticeships project were quite unexpected and have yet to be acted upon.
One discovery was that the two-volume Department of Labor publication, "The Dictionary of Occupational Titles" (DOT) was not
as reliable as might be expected. It described the workplace and
jobs of different complexity about as accurately as the famous New
Yorker's map of the United States, in which the South, Midwest,
and ,vest are depicted as being so small and unimportant that New
York City and State dominate the page. In the case of the DOT,
it is jobs which develop from homemaking and parent skills that
are treated as being unimportant; occupational areas which are overwhelmingly female, such as office and clerical work, are classified in
the same negative manner. Ratings in the DOT classify the jobs of
restroom attendant, newspaper carrier, and parking lot attendant
as being comparable in complexity and level of skills as those of nursery school teacher, practical nurse, foster parent, or houseparent in
Federal Reserve Bank of St. Louis

a government institution. Dog trainer and hotel clerk are rated
as far more responsible and complex than any of the above four jobs
mentioned-even more skilled than a general duty hospital nurse.
One of the practical effects of this underrating of "women's work"
is the unrealistic automatic limitation set on training periods which
are reimbursable under federally funded employment programs. For
at least the last hal:f-dozen years a formula to compute appropriate
Jength of time needed for on-the-job training for any rated jobs has
been set by a "DOT code conversion chart." The principle is simplethe lower the complexity of the job, the less time needed to train
for it. According to this conversion chart, a person off the street
should be able to be fully trained and qualified to function as a nursery
school teacher with 4 weeks of on-the-job training. According to
Department of Labor policy, all Comprehensive Employment and
Training Act (CETA) prime sponsors offering on-the-job training
are limited to the period of time indicated by the DOT conversion
Another practical effect of the underrating of many traditional
women's jobs is virtually to exclude them from consideration for
apprenticeship. Government apprentice officials who are responsible
for registration and approval of apprentice training programs argue,
reasonab]y, that they cannot approve jobs classified as requiring few
or no skills as eligible for a system that requires a minimum of 1
year or 2,000 hours of on-the-job training.
Another somewhat unexpected situation that still needs to be acted
upon decisively is the following. Although there are large numbers
of skilled and paraprofessional jobs that fit criteria for apprenticeship,4 with one or maybe two outstanding exceptions, all trades that
have been recognized and approved for formal apprenticeships have
been in "traditionally male" occupations. Traditionally female occupations have been overlooked and neglected for apprenticeship. This
is despite the fact that in some-practical nursing, for example-there have been jobs for the already trained going begging, while
there have been women on long waiting lists for trainee slots in institutions offering formal classroom teaching that the potential trainees
can ill-afford.
When one considers the rapidly rising numbers of women heading
households and of displaced homemakers, it makes eminent sense for
government enthusiastically to sponsor apprenticeship programs in
which these women can learn new skills or sharpen old ones so that
they can be paid at the skilled level.
The women in Wisconsin apprenticeships project demonstrated
what could be done along these lines with the occupation of day care
teacher. Day care in 1971 was a rapidly expanding industry, with
most centers operating on a shoestring while expecting a massive
influx of Federal funds. Industry aims were generally high; the Jarger
centers were administered by idealistic child development specialists
who had no intention of simply running babysitting services, but
• 29 CFR, pt. 29-4 (as proposed Oct. 19, 1976) defines an apprenticeable occupation as
a sk!IJed trade which possesses all the following: (a) It is customarily learni,d in a practical way through a structured, systematic program of on-the-job supervised training. (b)
It Is clearly identified and commonly recognized throughout an industry. (o) It involves
manual, mechanical, or technical skllls and knowledge which require a minimum of 2,000
hours of on-the-job work experience. (d) It requires related instruction to supplement the
on-the-job training.
Federal Reserve Bank of St. Louis

whose budgets precluded them from competing for university-trained
professional teachers. Those that received Federal :funding were encouraged to hire parents and develop competency-based career ladders.
Many centers were struggling to provide extensive in-service training
programs on their own. As a service industry, day care was caught
in society's conflicting values; deep concern for high-quality comprehensive child care, with a concomitant unwillingness to provide
adequate :funds. Consequently, day care centers could not afford apprenticeship's financial obligations-the payment o:f periodic salary
increments and o:f wages to both apprentires and substitute workers
during related instruction classes.
In this Wisconsin project, program startup :funds were given to
employers by the Federal Government through its "jobs optional" program :for training ·and upgrading disadvantaged employees; assurances o:f relevant related instruction were provided by the vocational,
technical, and adult education system. 5 These incentives more than offset skepticism ·at becoming involved in an experiment ·as unfamiliar
as apprenticeship, with its strange terminology ·and associoition ( in
some employers' minds) with union control. There were, inevitably,
some program setbacks and surprises----filld some innovative responses
to unprecedented situations. The experienced practitioners in an occupation new to apprenticeship had little experience in passing on their
skills in an on-the-job situation and none in coordinating their work
training with the theoretical material given weekly to the apprentices
by the technical school instructors from the newly devised curriculum.
A pilot "journeyperson upgrade" program was sponsored so that those
who found _themselves in an entirely new role as on-the-job trainers of
apprentices were able to improve the quality of their contribution by
becoming familiar with the overall program and its interlocking
parts. By June H>73, over 100 people had been registered as day care
apprentices and 10 had successfully completed the program.
The project recommended that the Federal Government provide
:funding to set up similar programs involving trainees, industry, and
Government re,presentatives in this and other occupations in other
States. It suggested tha;t health rel'ated occupations would be a good
place to start. Certainly health facility administrators, caught in the
squeeze between meeting Federal standards of accreditation and keeping down costs, are eager to explore ways of capitalizing on the skills
already informally developed by their staff. They are interested in
gaining recognition for their inservice training programs and obtaining subsidized help :from local vocational-technical schools.



Other recommendations made by the women in Wisconsin apprenticeship project were:
1. That government should make participation in registered, newly
established programs attractive to participants through tax credits
or reductions to employers. Registration of programs makes feasible
both quality control and compliance with equal employment opportunity guidelines. One other highly successful incentive for the regis5 In Wisconsin, related instruction classes must be provided by the vocational, technical.
and aduJt education system at almost no cost to apprentices or their employers if
they are m a State-registered apprenticeship program.
Federal Reserve Bank of St. Louis

tration of apprenticeship programs has been the payment of a stipend
to veterans who are in registered apprenticeship and training programs. In order to receive his stipend, the veteran makes sure the program he enters is registered. In 1975, 35½ percent of all apprentices
registered were receiving veterans' stipends.
2. That apprenticeship outreach programs be established for women
modeloo along the lines of those establishoo for minority males. Since
1967, increasing numbers of apprenticeship outreach programs had
been funded by the Department of Labor under the Manpower Development and Training Act. In the 5 fiscal years from 1970 through
1974, contracts totaling $45.88 million were let for their operation with
price sponsors such as the Urban League (which operates outreach
programs under the name of LEAP-labor education advancement
program), the recruitment and training program (an outgrowth of
the workers defense le,ague outreach program), the Human Resources Development Institute ('a creation of the AFL-CIO) and
individual Building Trades Councils. In February 1975, there were
apprenticeship outreach programs in 105 locations in the United
States disseminating information on how to enter 'a.pprenticeable
trades to potential recruits, and tutoring ·and counseling minority
males who needed these services in order to qualify and gain admission to apprenticeships. From 1967 through 1973, the apprenticeship
outreach programs were reported as having assisted in indenturing
25,815 minority individuals-almost all of whom were men.
3. That affirmative action for women be included in the equal employment opportunity in apprenticeship ·and tr'aining order, Title
29 CFR ( Cod.e of Federal Regulation), part 30, as pa.rt of an integrated, across-the-board governmental thrust to eliminate the stereotyping of occupations by sex and to encourage both men and women
to consider the full range of jobs. That the direction of this thrust
should not only be outward, through the impact of Labor Department
policies in administering training programs, but also inward. That
there should be affirmative action for women employees, specifically
in apprenticeship agencies.
4. That, as part of this thrust to eliminate occupational sex-stereotyping, there should be a concerted effort to influence guidance counselors and the educational system in general to reexamine those practices within the system which have contributed toward the persistence
of sex-stereotypes. That current career and vocational materials
should be revised, new materials developed and a film or films produced for the purpose of showing high school students that women
can and are working successfully in traditional male skilled occupations.
Finally, it was observed that the real facts of the world of work,
labor force participation, pattern of life expectancies ·and occupational needs and trends should be communicated to the schools so that
it would be possible for youngsters to plan and prepare for careers



There has been progress since 1970, though it has been small. In 1970
there were two women ·apprenticeship and training representativesATR's-in the Department of Labor, Bureau of Apprenticeship and
Training. Within the past year 9 additional trainees were recruited
Federal Reserve Bank of St. Louis

for a 1976 total of 14. (There is a total of 240 male ATR's.) In 1971,
"Better Jobs for Women," a pilot recruitment and placement program
for women, began in Denver, Colo., using funds supplied by the U.S.
Department of Labor's Office of N atiorral Programs. Since then, the
program has recruited some 400 women, primarily heads of households, for training in nontraditional occupations. Apprenticeship statistics do not, however, include most of them, since many are in nonregistered programs or in nonapprenticeable occupations. In 1974, the
Manpower Administration amended its apprenticeship outreach program to include special emphasis on recruiting, counseling and tutoring women for apprenticeships in six selected cities. By 1976, similar
efforts were underway in a total of 27 cities. A study of these outreach
programs for women by the Civil Rights Commission (1974) concluded that they had "produced modest results" only. This it attributed to "inherent limitations": the Commission estimated that approximately one-half of all those admitted to craft unions were white
males admitted directly, without having served an apprenticeship; it
found no women or minorities admitted directly in this manner. Other
factors limiting the impact of outreach programs for women ,vere lack
of cooperation on the part of some joint apprenticeship committees,
the continued lack of inclusion of goals ·and timetables for women in
the equal employment opportunity order governing apprenticeship,
and high unemployment.
As of August 12, 1976, after some years of increasing pressure from
women's groups, the Department of Labor published an interpretation of its 1971 Equal Employment Opportunity in apprenticeship and
training order. It states that "E•ach program sponsor shall anaylze the
availability of female applicants for its program and shall suggest
appropriate goals for the year 1977 for women * * * the contemplated goal shall preserve the integrity of the minority goals and timetable provided in title 29 CFR, part 30, as amended April 8, 1971."
This is a step in the right direction, but the regulations are still inconsistent with their stated scope and purpose. Specifically, the provisions relating to "affirmative action plans" ( sec. 30.4), including
outreach efforts, goals and timetables; the "selection of apprentices"
( sec. 30.5) ; and "existing lists of eligibles and public notice" ( sec 30.6),
should be revised to include women. 'Dhe International ·women's Year
Commission in its June 1976 report,"* * * To Form a More Perfect
Union," 6 also recommends that sec. 30.4(c) (9), which calls for "admitting to apprenticeship persons whose age exceeds the maximum
age for admission to the program, where such acition is necessary to
assist the sponsor in achieving its affirmative action obligations," be
fully implemented with regard to the admission of women.
It is quite clear that when there is not full employment women and
minorities suffer unemployment disproportionately. It is also evident
that the effectiveness of affirmative action and outreach programs is
severely diminished in times of high unemployment. Another fact, less
widely known, is that the overall numbers of apprenticeships available decrease during periods of recession. A full employment economy
is an essential underpinning to the full utilization of women in th'e
work force. However, full employment in and of itself is not enough.
• National Commission on the Observance of International Women's Year, "'* • • To
Form a More Perfect Union • * •,• Justice for .American Women" (Washington D c •
' · ··
Government Printing Office, June 1976).
Federal Reserve Bank of St. Louis

Occupational segregation is the result of the interaction of a complex
of our traditional social institutions and does not stem from just the
labor market itself. To quote Martha Griffiths : 7 "Underutilization of
women will continue to be a problem unless plans are implemented
now to expand women's opportunities in technical, trade and industrial
apprenticeship programs leading to higher-paying opportunities."
What is needed is full employment, vigorous affirmative action efforts,
and new initiatives to develop the apprenticeship system itself.
7 "Can We Still Afl'ord Occupational Segregation? Some Remarks," "Women and the
Workplace." editors, Martha Blaxall and Barbara Reagan (Chicago: University of Chicago
Press, 1976).

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I. Tax treatment of the two-earner family__________________________

A. Child care expenses_____________________________________
II. Social security system_________________________________________
A. A brief description of the social security system____________
R. Six basic problems______________________________________
1. Differential treatment based on sex________________
2. Achieving parity among identically situated families__
3. The dual status of married working women_________
4. Provisions for protecting homeowners_______________
C. Basic solution__________________________________________


It has long been recognized that a number of Federal income tax
and social security provisions are unfair to working women and twoearner families. With a view toward clarifying the issues, this paper
will summarize briefly the effect of Federal tax law 1 and will discuss
recent developments. Additionally, the paper will describe the major
inequities in social security treatment of working women and couples,
and will propose a legislative solution to these and other problems
presented by our current social insurance system.


There are three major difficulties in our tax treatment of the twoearner family: (1) the so-called marriage penalty, that is, that marriage ma_y substantially increase the total tax bill of two wage earners;
(2) the fiscal inequity arising from inadequate tax law differentiation
between the traditional worker-housewife couple and the emergent
two-earner couple; 2 and (3) the work disincentive for a prospective
second family earners. Fiscal inequity and work disincentive result
from failure to credit the traditional couple with imputed housewife
income as well as failure to allow the emergent couple a deduction for
the additional job-related expenses incurred by the second family
earner, such as transportation, lunch, and, until recently in many
cases, child care expenses. .An additional disincentive for potential
second earners arises from our system of aggregating husband-wife
*Faculty of Law, State University of New York at Buffalo.
1 The author testified in 1973 before the Joint Economic Committee on the subject of tax
law. For a more complete treatment of this subjeet, see Grace Ganz Blumberg, "Features·
of Federal Income Tax Law Which Have a Disparate Impact on Women and Working
Couples" and 'Households and Dependent Care Services: Section 21:4 " in Economic
Problems of Women, hearings before U.S. Congress, Joint Economic Committee, 93d Cong.,
1st sess. (Washington, D.C.: Government Printing Office, 1973), 228-253.
• In 1940, less than 15 percent of married women with husbands present were in the
labor force. This proportion has been steadily growing, reaching 30 percent in 1960 and
45 percent in 1976. 1975 Handbook on Women Workers, bulletin 297 (Washington, D.C.:
U.S. Department of Labor, 1975), 17. Also by telephone, U.S. De.partment of Labor.
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income, which effectively taxes the second family earner's first taxable
dollar at the first earner's highest (marginal) tax rate.
This author advocates a three-pronged solution: 28 That we follow
the lead of Sweden and return to a system of individual tax treatment
of earned income or, alternatively, that we allow married taxpayers
the option of individual treatment of earned income, as do England,
Norway, Israel, Greece, Argentina, and Venezuela; that we consider
the possibility of enacting a second earner's income allowance to reflect
the working couple's higher cost of earning income; and that we basically revise our approach to employment-related child care expenses.

A. Child Oare Expenses
Congress has been somewhat responsive to such suggestions. A major
breakthrough has occurred in the 1976 Tax Reform Act 3 treatment
of dependent care expenses. Congress has finally rejected the view that
employment-necessitated child care 4 expenditure ought to be treated
as a personal expense deductible from taxable income only in certain
hardship cases, and has instead espoused the idea that such expenditure (with reasonable limits) 5 should be understood as a cost of earning income properly taken into account in determining tax liability. 6
Congress has, therefore, removed the income limitation beyond which
taxpayers were formerly unable to claim such expenses. In an effort to
make favorable tax treatment available to all who incur this workrelated expense, Congress has also changed the allowance from a deduction available only to those who itemize, mainly middle-income
taxpayers, to a 20-percent credit against taxes equally available to
s.ll taxpayers. In addition to making the benefit available to those who
claim the standard deduction, mainly lower income taxpayers, the use
of a credit results in the same tax-saving for all taxpayers spending
the same amount for child care. Thus, with a 20 percent tax credit.
the maximum credit for one child is $400 ( maximum claimable expense
is $2,000) and for two or more children $800 (maximum claimable
expense is $4,000). In contrast, under prior law, the tax saving resulting from a deduction was a function of the taxpayer's income : the
wealthier the taxpayer, the greater his saving.
Congress has also liberalized the provision in other ways that will
facilitate women's entry and reentry into the labor force. The deduction was formerly available to married couples only when both spouses
worked full time, apparently to deter one spouse from seeking nominal
employment in order to claim a substantial deduction. 7 Such treat•• Blumberg, op; cit.
8 Public Law 94-455, sec. 504, creating new Internal Revenue Code sec. 44A. For prior
law, see Internal Revenue Code of 1954, sec. 214, as amended by Public Law 92--178, sec.
210 (1971).
• It should be noted that the dependent care provision has, from Its inception in 1954,
encompassed employment-necessitated care for dependents other than children. In addition to covering in-home and out-of-home care provided to dependents under the age of 15,
the 1976 act allows the credit for in-home care provided to a de1')endent or spouse of the
taxpayer "physically or mentally incapable of caring for himself." Sec. 44A(c) (1) and
Dependent care expenses are, however, mainly claimed for care provided to children, and
the provision is generallr, understood as a "chlld care" measure. For these reasons, the,
term "child" rather than 'dependent" is used.
• The limits relate both to the amount of expense claimable per dependent ($2,000 for
1 dependent, $4,000 for 2 or more dependents) and the extent to which an additional
child (dependent) will increase the maximum amount claimable (no increase after 2). With
respect to the latter limitation, see discussion in text at note 6 infra.
• U.S. Congress, Senate Committee on Finance, H.R. 10612, S. Rept. 94-938, 94th Cong.,
2d ses~. 132-1R3 (Washington, D.C.: Government Printing Office, 1976).
7 Ibid. at 133.
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ment, however, was likely to deter mothers of young children from
seeking part-time work by encouraging them to defer any employment
until such time, if ever, as they felt able to undertake full-time employment. A somewhat more indirect effect may have been to discourage the parents of ioung children from sharing both economic and
child care responsibilities on a part-time basis, since they were unable
to claim any child care expenses incurred when they were simultaneously workmg. The new provision more narrowly avoids the potential for taxpayer abuse by limiting claimable expenses to the earnings of the spouse with the lesser income.
Also of interest to women contemplating eventual return to the labor
force is the section allowing child care expenses when one spouse works
and the other is a full-time student. To satisfy the provision which
disallows expenses in excess of the lower earnmg spouse's income, a
full-time student is deemed to have earned the maximum amount allowable for child care expenses.
Other reforms will properly reflect the needs and inclinations of
lower-income ;persons, taxpayers belonging to certain ethnic groups,
parents favormg group care, and divorced taxpayers. The previous
blanket disallowance of child care payments made to certain, relatives
has been modified to prohibit such claims only when the taxpayer
claiming the child care expense or his spouse is entitled to claim the
relative as a tax dependent. This change seems desirable because it recognizes that many persons, particularly those belonging to groups having strong kin networks, do wish to employ relatives for child care and
should not be deterred from doing so, both in terms of the child's interests and family solidarity. Another instance in which the parent's
freedom of choice has been augmented is the repeal of the distinction
between in-home and out-of-home care. The prior provision encouraged parents of one or two children to choose in-home care because up
to $400 per month could be deducted for services provided in the taxpayer's household but only $200 per month (for one child) or $300
(for two children) could be deducted for care provided outside the
ta~payer's household. The new provision, appropriately, is neutral in
this respect.
Divorced persons under prior law, found that neither was eligible
for the deduction ( the noncustodial parent was entitled to claim the
children as tax dependents, that is, the mother had custody and the
father made financial contributions sufficient to warrant a tax dependency claim). Under the new provision, employment-related child care
expenses may be claimed by the parent who has dominant custody.
Finally, a subtle but significant change is reflected in the new provision. Female labor force participation is, in part, a function of population policy. The prior provision, enacted in 1971, contemplated a
family of three children, or, more accurately, demonstrated congressional willingness to expand the allowance until the family reached
a maximum of three children. 8 The 1976 provision sets the norm of
a two-child family. 9 This is, of course, in accord with a "replacement"
or "zero growth" population policy. 10 To the extent that our laws
• With respect to out-of-home care, sec. 214 allowed $200 per month for 1 child, $300
for 2, and $400 for 3 or more. Internal Revenue Code of 1954, sec. 214(c)(2)(B), as
amended by Public Law 92-178, sec. 210 (1971).
• Maximum allowable expenditure, $4,000, is claimable by a 2-child family.
10 See, generally, note, "Legal Analysis and Population Control: The Problem of Coercion," 84 Harvard Law Review 1856 (1971).
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reflect and encourage this norm, we should expect increasing labor
force participation by women.



Reform of the American social security system, some provisions of
which have been repeatedly identified as mequitable to working wives
and two earner families, has the potential for effecting partial or total
solutions to basic and wide ranging social problems. A review of testimony given before the Joint Economic Committee in its 1973 hearings
on the Economic Problems of "\Vomen 11 indicates that the expert witnesses identified the same problems in current social security law. However, the solutions proffered, if any, turned on the witnesses' perception of the extent to which changing patterns of American economic
and family life, and new approaches to "women's work" make it desirable to review the underlying premises of our social security system,
and to enhance the system's capacity for providing economic security
to individuals and families.

A. A Brief Description of the Social Security System
The social security system provides monthly benefits to insured
workers and, in certain instances, their dependents in a manner designed to replace partially income lost on account of death, severe
disability or retirement. Payments are made from current contributions which.are paid by both employee and employer. The present rate
is 5.85 percent from each on annual income up to $15,300.
In general, to achieve minimum eligibility for himself and his dependents, that is, to to achieve fully insured status, a worker now must
have engaged in covered employment one 9.uarter of the time from
1950 or age 21, whichever is later, until he dies, is disabled or reaches
retirement age. In addition, to be eligible for disability benefits, a
worker must have engaged in covered employment durmg half the
quarters in the 10-year period immediately preceding disability. As an
exception to the fully insured rule, survivors' benefits for deceased's
dependent children and their surviving parent are available if the
deceased wage earner had 6 quarters of coverage during the last 13
quarters before his death.
Once basic eligibility is established, the level of payments is computed by averaging monthly earnings in covered employment since
1950, after excluding from consideration the lowest 5 years. The formula for calculating benefits favors low-income workers because the
insured receives a markedly higher percentage of his first $110 of
average monthly earnings than he does of the rest. The amount payable
to an insured worker at retirement age is called the primary insurance
amount (PIA). All benefits payable to the insured's dependents are
11 "Economic Problems of Women," hearings before the U.S. Congress, Joint Economic
Committee, 93d Cong., 1st sess. (Washington, D.C.: Government Printing Office, 1973).
The statutory provisions relating to Federal old age, survivors, and disabtlity insurance
bPneflts are codified at 42 U.S.C. 401 et seq. For regulations enacted thereunder, see 20
CFR, pt. 404. Good descriptions of the system are found in Dalmer Hoskins and Lenore E.
Bixby, "Women and Social Security: Law and Policy in Five Countries," U.S. Department
of Health, Education, and Welfare, Social Security .Administration, Office of Research and
Statistics, research report No. 42 at 73-88 (1973), and Robert M. Ball, "The Treatment
of Women Under Social Security." Economic Problems of Women, hearings before the U.S.
Con1?ress, :roint Eronomic Committee, 93d Cong., 1st sess. (Washington, D.C.; Government
Printing Office, 1973), 311-313,
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computed as a percentage of the primary insurance amount. For example, a dependent spouse's benefit is 50 percent of the insured's PIA
and a surviving dependent child's benefit is 75 percent of his deceased
parent's PIA.
B. Six B asw Problems
There are six basic problems in the present scheme, four of which
directly involve issues of female labor force participation and two
which do not involve such issues, but which should be taken into
account when choosing among the various solutions proposed for the
first four problems. The difficulties are as follows :
§ 1. There remain, at this late date, explicitly sex-based social security provisions which have the effect of giving more family protection
to male insured workers than to equally situated female insured
§ 2. A working couple frequently receives substantially less in
monthly retirement benefits than a worker-housewife couple, even
though both couples had the same total average monthly earnings and
made equal social security contributions ;
§ 3. The married working woman is fully taxed by social security
but, because of her simultaneous eligibility as a dependent on her husband's account, realizes little or no retirement benefits on her own
§ 4. Benefits generally designed to replace some uniform portion of
actual wages do not do so with respect to many employed wives and
mothers because of the practice .of determining the insured's average
monthly wage upon which benefits are based by averaging earnings for
a 11 years 12 but the lowest five;
§. 5. Our social security system does not protect families ae:ainst the
loss of imputed service income caused by the death or disability of the
stav-at-home spouse who cares for the insured worker's dependent
children ; and
§ 6. Although some limited dependency provision has been made,
divorce leaves many housewives entirely without retirement income.

The act, on its face, make a number of significant gender-based
distin?tions which have the effect of giving more family protection to
male msured workers than to equally situated female workers. A
widow, but not a widower, may claim "mother's" benefits when she
cares for a dependent child of a deceased insured worker and her
earned income does not exceed a certain level.13 The U.S. Supreme Court declared this !,!ender distinction unconstitutional in
lVeinberqer v. lVie8en.feld. 14 lViesen.feld, read together with the Supreme Court's decision in Frontiero v. Richardson, 15 suggests that the
remaining sex-based provisions are equally unconstitutional.
A surviving divorced mother who cares for decedent insured's dependent child is eligible for "mother's" benefits, but a surviving
divorced father who cares for a child of the deceased insured mother is
12 ThP years for which earnings are averaged include those since 1950 or the lns11red's
21•t hirthihty, whfrhever !s later, after elhninat!ng the 5 years of lowest earnings. 4-2
U.S.C. ~ 415(b) (1974).
i, 42 u.s.c. 402(g) (1974).
"420 U.S. 636 0975).
1 • 411 U.S. 677 (1973).
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not eligible for this caretaker's benefit. 16 Similarly, a divorced woman
who was married to an insured worker for more than 20 years is
treated, for the purpose of claiming derivative benefits, as the insured's
w-ife or widow while an identically situated divorced man is not eligible
to claim such derivative benefits on his former wife's account. 17 The
rationale of Wiesenfeld would seem equally applicable to these sexbased distinctions: it is constitutionally impermissible to require equal
contribution from women workers and then refuse them equal economic
protection for their families. 18
Analogous, but not identical, are the provisions which grant widow's
benefits to the aged or disabled widow of a fully insured worker without any showing that the widow was actually economically dependent 19
upon decedent, but allow derivative benefits to a widower only if he can
show that he received at least one-half his support from his deceased
insured v.ife. 20 Similarly, a wife, without any showing of actual dependency, may claim derivative benefits when her insured husband
retires or is disabled, 21 but a husband must establish that he was economically dependent upon his insured wife in order to claim derivative
"husband's insurance benefits." 22 Unlike the absolute exclusion of
fathers in W iesenfeld, the widower's and husband's provisions allow
for a showing of actual dependency. In view of the male claimant's
opportunity to establish actual dependency, the conclusive presumption of female dependency is, arguably, only an overly generous and
hence harmless defect.
The Supreme Court has, however, disapproved an identical sexbased presumption o:f dependency in a context which, although different, seems conceptually indistinguishable. In Frontiero v. Richardson,23 the Air Force paid its married employees substantial dependents' benefits, presuming dependency with respect to the spouses of
male employees, but requiring a showing of actual dependency for the
spouses of female employees. The Court disrupproved the use of this
sexually differential standard in the distribution of benefits that were
intended as a form of compensation for services rendered. While the
Court did not dispute that, in the generality of cases, women are more
likely to !be economically dependent upon men than men upon women,
the Court found this generalization and the 1administrative convenience resulting therefrom inadequate to support a distinction that has
the effect of making a woman's employment effort less economically
productive than that of a similarly situated male.
The only distinction between the challenged provisions in F1·ontiero and those in the Social Security Act would seem to be that the
former involved direct compensation for employment while social
security is, at least in part, a redistributive economic scheme which,
arguably, should tolerate a greater number of broad-based generalizations. Such 1an argument was, however, made by the Government
•• See 42 U.S.C. 402(g) (1) and 416(d) (3) (1974).
11 SPP 42 U.S.C. 402 (b) (1) and (e) (1), and 416(d) (1) and (2).
1s 420 U.S. at 645.
19 Dep<>ndency Is established by a showing that the claimant was receiving at least onehalf his/her support from the insured wage earner. 42 U.S.C. 402 (f) (1) (D), (cl (1) (C).
20 Compare 42
U.S.C. 402(e), widow's insurance benefits. with 42 U.S.C. 402(f).
widower's Insurance benefits. See particularly sec. 402(f) (1) (D). There Is also a gender
distinction with respect to the ell'ect of remarriage. Compare sec. 402(e) (1) (A) with sec.
402(fl (1) (A).
21 42 U.R.C. 402(b) (1).
••42 U.S.C. 402(cl (1) (C).
"'411 U.S. 677 (1973).
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in Wiesenfeld, and was rejected by the Supreme Court as an madequate justification £or gender-based distinctions which determine
issues 0£ basic social security eligibility...
[Since this paper was prepared for publication, the Supreme Court has invalidated the dependency provisions for both husband's and widower's derivative benefits. The Court reasoned that. "Wiesenfeld thus inescapably compels
the conclusion . . . that the gender-based differentiation . . . that results in the
efforts of female workers required to pay social security taxes producing less
protection for their spouses than is produced by men-is forbidden by the Constitution, at least when supported by no more substantial justification than
"archaic and overbroad" generalizations . . . or "old-notions" . . . such as "assumptions as to dependency" . . . that are more consistent with "the role-typing
society has long imposed . . . than with contemporary reality." Califano v.
Goldfarb, 97 S.Ct. 1021, 102~27 (1977). Goldfarb invalidated the dependency
requirement for widowers. The same requirement for husband's derivative
heneflts was disapproved in Califano v. Silbowitz and Califano v. Jablon, 97
S.Ct. 1539 (1977), affirmed without opinion.] ...

In view of the patent unconstitutionality 25 of these gender-based
distinctions, it seems unnecessary to repeat the policy arguments that
have been made elsewhere 26 in favor of their repeal. Suffice it to say
that the cost of repeal is low because widowers and divorced men will
claim such benefits only when they are not themselves covered by
social security, or in the very rare event that they are covered but can
more profitably claim on their deceased wife's account than on their

It has been noted that a lmY or low-middle income working couple
often receives lower retirement benefits than a family in which the sole
breadwinner earned the total income of the working couple and made
the same contributions to the system. For example. where only one
sponse worked and had average yearly earnings of $9,000, under the
1V73 tables, 27 the benefit payable to the spouse would be $393.50 with
"'420 U.S. at 646-647. With respect to the factors that may permissibly be taken into
account in determining the exact amount of benefits (the redistributive aspect of the
scheme). consider Gruenwald v. Gardner, 390 F. 2d 591 (2d Cir. 1968). certiorari denied
393 U.S. 982 (1968}, cited approvingly in Frontiero v. Richardson, 411 U.S. 677, 689
note 22 .
... With these cases, compare Califano v. Webster, 97 S. Ct. 1192 (1977), sustaining a
gender-based distinction in the computation of benefits of those workers who reached age
112 before 1972. This provision, which excludes from consideration additional low earning
~·ears of women workers, results in greater benefits for women than for men with the same
earnings record. The court sustained this ditterential treatment on the ground that it
was designed to compensate for past employment discrimination against women, ibid. at
1195. This result is consistent with the Court's decisions in Schlesinger v. Ballard, 41!)
r.s. 498 (1975) and Kahn v. Shevin, 416 U.S. 351 (1974}. In both cases the Court sustained gender-based distinctions that ostensibly favored women and had a benign, compensatory purpose. See also Gruenwald v. Gardner, discussed in note 24. Webster has no
bearing on the gender-based distinctions discussed in the text, all of which tend to attord
less protection for female workers and their families than for similarly situated male
workers and their families.
•• The gender-based dependency distinctions have been successfully challenged In 5
reported district court cases: Moss v. Secretary of HEW, 408 F. Supp. 403, 410-411 (M.D.
Fla. 19i6) : Oo.t'/ln v. Secretary of HEW, 400 F. Supp, 953 (D.D.C. 1975) : Jablon v. f!ecretary of HEW, 399 F. Supp. 118 (D. Md.); Silbowitz v. Secretary of HEW, 397 F. Supp.
8fl2 (S.D. Fla. 1975); and Goldfarb v. Secretary of HEW, 396 F. Supp. 308 (E.D.N.Y.
1975). The Secretary of Health, Education, and Welfare has appealed all of these 3-judge
district court decisions.
[Since this paper was prepared for publication, Califano v. Silbowitz and Califano v.
Jablon were affirmed without opinion, 97 S. Ct. 1539 (1977}. See text addendum immediatPly above.]
26 See, for example, Ball, supra note 11 at 314-316.
"'These computations are based on the table found at 42 U.S.C. 415 (1974). which
lncorpo:rates the increases ettected by the 1973 amendments, Public Law 93-233, sec. 2(a).
The primary Insurance amounts found therein have been subject to across-the board
Jj~s based on specified increases In the Consumer Price 'Index, 42 U.S.C. 415 (i)

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.an additional $196.75 as a dependency allowance 28 for the wi:fe, yie]ding total monthly benefits o:f $590.25. In contrast, if one spouse had
average yearly earnings of $6,000 and the other had average earnings
of $3,000, they would receive $299.40 and $194.10, 29 for a total of
$493.50. There would seem to be no justification :for distinguishing between these two couples in a social insurance system to which each
:family has made equal financial contribution and in which the goal
is replacement o:f family income lost by retirement. To achieve parity,
working couples should, :for the purpose o:f determining benefits, be
allowed to cumulate ea.rnings up to the maximum taxable wage base.
A limited provision to this effect was passed by the House of Repretentati ves in 1971 but was abandoned in conference,30 presumably because execution o:f the parity measure would have created administrative difficulties and entailed payment of additional benefits. Such
objections, however, seem inadequately responsive to the basic unfairness. In any event, the panacea which the author will suggest shortly
would obviate the need :for such an equity provision.

The problem of inequality with respect to retirement benefits paid
to equally contributing one- and two-earner couples has its mirror
image in the problem of unequal contributions exacted :from middleand upper-income one- and two-earner couples. Thus, :for example, i:f
a husband earns the maximum taxable base income, 31 now $15,300, and
his wi:fe earns less than one-third of that, say $4,500 a year, they will
contribute a total of 5.85 percent of all their income but collect no more
retirement benefits than the family in which one spouse earns their
total income of $19,800 but contributes 5.85 percent o:f only his maximum tax base of $ll>,300. If the working wife were to earn more than
one-third her husband's average earnings, the couple would receive
some incremental payment, but the size of the differenee would hardly
be reflective of the wi:fe's contribution record. 32
These apparent inequities arise from the second workin~ spouse's
dual status under our social security system. For purposes of contributions, this second spouse is treated as a sole earner and taxed on every
dollar of income up to the maximum taxab]e base. Adult benefits are
not, however, claimab]e only on the basis of personal contribution. Derivative spouse's benefits can also be claimed on the ground o:f marital
relationship to an insured worker. Thus, a]though married women are
:fully taxed by social security, they rea]ize little or no retirement benefits on their own accounts (because o:f their simultaneous eligibility
as dependents on their husbands' accounts). The lack o:f correspondence between the payments made by married women and the benefits
received by them might be justified as a redistributive rather than an
insurance aspect o:f the social security system; 33 nevertheless, it would
28 The wife's derivative benefit is one-half her husband's primary Insurance amount,
42 U.S.C. 402(b) (2).
29 If she were to claim on her husband's account rather than her own, she would, of
course, only receive $149. 70. See note 28 supra.
30 1972 U.S. Code Congressional and Administrative News 4997, 5372.
31 Pursuant to 42 U.S.C. 409 430, the maximum taxable base for years after 1974 la
$13,200 plus additional amounts necessary to offset the cost-of-living increases provided
to beneficiaries. For 1976, maximum taxable earnings are $15,300.
82 See, for example, Information supplied by the Department of Health, Education, and
Welfare in "Economic Problems of Women," hearings before the Joint Economic Committee,
93d Cong., 1st sess., 423 (1973).
33 See comment of Arthur Hess, ibid. at 424.
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seem to be a most regressive 31 redistribution to tax a group subject to
pervasive employment discrimination in order to maximize payment8
made on the accounts of persons who are not subject to such discrimination and are, arguably, the beneficiaries of sex-based employment,
More reasonably, it has been suggested that it is erroneous to look
at retirement benefits alone, 35 although such benefits do form the preponderant payout of the system. 36 The married woman is more comprehensively insured on her own account than she is as her husband's
dependent. She is insured against her own disability, and can provide
for survivors and dependents from her account. This argument is persuasive as far as it goes. It suggests, however, that the married woman's contributions should be reduced to reflect the coverage she is
actually purchasing. A more extreme solution has been adopted in
Great Britain. A married working woman may opt out of the system.
She makes no contributions and collects only on her husband's account.
Most working women elect this option. 37
Complete withdrawal, however, has obvious disadvantages. In the
event of the wife's death or disability, the family receives no replacement income. In the event of divorce, the wife has no account of her
own upon which to build an adequate earnings record. While some of
the defects of complete withdrawal can be removed by a more carefully tailored approach, the contingency of divorce 38 makes it desirable that each married woman have complete individual coverage. Additionally, the concept of treating even the working wife simply as her
husband's economic dependent runs counter to the trend in favor of
encouraging economic self-sufficiency in married women. 89

The last three deficiencies of our social security provisions can conveniently be discussed together. The first two relate to the inability of


Assessed contribution to social security ls, of course, generally regressive in that the
tax is a fixed percentage of wages and there is a celling on the amount of wages subject to
taxation. Thus, a low-income earner pays a higher percentage of total earned income than
doPs a high-Income earner. Carolyn Shaw Bell has pointed out that women disproportionately bear the burden of this general regressivlty because very few women earn more than
the social security base income. "Women and Social Security: Contributions and Benefits."
in "Economic Problems of Women," hearings before the Joint Economic Committee, 93d
Cong., 1st sess., 303 (1973),
.. Ball, "The Treatment of Women Under Social Security," Economic Problems of Women,
supra note 34 at 315.
•• Sre colloquy of Mr, Ball and Representative Barber B. Conable, Jr,, Economic Problems of Women, supra note 34 at 323.
s1 Hoskins and Bixby, supra note 11 at 53-5-5, 62.
•• For the years 1972-74, the number of divorces in the United States (907,000) was more
than half the number of first marriages (1,662,,000). "A Statistical Portrait of Women in
the United States,"· U.S. Department of Commerce, Bureau of the Census, special studies
series P-23 No. 58 at 16 (Washington, D.C.: Government Printing Office, 1976), citing
Bureau of the Census current population reports, series P-20, Nos. 212 and 225, and U.S.
Department of Health, Education, and Welfare. "Vital Statistics Reports." This does not
mean, of course, that more than half of all first marriages for th!! 1972-74 period wlll
terminate in divorce, because the divorces obtained during that period generally terminated marriages contracted earlier.
Comparative divorce figures are measured in terms of rate per 1,000 population. In 1974,
the U.S. rate was 4.6 per 1,000 population, compared to 1.5 for West Germany, 2.1 for
England and Wales, and 3.3 for Sweden. "United Nations Statistical Yearbook, 1975,"
(New York City: United Nations Statistical Office, 1976), pp. 79-82.
.. It is not merely that married women face a substantial probablllty of divorce but
that, once divorced, they are increasingly expected to provide for themselves. Concerning
the infrequency with which the courts award alimony, see studies collected in Caleb Foote.
Robert J. Levy, and Frank E. A. Sander, "Cases and Materials on Family Law" at 838-845
2d edition (Boston, Mass.: Little, Brown & Co., 1976). With respect to current le.l!'islative
expectations and guidelines for alimony awards, see, for example, sec. 308 of the Uniform
Marriage and Divorce Act, National Conference of Commissioners on Uniform State Laws
(1974) and sec. 236 of the New York domestic relations law.
Federal Reserve Bank of St. Louis

our present system to meet the retirement needs of many women, both
those employed outside the home and those employed exclusively in
the home. With respect to gainfully employed working wives and
mothers, determining benefits by averaging earnings for all years but
the lowest 5 40 tends to give married working women disproportionately low replacement of actual income, because they are likely to have
been absent from the work force for more than 5 years in order to perform child rearing and housekeeping functions. 41 To the extent that
child rearing is perceived as a valuable social function, time so devoted
should not serve to depress a working woman's benefits. Some countries
have responded to this concern by treating work force absence due to
pregnancy and child rearing as covered employment and crediting the
married woman's account with some ascribed earnings. 42
The remaining two problems are, strictly speaking, beyond the scope
of this article because they concern difficulties encountered by women
who are not gainfully employed outside the home, and by the families
of such women. These problems are included, however, because they
should be taken into account when weighing the desirability of fundamentally overhauling our approach to individual and family social
insurance protection. First, a wife's dependency status is, in many
cases,43 terminated by divorce. While this effect of divorce is of relatively limited concern to the working wife with a good earnings record, many older housewives are left entirely without retirement income, and younger housewives are left without any basis for building
an adequate average earnings record. Second, when a full-time homemaker dies or is severely disabled, the family loses her imputed service
income, but does not receive any social security replacement income
because the value of her services is not taken into account by the
0. Basic Solution
The basic solution to all these problems was suggested by Prof.
Carolyn Shaw Bell in her testimony before the Joint Economic Committee in 1973 : Abolish the very notion of dependency and treat all
housewives (housespouses) as earners, ascribing hypothetical dollar
earnings to their account for all quarters of household employment. 45
Former Representative Martha Griffiths very cogently asked who
would pay for their coverage.46 While extension of coverage to housewives would have the desirable effect of recognizing the economic value
.., Snpra note 12.
« See, generally, Ball, supra note 11 at 316-317. Note also Ball's- discussion of the sexually
disparate efl'ect of the disab111ty insurance requirement that one must have worked 5 years
out of the 10 immediately preceding the onset of disabilit:v .
.. See, for example, Hoskins and Bixby, supra note 11 at 22, regarding West Germany's
attribution of hypothetical earnings for periods of nonemployment due to maternity. SPe
also discussion of the French system of pension coverage for the housewife, ibid., at 46-4 7.
While pronatalist concerns would seem to underlie the French aud German provisions,
such measures are also appropriate simply as recognition that procreation and child rearing ( albeit at no more than "replacement" level) are socially necessary functions.
,. A divorced wife is eligible for "mother's"' benefits if she has In her care a child of
insured decedent who Is entitled to "children's" benefits. 42 U.S.C. 402(g), 416(d) (3).
Otherwise a divorced wife is eligible for benefits on her ex-husband's account only if their
marriage lasted at least 20 years. 42 U.S.C. 416(d) (1) and (2).
44 It does not seem an adequate response to say that this Is simply an event against
which the system does not Insure. When a working wife or mother is severely di~abkd or
dies, social security replacement income purchases household and child care services just
as her wages probably did during her period of gainful employment. To the extent, therefore, that working wives' wages di:> purcha,se household and child care serviceR, the social
security system insures against loss of these vital services for the families of wage
earning wives and mothers.
• 6 Bell, supra note 34 at 305-307.
'" Ibid. at 321,
Federal Reserve Bank of St. Louis

of housework, would not working women, already burdened, be paying
for their stay-at-home sisters 1 u
Professor Bell's basic idea is sound. However, it would not be equitable, in a system that basically purports to be a social insurance plan,
to recognize the value of services performed in the home by reqmring
all the gainfully employed to make contributions on behalf of housewives. It would be appropriate, however, to require contribution from
the households directly benefited by receipt of household service income. One approach is to apportion the earnings of the sole earner between two accounts, one for the wage earner and one for the housespouse. Hypothetical earnings, for example, full-time employment at
the minimum wage 48 but no more than one-half the wage earner's total
earnings, could be attributed to the housespouse's account and the
remainder to the gainfully employed spouse's account. It might be
desirable to raise the maximum taxable base for such families in
recognition of the imputed income the family receives in the form of
full-time housekeeper services. An alternative solution, easier to administer and more profoundly reflective of the view that marriage is an
economic partnership,49 would apportion equally between husband and
wife all of a spouse's contributions based on wages. 50 In terms of cost,
neither proposal should present any insuperable problems.51
Apportionment, whether partial or complete, of a spouse's earnings is recommended because it would solve a number of otherwise
seemingly intractable problems. Such a plan is consistent with the basic
social security principle that beneficiaries should largely pay their own
way; it also reflects social fact and belief, increasingly expressed in
our laws as well, that is, that each spouse has an interest in all income
•• Minimum wage is the basis for establishing the contribution level in French pension
coverage for the housewife. Contribution is then made by the government rather than from
apportionment of the husband's contribution, as suggested here. Hoskins and Bixby, supra
note 11 at 4,7.
•• The economic partnership view of marriage has most clearly been adopted by the
eight western community property States. It is also reflected In those 28 common law
States which provide, at divorce, for an equitable distribution of property held individually
by the spouses. See, for example, Minnesota Statutes 518.58 and 518.59. See sec. 307.
alte.rnatives A and B, of the Uniform Marriage and Divorce Act, National Conference of
Commissioners on Uniform State Laws.
The economic partnership view is also expressed in our tax system's aggregation of
spouses' income. See Blumberg, supra note 1 at 280.
•• This proposal forms a part of H.R. 14119, Introduced by Representative Fraser on
J"une 1, 1976. See sec. 3(b). Congressman Fraser's bill would, however, credit one-earner
couples and some two-earner couples with more contributions than they actually made,
eff'ectively continuing the 150-percent retirement and disability payments to such families,
and shifting the cost of housewife coverage to wage earning contributors. I do not approve
this approach.
61 Relatively minor Increases in coverage would be olfset by widespread moderate decreases in the amount of benefits presently paid to adult dependents. Under the present in•
come replacement formula, families with a wife who would presently claim as her husband's
dependent rather than on her own account would receive somewhat lower benefits under
either proposal. (While the total of individual retirement benefits payable on each apportioned account which would be greater than those individual benefits payable on the husband's present account, the total Is less than 150 percent of the husband's individual benefits, which Is what that couple collects today. See discussion in text at notes 28-30 supra.)
Under the first proposal, some families in which each spouse presently claims on his own
account would receive slightly higher benefits, reflecting allocation of spouses' earnings for
those periods during which the wife was absent from the labor market. Under the second
proposal, virtually all families in which each spouse would presently claim on his own
account would receive slightly higher total benefits, reflecting the result of equal allocation
under the present replacement formula. Since most women who presently receive benefits
do so derivatively rather than on their own account. there would result a sizable fund
surplus which would be ofl'set by increased costs resulting from extensions of coverage.
The primary beneficiaries of new coverage would be the families of disabled and deceased
homemakers on whose accounts death and disability benefits would be payable. Additionally,
divo_rced h<?usewlves unable to satisfy the present 20-year rule (supra note 43) might
receive minimum coverage and/or greater benefits than they do now.
Federal Reserve Bank of St. Louis

generated during a marriage 02 and that the housewife does make a
valuable economic contribution to her family. 53
In conclusion, in keeping with the current national concern with
providing adequate employment for all those who want it, a definitive
reevaluation of family income ta:iration and social security benefits
would appear to be timely. Changes suggested would not only make
for greater equality, a goal toward which our democracy strives, but
would also help women maintain individual identity and independence,
and would provide women with a neutral tax context in which to make
decisions about gainful employment.
Supra note 49.
68 See generally, Bell, supra note 34 at 305-307. See also sec. 307 of the Uniform Marriage and Divorce Act, National Conference of Commissioners on Uniform State Laws.
Federal Reserve Bank of St. Louis



I. Introduction__________________________________________________
II. Television ______________________ -----------------------------A. Commercial television___________________________________
B. Public television________________________________________
C. Television commercials__________________________________
III. Women's magazines ____ --------------------------------------IV. Newspapers and their women's pages __ -------------------------V. The effect of the media upon labor force participation______________
A. The violence studies____________________________________
B. The sex role studies_____________________________________
VI. Policy suggestions_____________________________________________




As Harold Lasswell pointed out 30 years ago, mass media pass on
the social heritage from one generation to the next.1 The societal need
for continuity and transmission of dominant values may be particularly acute in times of rapid social change, such as our own. Individuals not only need some familiarity with the past, but must also be prepared to meet changing social conditions. Nowhere is that need as
readily identifiable as in the area of sex roles. Nowhere else have social
expectations and social conditions been changing as rapidly.
In 1930, less than 20 percent of the nation's adult women worked for
pay outside the home, most of them unmarried. In 1976, 56 percent of
all American women between the ages of 18 and 64 were in the labor
force, most of them married, many with preschool children. Presently
41 percent of the American labor force are women. In the face of such
change, the portrayal of sex roles in the mass media is a topic of great
social, political, and economic importance.
This essay discusses the portrayal of sex roles in the mass media and
the effect of that portrayal on the employment pattern of American
women. It argues that the depiction of women by the media, including
the portrayal of working women, serves as a damper upon the full utilization of women in the economy because it discourages women's occupational aspirations and encourages their underemployment. This
negative effect results because of the perpetration of the outmoded
sex-role stereotype that women's place is in the home and that the
ideal American women is dependent and ineffectual in her attempts to
• Associate professor of sociology, Queens College, City University of New York, Flush•
Ing, N.Y.
1 Harold La~swell, "The Structure and Function of Communication in Society," in
L. Bryson (editor), "The Communication of Ideas" (New York: Harper & Bros., 1948);
pp. 37-51.

Federal Reserve Bank of St. Louis

direct her own life. These stereotypes may influence women as prospective employees, as well as employers who may limit women's job.
There has been no full-scale study of the effects of the mass media on
sex role stereotypes. Rather, since 1970, a series of content analyses of
TV, women's magazines and newspapers and a series of studies concerning the effects of television upon children have yielded results con_gruent with my argument. Additionally, my conclusions are confirmed
by the theories of communications experts, as indicated by the following documented example.
Suppose that children's television programs primarily present adult
women as housewives, nonparticipants m the paid labor force. Also
suppose that girls in the television audience model their behavior and
expectations on that of TV women. Such a supposition is quite
plausible according to the psychological theory of modeling. Thistheory states that modeling occurs simply by watching others, without any direct reinforcement for learning and without any overt practice. The child imitates the model without being induced or compelled
to do so. This concept differs from earlier theories, which regard
reward or punishment as indispensable to learning. There now is considerable evidence, however, that children do learn by watching and
listening to others, even in the absence of reinforcement and overt practice. 2 Psychologists note that "opportunities for modeling have been
vastly increased by television." 3 It is then equally plausible that girls
exposed to TV women may hope to be homemakers as adults, but not
workers outside the home. Indeed, as adults, these girls may resist work
outside the home unless it is necessary for their families economic wellbeing. Encouraging such an attitude in girls can present an economicproblem tothem and to the Nation in the future. Active participation
of women in the labor :force is vital to the maintenance of the American
economy. In the past decade, the greatest expansion of the economy
has been within the sectors that employ women. Yet, because of its negative effect, mass-media stereotypes of women as housewives may bedetrimental to the future recruitment of women to the active laborforce.
This example is a "mere supposition" about the possible impact of
the mass-media sex-role stereotypes upon national life. However, as
studies cited later indicate, this "mere supposition" may accurately
predict the future. In supporting this hypothesis, this essay examines
the media used by an American girl as she goes through school and
becomes a worker and probably a spouse and mother. (Today's young
woman is more likely to be working::fuJ:l or p·art time at age 20 than
she is to be married.) 4 This paper will start with an examination of
America's dominant media form-television. vVomen's magazines and
women's pages of newspapers will be considered next. The paper will
conclude with a review of studies of the impact of the media upon girls
and women, and offer some policy recommendations.
2 M:urlel Cantor. "Children's Television : Sex-Role Portrayals and Employment Discrimination," in "The Federal Role In Funding Children's Television Programing," vol. II, edited'
by K. Mielke et al. (Washington, D.C.: U.S. Office of Education, 1975), p. 5.
• G. S. Lesser quoted In Cantor, ibid.
• "1976 Handbook on Women Workers" (Washington, D.C.: U.S. Department of Labor;.

Federal Reserve Bank of St. Louis




To identify television as the dominant form o:f media in American life
is to engage in a vast understatement. In the average American household, television sets are turned on more than 6 hours each winter day.
More American homes have television sets than have private bathrooms, according to the 1970 census. Typically, by the time an American child goes to school, she/he has spent more hours watching television than she/he will spend in grammar school classrooms. Yet, all
forms o:f television-commercial programing, public broadcasting,
and advertisements--perpetrate sex-role stereotype.s. The message derived :from the program is that women are not integral members of
American society and are not essential participants in the labor.force.

A. Oommeroial Television
From 1954, the date of the earliest systematic analysis o:f television's
content, through 1975, researchers have found that males dominate·
the TV screen. Although men are 49 percent of the population, television has shown and continues to show two men for every wom~n. ( An
exception is soap operas, where men are a "mere majority" of the fictional population.) As chart I-1 shows, the 2-to-1 proportion has been
relatively constant. The little variation that exists occurs as a result
of the type of program studied-whether all prime time shows, drama
or comedy. In 1952, 68 percent of the characters in-prime-time dra.Ill;a
were male. In 1973, 74 percent of those characters were male. Women
seem to be concentrated in comedies, where men make up "only" 60
percent o:f the fictional world. Children's cartoons include even :fewer
female characters, including animals, than adult's primetime programs do. The paucity of women on American TV may suggest to
viewers that women don't matter much in American society.
Federal Reserve Bank of St. Louis

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George Gerbner and Larry Gross, "Progress Report on Cultural Indicators Research Project," University of Pennsylvania, mimeo, 1974.
Jean C. McNeil, "Feminism, Femininity, and the Television Series,"
Journal of Broadcasting, 1975, 2,5,7-269.
Mark Miller and Byron Reeves, "Children's Occupational Sex Role
Stereotypes," Journal of Broadcasting, in press.
Sydney Head, "Content Analysis of Television Drama Programs,"
Quarterly of Film, Radio, and TV, 1954, 175-194.
Federal Reserve Bank of St. Louis



:-,;,,,·. 197-1

& Gross
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& R1..'<:VI?~
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Nancy Tedesco, "Patterns in Prime Time," Journal of Communication,
24, 119-124.
Joseph Turow, "Advising and Ordering," Journal of Communication,
Melvin DeFleur, "Occupational Roles as Portrayed on TV," Publlc Opinion Quarterly, 1964, 57-74.
Mildred Downing, "Heroine of the Daytime Serial," Journal of Communication, 1974, 130-137.
John Seegar and Penny Wheeler, "\Vorld of Work on TV," Journal of
Broadcasting, 1073, 201-214.

'S0 l










The negative message of TV in~ludes minimizing the ,role of women in the labor force. As chart I-2 indicates, when TV shows reveal
someone's occupation, the worker is most likely to be male. Despite
the fact that 41 percent of the labor force is female, television sug~
gests that only 20 percent of the labor force is female. TV program:.
ing also suggests that working women are likely to be less competent
at their jobs, especially when a man in the same TV show holds
the same or similar job.
C:e:ART I-2.-Percentage of males among those portrayed as employed on TV,

3:30 • 11 p.m.
IO a.m. - 11 p.111.

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George Gerbner and Larry Gross, " Report on Cultural Indicators Research
Project, University of Pennsylvania," mlmeo, 1974.
Jean C. McNeil, "Feminism, Femininity, and the Television Series," Journal of Broadcasting, 1975, 257-269.
Mark Miller and Byron Reeves, "Children's Occupational Sex Role Stereotypes," Journal
of Broadcasting, in press.
s,•dney Head, "Content Analysis of Television Drama Programs," Quarterly of Film,
Radio, and TV, 1954, 175-194.
Nancy Tedesco, "Patterns In Prime Time," Journal of Communication, 24, 119-124.
Joseph Turow, "Advising and Ordering," Journal of Communication, 138-141.
Melvin DeFleur, "Occupational Roles as Portrayed on TV," Public Opinion Quarterly,
1964, 57-74.
Mildred Downing, "Heroine of the Daytime Serial," Journal of Communication, 1974,
John Seegar and Penny Wheeler, "World of Work on TV," Journal of Broadcasting,
1973, 201-214.
Federal Reserve Bank of St. Louis


Gerbner I points out that this is a characteristic of women who are
the main characters of adventure shows. As Pepper, the "Policewoman" on the show of the same name, star Angie Dickinson is continually rescued from dire and deadly situations by her male co1lea~ues.
The pattern also emerges forcefully on soap operas, a particularly
significant :finding, since soap operas treat working women as more
competent than do other forms of TV entertainment. For instance,
on the soap opera "The Doctors," surgical procedures are performed
by male physicians. Although the female doctors are said to be competent at their work, they are shown pulling case histories from file
cabinets or :filling out forms. Much of the same pattern is found on
other soap operas, where male lawyers try cases and female lawyers
research briefs for them. More generally, women do not appear in the
same professions as men : men are doctors-women, nurses; men are
lawyers-women, secretaries; men work in corporations-women tend
boutiques.• Women are also shown in a narrower range of occupations
than are men.
Instead of recognizing the importance of married women in the
labor force, television presents the idea that women's place is in the
home. This idea is conveyed in two ways. First, women are usually
placed in a sexual context or in a romantic or family role.' Two out
of every three TY women are married, were married or a,re engaged
to be married. Most TV men, by way of contrast, are single and have
always been single. Second, by disposing of single and working women through murder, accidents and other forms of violence, TV symbolically states that they are less worthy than married homemakers.
Thus, positive characteristics are ascribed to married women who
:are not active in the labor force by not letting any harm befall them.
Negative characteristics are ascribed to single and working women
'by violent mistreatment of them.
Portrayal of violence is a crucial consideration, not only because
--0f its pervasiveness on television, but also because it can be interpreted
,as a symbol of power." Aggressors have power; victims are powerless.
Therefore, since women are more likely to be victims in TV programs
and men are more likely to be aggressors, this could be interpreted
symbolically-women have no power. Married women who do not
work rarely have any direct relationship to TV's mayhem. Rather,
the female victims of violence are likely to be single, suggesting that
alliances with ·a man protect a woman from involvement with the
"evils" of the world, Finally, on those rare occasions that women are
portrayed as ( symbolically powerful) villains, the women are likely
to be working women, not housewives protected by their husbands.
This description of TV Yiolence does not indicate that women must
be violent in order to be includerl among powerful people. Rather, it
is meant to convey the fact that TV can ap.d does symbolically infer,
• Georire Gerbner, "The Dvnamlcs of Cultural Resistance,'' In Gaye Tuckman, Arlene
Kanlnn Daniels, and James Benet. editors, "Hearth and Home: Images of Women in the
Mas• Media" (New York: O:i:ford University Press, 1978).
• :llelvin DeFieur, "Occupational Roles as Portrayed on Television," Publlc Opinion
Quarterly 28 (spring 1964). 57-74.
7 George Gerbner, "Violence In Television Drama: Trends and Symbolic Fnnetlons," In
G. A; Comstock and E. A. Rubenstein. editors, "Television and Social Behavior," vol. I:
28-187 (Washington, D.C.: Government Printing Office, 1972).
RobPrt Liebert et al., "The Early Window: Elrects of Television on Children and Youth"
(NP"" York: Periramon Press, 1973).
8 Gerbner, 1972, op. cit.
Federal Reserve Bank of St. Louis

by means of violence, that single and working women are powerless
.and dispensable individuals.
In sum, TV violence contrasts married women with single women
to suggest:
1. Single women work; married women do not.
2. Single working women are more likely to encounter evil because they are not protected by a man.
3. Single working women are more likely to do evil and so depart
from stereotypes of soft, appealing femininity.
4. By implication, TV content recommends that a woman should
both marry and stay out of the labor force in order to retain her
Finally, children's programing banishes women from the labor
:force. Although these programs present roughly as many girls as
boys, they portray fewer women than men, and the occupational patterns depicted in adult programing are also found in children's programs. It is as though a young girl were being told that growing up
means disappearance from active social (occupational) life.

B. Public Television
The only existing study on the subject 9 finds that public television
also perpetuates sex-role stereotypes. However, because of its different
organizational structure and manifest content, public television d.oes
not portray sex-roles through the use of violence, but rather through
assigned areas of expertise.
First, like commercial television, public broadcasting presents a
world that is predominantly male. Eighty-five percent of those participating in adult spoken programing, other than plays (Masterpiece
Theatre, et cetera) , are male. Second, of those persons identified as
having occupatfons, roughly 80 percent are male-the same proportion found by studies of commercial television. Third, when men are
identified as having occupations, they are in appropriately sex-typed
jobs. (Occupations may be sex-typed by examining the proportion of
men and women in a specific occupation in comparison to their respective shares of the over-all labor force.) Thus, 76 percent of the
men were in "male" jobs and 24 percent in "neuter" jobs; none in
"female" jobs.
This distribution results from public television's extensive use of
journalists and professional "experts" in its proITT"ams. The women
who appear have similar jobs (62 percent male jobs; 32 percent neutral jobs; 6 percent female jobs). But, they are called upon to discuss
areas of expertise associated with women. Men overwhelmingly discuss business, economics, law and government (56 percent of male experts) and science ( 10 percent of male experts), areas in which only
26 percent and 3 percent, respectively, of the female experts are found.
omen, as experts, are concentrated in such areas ·as education and
career planning ( 16 percent of the .women, 3 percent of the men) ; art,
music and culture (11 percent of the women, 4 percent of the men);
personalities and biographies (14 percent of the women, 4 percent of
the men); and items of general interest (16 percent of the women,
13 percent of the men).


• Caroline Isber and Muriel Cantor, "Report of the Task Force on Women In Public
Broadcasting" (Washington, D.C.: Corporation for Public Broadcasting, 19711),
Federal Reserve Bank of St. Louis

Cantor concludes that "although they differ in their structure and
purposes, both commercial and public television disseminate the same
message about women." 10
omen's place is in the home, not in the
labor force. omen who do work should deal with topics and concerns
"appropriate" for women.



0. Television Oommercials
TV ads are both more stringent and strident in their depiction of
sex-role stereotypes than is either commercial or public programing.
,vhere programing merely wants to appeal to stereotypes to attract
an audience, ads invoke stereotypes at their most fundamental levels
in order to sell a product. A daring comedy might show two women
discussing the relative merits of power-lawn mowers; it would be bad
business for a commercial to do so.
Three characteristics of TV ads demonstrate that they show women
as nonparticipants in the labor force. First, like television programs,
commercials emphasize the role of men and minimize the role of
women in our society. For instance, there are more all-male than allfemale commercials on children's TV; the ratio of all-male to allfemale ads is approximately three to one. 11 Second, males dominate in
voice-overs. (A "voice-over" is an unseen person vocalizing about a
product, for example an unseen person proclaims "two out of three
doctors recommend ... " or "now on sale at your local ... ") In 1972,
Dominick and Rauch found that of 946 ads with voice-overs, "only 6
percent used a female voice.12 Both prior and subsequent studies report
similar findings. 13
Third, by emphasizing women's role in the home and virtually ignoring her role in the labor force, the commercials strongly encourage
sex-role stereotyping. Although research findings are not strictly comparable to those on TV programs because of the dissimilar "plots,"
the portrayals of women may be said to be even more limited than
those presented on TV dramas and comedies. In an excellent review
article, Linda Busby summarized findings of four major studies of
TV ads. One study found that:
37.5 percent of the ads showed women as men's domestic adjuncts.
33.9 percent showed women as dependent on men.
24.3 percent showed women as submissive.
42.6 percent showed women as household functionaries!'
10 l\Inrlel Cantor, "Where Are the Women In Public TelPvlsion 7" In G. Tncbmnn Pt nl.,
eds., "HParth and Home: Images of Women In the Mass Media" (New York: Oxford UnlYersit:v Press. 1978).
11 Stephen Schuetz and Joyce Sprafkln, "Spot Messages on Ratnr<lay Morning 'J'Plevlsion
Programs: A Content Analysis." in G. Tuchman et al., eds .. "Hearth and Home: Images of
Women In the Mass Medill" (New York: Oxford University Press. 1978).
12 .Joseph Dominick and Gall Ranch. "The Ima{\"e of Women in Network TV Commercials,"
Jonrnal of Broadcasting 16 (3), (19721, 259-265.
13 Jn<lith Bardwlck and Suzanne Schumann, "Portrait of American Men and Women In
TV Commercials." Psychology IV (4) (1967). 18-23.
Arthur Ja:v RllvPrsteln and Rebecca RllvPrsteln, "The Portrayal of Women in Television
AchPrtlsing." FCC Bar Journnl 0974). 71-98.
14 Linda J. Busby, "Sex-Role Research on the Mass Media," Journal of Communication
25 (4) (1975), 107-131.
Federal Reserve Bank of St. Louis

Busby's summary of Dominick and Rauch's work reveals a similar
concentration upon women as homemakers, rather than as active members of the labor force:
Women were seven times more likely to appear in ads for personal ·hygiene
products than not to appear [in those ads].
Seventy-five percent of all ads using females were for products found in the
kitchen or in the bathroom.
Thirty-eight percent of all females in the television ads were shown inside
the home, compared to fourteen percent of the males.
Men were significantly more likely to be shown outdoors or in business settings
than were women.
Twice as many women were shown with children [than] were men.
Fifty-six percent of the women in the ads were judged to be [only] housewives.
Forty-three percent different occupations were [associated with] men, 18 with

Dominick and Rauch's work is confirmed by several other studies,
all reviewed and assessed by Courtney and vVhipple.15 Both Busby
and Courtney and Whipple point out that several of the studies might
be challenged, because they were undertaken by feminists who had a
preestablished viewpoint, rather than by more objective researchers.
Furthermore, each study used different categories to code the data for
subsequent analysis. Nonetheless, Busby and Courtney and vVhipple
independently conclude that all available studies of women's portrayal
in TV commercials, including those of avowed feminists, have strong
"face validity." "Face validity" means, that the findings are so similar
they appear to be the result of real patterns on TV, rather than being
the result of the researchers' methods and predispositions.
In sum, all aspects of television-commercial programing, public
programing and advertisements-emphasize woman's role in the home
at the expense of her role in the labor force.

As the American girl grows to womanhood, she, like her counterparts elsewhere in industrialized nations, has at her disposal magazines designed especially for her use. Some, like Seventeen whose
readers tend to be young adolescents, seek to teach her about contemporary fashions and dating styles. Others, like Cosmopolitan and
Redhook, aim to instruct her in survival as a young woman-whether
as a single woman supposedly hunting a mate in the city or a young
married coping with home and hearth. One fact stands out about
women's magazines. Like the television programs just discussed, from
the earliest analyses of magazine fiction in 1949 16 to analyses published in the early 1970's,17 researchers have reported an emphasis on
home and hearth and a, denigration of the working woman. The ideal
woman, according to these magazines, is passive and dependent. Her
15 N. E. Courtney and T. W. Whipple, "Women in TV Commercials," Journal of Communication 24 (2) (1974), 110-118.
1 • P. John-Heine and H. Gerth, "Values in Mass Periodical Fiction, 1921-40," Public
Opinion Quarterly 13 (spring 1949), 105-113.
11 He!P.n Franzwa. "Working Women in Fact and Fiction," Journal of Communication 24
(2\ (1974), 104-lOfl.
Helen Franzwa, "Pronatal!sm in Women's Magazine Fiction," in Ellen PPale and J11d!th
Denderow!tz. editors, "Pronatalism: The Myth of Motherhood and Apple Pie" (New York:
T. Y. Crowell 1974 b), 68-77.
Helen Franzwa, "Female RolPs in Women's MagazlM Fiction. 1940-70." In R. K. rnger
and F. L. DPnmark. editors. "Women: Dependent or Independent Variable" (New York:
Psychological Dimensions 1975), 42-53.
Federal Reserve Bank of St. Louis

fate and her happiness lie in the arms of a man, not in participation in
the labor force.
Particularly in middle class magazines, fiction depicts women ''as
creatures* * * defined by the men in their lives." 17a Studying a random sample of issues of Ladies Home Journal, McCalls, and Good
Housekeeping between the years 1'940 and 1970, . Helen Franzwa
found four roles for women: "Single and looking for a husband,
housewife-mother, spinister, and widowed or divorced-soon to remarry." 17b .All the women were defined by the men in their lives, or
by the absence of a man. Flora 18 confirms this finding in her study
of middle class (Redhook and Cosmopolitan) and working class (True
Story and Modern Romances) fiction. She a<,lds that female dependence and passivity are lauded; on the rare occasions that male dependence is portrayed, it is seen as undesirable.
As might be expected of characterization that define women in
terms of men, American magazine fiction denigrates the working
woman. Franzwa 19 puts it this way: Work is shown to play "a distinctly secondary part in women's lives. ·when work is portrayed as
important to them, there is a concomitant disintegration of their
lives." Of the 155 major female characters in Franzwa's sample. only
65 or 41 percent were employed outside the home. Seven of the 65 held
high-status positions. Of these seven, only two were married. Three
others were spinsters whose "failure to marry was of far greater importance to the story line than their apparent success in their careers."
One single woman with a high status career was lauded: She gave up
her career to marry.
From 1940 through 1950, Franzwa found working mothers and
working wives were condemned. Instead, the magazines emphasized
that husbands should support their spouses. One story summary symbolizes the magazines' viewpoint:
In a 1940 story, a young couple realized that they couldn't live on his salary.
She offered to work ; he replied, "I don't think that's so good. I know some fellows whose wives work and they might just as well not be married." 00

Magazines after 1950 are less forthright about work: In 1955,
1960, 1965, and 1970, not one married woman who worked appeared
in the stories Franzwa sampled. (Franzwa selected stories from
magazines using 5-year intervals to enhance the possibility of finding changes.)
Fiction designed for working-class women also projects a negative image of working women. Comparing fiction in magazines for
the middle class and working class, Flora 21 found that all middleclass women depicted dropped from the labor force when they had
a man present; 94 percent of the working-class women did so. Flora
explains that for both groups:
The plot of the majority of stories centered upon the female achieving the
proper dependent status, either by marrying or manipulating existing dependency relationships to reaffirm the heroine's subordinate position. The male support-monetary, social, and psychological-which the heroine gains was generally seen as well worth any independence or selfhood given up in the process.""
11a Franzwa, "Working Women In Fact and Fiction."
t7b Franzwa, "Working Women In Fact and Fiction."
18 Cornelia Flora, "The Passive Female: Her Comparative

Image by Class and Culture
in Women's Magazine Fiction," Journal of Marriage and the Family" (August 1971),
19 Franzwa, "Working Women in Fact and E'lctlon,"
20 Ibid., pp. 106-108.
21 Flora. op. cit.
a Flora, op. cit., p. 441.
Federal Reserve Bank of St. Louis

However, it must be emphasized that the depiction of women in
these magazines has changed, as a larger proportion of women have
entered the labor force. Studies published in 1958 28 and 1966 24 discuss nonfiction articles in middle-class women's magazines that involve
jobs for women. Both sets of researchers criticize the women's magazines for being unrealistic. The earlier study complains that Mademoiselle, Glamour, and Charm were unduly optimistic in their evaluation of physical and emotional strains upon working women. Themagazines assume that every woman is superwoman and can combine a demanding full-time job, family life and social life without
various forms of assistance. The 1966 study criticizes Mademoiselle,
Glamour, and Cosmopolitan for "an extraordinary heavy use of male
motivational themes" 25-such as amassing power-when describing
professional work. They feel those magazines ignore factors which
influence women to work and the kinds of jobs actually available to
Additionally, there is limited evidence of change since the advent
of the modern women's movement, which began with the publication
of Friedan's Feminine Mystique. 26 (Its analysis of sexism-"the problem with no name"-was based in part on an analysis of women's
magazines.) Stolz and her colleagues 27 found no changes in the
portrayal of women between 1940 and 1972. However, Franzwa reports
than an impressionistic study of the magazines she had analyzed
earlier suggested more sympathy with working women by 1975.28
Sheila Silver and others find a sympathetic attitude toward working
women in McCall's and other magazines. 29 Nonetheless, these magazines continue to concentrate on helping women as housewives, not
as workers in the labor force. Although their message varies slightly
according to the social class of their readers. 30 magazines continue to
assume that every woman will marry, bear children, and make a home.
They do not assume that every woman will work some time in her
life-despite the increasing prohability that this is indeed the case. 31



The very existence of women's magazines indicates that sex roles
are stereotyped, because they imply that men and women have separate
interests and concerns. One author points out that men's magazines
include items about sports, occupations, and the general American
culture; items also of interest to women. 32 But women's magazines
are not designed to appeal to men. 33
2a M. G. Hatch and D. L. Hatch, "Problems of Marrle/1 amt Working Women as Presented
by Three Popular Working Women's Magazines," Social Forces 87 (1958), 148-15::l.
.. P. Clarke and V. Esposito, "A Study of Occupational Advice for Women in Magazines,"
Journalism Quarterly 43 (1966), 477-485,
""Clark and Esposito, quoted in Busby, op, cit.
"'Betty Frleda.n, "The Feminine Mystique" (New York: Norton Co., 1963),
"'Gale K. Stolz et al., "The Occupational Roles of Women in Magazines and Books," unpublished manuscript (Chicago: Loyola University, n,d,g.).
28 Franzwa. personal communication, October 1976.
29 Shella Silver, "Then and Now-Content Analysis of McCall's MagazinP.." paper presented at the annual meetings of the Association for Education in Journalism, 1976.
Margaret Davis, "The Ladies' Home Journal and Esquire: A Comparison," unpublished
manuscript, Stanford University, Department of Sociology, 1976.
80 Carole Lopate, "Jackie," in G. Tuchman et al., editors. "Hearth and Home: Images or
Women In the Mass Media (New York: Oxford University Press, 1978).
81 Several new magazines which are addressed to the working woman are being published,
such as Workinl!' Woman, New Woman, and Ms.
88 Davis, op. cit.
88 Marjorie Ferguson, "Imagery and Ideology : The Cover Photographs of Traditional
Women's Magazines." in G. Tuchman et al., editors, "Hearth and Home: Images of Women
1n the Mass Media" (New York: Oxford University Press, 1978).
Federal Reserve Bank of St. Louis

The same distinction betwen general interests and women's interests
is found in newspapers. 34 1Vomen are presumed to be interested in
men's activities, but the reverse is not held to be true.
omen's conce1:1s are deJ?icted to be th~ home, fa1!1ilY, fashions, furnishings, recipes,
society parties, and marnages-top1cs supposedly beyond the pale for
~en_ wh? ha~·e c~nfor_rncd to their appropriate sex-role stereotype. The
d1s~mct10n 1s histor1ca1Jy grounded: stories on sex-typed women's
topics were first carried in the 188ffs on pages with .advertisements of
interest to women. They were viewed as a novelty, akin to sports news
and cartoons, which were also introduced to build readership at that
time. As novelties. they were viewed as nonnews by professional journalists, a definition that still exi.sts. 35 Today's women's pages do not
view women as interested or involved in the labor force, except when
their paid occnpations have an adwrse affect on their ability to fulfill
home and family responsibilities. 36
Five recent stndies are critical to nndrrstanding contemporary
women's pages. One smTey of the Kation's women's pages found a
great emphasis upon marriage, recipes. and traditional women's concerns.37 A second author noted that urban nrv;,-spapers cover society
parties and dinners; thev hold np the social activities of wealthy
women (nonparticipants in the labor force) as examplt?s of behavior
toward which all women should aspirc. 3 s A third author suggested
that women's pages tt?ncl to fNtturc women who are important only
because they are the wivt?s of important men-that is, satellitesleading to the infrrt?nce that this tvpe of dependent woman is the
"ideal." The most admired women list features, for the most part,
satellite women. RC'cently some satellite wives have tried to become
activitists or personalities in their own right by having their famous
husbands or fathers sponsor their activity or project. 39
A fourth author not<'d the emphasis upon home, marriage and
wealth and the rninimalization of concern with participation in the
labor force. She adds that recent attempts to upgrade the women's
page by converting it to a people or -famil:v page have similarly played
down women's economic actfrities. Rather than increasing coverage of
women's participation in the labor force and of the women's movement,
the people pages have incorporated other items formerly found elsewhere in newspapers, such as movie reviews, restaurant reviews, and
stories about celebrities. 40
Finally, one studv finds some coverage of women in the labor force
in the New York Times, primarily coverage of the women's movement.41 It suggests that coverage of the women's movement went


.. Cynthia Fuchs Epstein, "The Women's Movement and the Women's Pages: Reparnte:
Unequal and Unspectacular," in G. Tuchman et al., editors. "Hearth and Home: Images of
Women in the Mass Media" (New York: Oxford University Press. 1978).
""Harvey L. Molotch, "Men's Work, Women's News." In G. Tuchman et al., editors,
"Hearth and ,Home: Images of Women in the Mass Media" (New York: Oxford University
Prl'SS, 1978) .
.. Zena B. Guenin, "Women's Pages In Contemporary Newspapers : Missing Out on Contemporary Content," Journalism Quarterly (1974). 66-69, 75.
37 Lindsay Van Gelder. "Women's Pages: Ya Can't Make News Out of a Silk Purse,"
MS (November 1974), 112-116.
•• G. William Domhoff. "The Women's Page as a Window on the Ruling Class," In G.
Tuchman et al., editors, "Hearth and Home: Images of Women in the Mass Media" (New
York: Oxford University Press, 1978).
39 Gladys Engel Lang, "The Most Admired Woman," In G. Tuchman et al.. editors,
"Hearth and Home: Images of Women in the Mass Media" (New York: Oxford University
Press. 1978).
•• Guenin, op. cit.
" Gaye Tuchman, "The Newspaper as a Social Movement's Resource," In Gaye Tuchman
et al., editors, "Hearth and Home: Image of Women in the Mass Media" (New York:
bxford University Press, 1978).
Federal Reserve Bank of St. Louis

through several stages : first, ridicule and ostracism ; second, restriction to the women's page; and third, coverage of political and economic
activities, including participation in the labor force, on general news
pages as issues introduced by feminists were brought into the institutionalized congressional and legal arenas.
Yet here, too, all recent studies find that newspapers, like other
media, perpetuate sex-role stereotyping. Images presented of women
lag well behind the actual participation of ,vomen in the labor force.
They reflect dominant attitudes that "·omen's task is to tend the home.



Uro:N" L.rnou FoucE


A dilemma remains. All the media discussed land nonworking wives.
Yet women continue to enter the labor force at a rate that has far
exceeded the predictions of demographers and specialists on the labor
·w-iiat are we to make of this discrepancy behveen the sex-role stereotypes reflected in the media and the ei111)loyment pattern of "·omen?
Does the discrepancy mean that the mass media reflect attitudes discarded by the population and have no effect on the behavior of women?
This latter possibility is quite seductive. given the pattern of women's
high labor force participation. But thi1t conclusion conflicts with
every existing theory about the mass media. Communications theorists
agree that mass media are the cement of American social life-a source
of common interest and of conversation. Children and adults may
schedule their activities around favorite television programs. The mass
media sen·e to coordinate the activities of diverse sociPtal institutions,
and they pass on the social heritage from one generation to the next.
The view that the media influence work patterns seems plausible,
because most women enter the labor force out of perceived economic
necessity; yet they continue to maintain traditional beliefs about
women's role in the home. 42 "\Vomen enter the labor force despite the
stereotypes perpetrated by the mass media.
The mass media probably inhibits women's employment, discourages ,vomen's educational and occupational aspirations, and facilitates
the underemployment of women by encouraging prospective employers
to identify women workers with low-paying traditional female jobs.
This analysis of the role of the media is substantiated by all available
evidence about the impact of the media upon sex-role stereotyping.
Aimee Dorr Leifer 43 points out that television provides many of
the same socialization processes as the family. It may enn compete
"·ith the family as a socializing agent. The impact of television upon
children is particularly clear regarding the effect of television violence.
This evidence is available because of the national push for such research after the political assassinations and riots of the 1960's. Because
tlwre has not been a similar push to learn about the impact of televised sex-role stereotypes, one must draw upon the violence studies
to discuss sex roles.
,2 Karen Oppenheim Mason, John L. Ciajka, and Sara Arber, "Chani;:e In U.S. Women"s Sex
RolP Attitudes." American Sociological Review 41 ( 4) (1976). 57:-l-5116.
"Aimee Dorr Leifer, "Socialization Processes in the Family," paper presented at Prix
Jeunesse Seminar, l\Iunlch, Germany, 1075.
Federal Reserve Bank of St. Louis

A. The Violence S&udiea
Social science researchers frequently disagree about which methods
of research are appropriate to gain insight into a problem. All seem
ready to ·admit that the ideal way to explore television's impact would
be to perform ·a controlled experiment in a Mtural setting. Ideally,
one would isolate a group that did not watch television, matching
characteristics of. in~ividuals in_ that group with the characteristics
of others whose viewmg was designed by the researchers. The groups
would be studied over a period of some to see whether the effects
of TV are cumulative.
_Unfortunately, such a research design is impossible. Because virtually all American homes have at least one television set, one cannot
locate children tJo be in the "control group"-children who have not
been exposed to television. To circumvent this _Problem, the violence
researchers used both laboratory ·and field experiments. In the former,
-children were exposed to carefully selected ( and sometimes specially
prepared) videotapes, lasting anywhere from 10 minutes to an hour.
Their behavior was analyzed before, during and after viewing the
tape. By carefully controlling which children would see what tape
( desigmng "oontrol groups"), the experimenters could comment upon
the effect of televised violence on the children. Unfortunately, such
studies artificial. Researchers cannot state definitively the extent to
which the research findings are related to behavior in the real world.
Although the second approach, field experiments, does not "smell of
the laboratory," it •too has difficulties. First, such studies invar~ably
"correla.tional." 'I1ha.t means the studies demonstrate that two kinds
of behavior are found together; the studies cannot state whether one
behavior causes the other or whether both behaviors caused by a
third characteristic of the children being studied. For instance, in the
violence studies, of researchers asked youths and children rubout
their viewing habits ( and in one case tried to control those habits) and
also measured (in a variety of ways) their antisocial behavior. Although viewing aggression and antisocial behavior were invariably
found to be associated, it remains possible that some third factor accounted for the variation.
'I1he :Ila.ct that different researoh teams interviewed children of different sexes, ages, social classes, and races living in different parts of
the country makes it fairly certain that a third factor was not responsible for the association of TV viewing and antisocial behavior. 'I1his
conclusion is strengthened by evidence from the laboratory studies :
The conclusions from both types of research dovetail, rather than contradict one another. Furthermore, since the U.S. Surgeon General
issued his report in 1973, additional field studies have found:

That viewing televised or filmed violence in a naturalistic setting increases the
incidence of naturally occurring aggression, that long-term exposure to television
may increase one's :aggressiveness, and ,that exposure to televised violence may
increase one's ,tolerance for everyday aggression!'
" Ibid., p. 15.
Federal Reserve Bank of St. Louis

B. The Sew Role Studies
Studies of the impact of televised sex role stereotypes draw on the
same methods and research reasoning as the violence studies; First,
content analyses document the extent of stereotyping. Second, laboratory experiments seek to document the impact of controlled viewing
upon resea.roh subjects, Third, field studies (including attitudinal
surveys) try to locate differences between the attitudes of children
who are light TV viewers and those who 1are heavy viewers, while
controlling for other pertinent variables. Like the violence studies,
those concerning sex roles draw on the concept of socialization. They
ask, do girls model their own behavior on that observed on television j
This general question may be broken d<;>wn into five component
1. Do girls pay closer attention to f em,,a,¼ characters than to rruile
characters ?-Joyce Sprafkin and Robert Liebert report the results of
three laboratory experiments designed to see whether (a) boys and
girls each prefer TV programs featuring actors of their own sex, (b)
whether the children pay closer attention when someone of the same
sex is on the TV screen,· and (c) whether the children prefer to watch
members of their own sex engaging in sex-typed behavior (playing
with dolls or footballs, reading with one's parents).45 To gather information, they enabled the child being tested to switch a dial, choosing between an episode of "Nanny and the Professor" and one of the
"Brady Bunch." (Children like to watch situation comedies.) 46 For
each program, episodes featuring male or female characters were
selected with different episodes showing a boy or girl engaged in a sextyped or non-sex-typed behavior. The findings are clear: In their view
habits, children prefer sex-typing. They prefer programs featuring
actors of their own sex; they watch members o:f their own sex more
closely; they also pay more attention when a member of their own sex
engages in sex-typed behavior. According to Sprafkin and Liebert,
such behavior probably involves learning, because according topsychological theories, children prefer to exposethemselves to same-sex models as ,an informa·tion-seeking stmtegy; children are
presumed to attend to same-sex peers because they already sense that much social
reinforcement is sex-typed, and want to discover the contingencies that apply to
their own gender.47

2. Do girls value the attributes of femal,e characters or of rruile
characters?-The evidence on .evaluation is not as clear. A variety of
communications researchers, particularly groups working at Michigan
State University and University of Wisconsin, have performed a
series of laboratory experiments to determine which specific characters
boys and girls prefer, and why. They find that invariably boys identify
with male characters. Sometimes though ( about 30 percent of the time)

•• Joyce Sprafkin and Robert Lil'bert, "Sex and Sex Roles as Determinants of Children's
Television Program Selections and Attention," unpublished manuscript, State University
of New York at Stonybrook, 1976,
.. J, Lyle and H. R. Hoffman, "Children's Use of Television and Other Media," in Television and Social Behavior, vol. 4 (Washington, D.C. : U.S. Government Printing Office,
•• Sprofkln and Liebert, op. cit., p. 22. Cf., J. E. Grusec and D. B. Brinker, Jr.J "Reinforcement for Imitation as a Social Learning Determinant With Implications ror Sex-Role
Development," Journal of Personality and Social Psychology 21, (1972), 149-158.
Federal Reserve Bank of St. Louis

girls also identify with or prefer male characters.48 ,vhen girls choose
a TV character as a model, they are guided by the character's physical
attractiveness; boys are guided by strength. Indeed, even when girls
select a male character, they appear to be guided by his physical attractiveness. Girls who select male characters do not state that the female
characters do the same kind of things as they, themselves, do.49
3. Does TV viewing have an impact on the attitudes of y<>Ung children toward sew roles?-Here the evidence is clearer. Freuh and McGhee 50 interviewed children in kindergarten through sixth grade,
asking them about the amount of time they spend watching TV and
testing the extent and direction of their occupational sex-typing. The
children who viewed the most TV (25 hours or more each week) were
significantly more traditional in their occupational sex-typing than
those who viewed the least (10 hours or less per week). Because this
study is correlational, one cannot know whether viewing determines
sex-typing or vice versa. But Beu£ 51 reports similar correlational findings; TV does seem to be the culprit, according to laboratory studies
on TV viewing and occupational preferences.
Miller and Reeves 52 asked children to watch TV characters in traditional and nontraditional roles and then asked them what kinds of jobs
boys and girls could hold when they grow up. Children exposed to programs about female police officers, for instance, were significantly
more likely to state that a women could <be a police officer than were
children w·ho watched more traditional fare. Pingree 53 reports similar
laboratory results for nonsexist commercials.
4. Do these attitudes continue as children mature?-lt is known that
sex-typing increases as children mature. Second-graders are more
insistent in their sex-typing than first graders are. Adolescent boys and
girls insist upon discriminating betwen behavior by sex. But nobody
knows about the impact of TV on this process. Teenagers claim the
ability to differentiate between what is real and what is fantasy in
entertainment shows. (Medical shows are supposedly real; a flying nun
is phoney.) 54 But no one has asked the children about sex-typing. H the
research on violence is any indication, however, continued exposure
should lead to a greater impact.
•• Byron Reeves and Bradley Greenberg, "Children's Perceptions of TV Characters,"
papn presented at the annual meeting of the Association for Education in Journalism,
College Park, Md., 1976.
Mark M. Miller and Byron Reeves. "Children's Occupational Sex-Role Stereotypes :
The Linkaire Between Television Content and Perception," Journal of Brodcasting (in
preRs). 1976.
:\lark 111. llfiller, "Factors Affecting Children's Choices of TV Characters as Sex-Role
lllodels," paper presented at the annual meeting of the Association for Education in Journalism, College Park. Md .. 1976.
Byron Reeves, "The Dimensional Structure of Children's Perception of TV Characters "
unpnbllshed doctoral dissertation, Michigan State University, 1976.
•• Reeves, op. cit.
50 T. Frneh and P. Fl. McGhee. "Traditional Sex-Role Develonment and Amount of
Tim!' Spent Watc-hing TeleviRion," Developmental Psvcholog:v 11 (1975) 109
51 Ann R~uf. "Doctor, Lawyer, Household Drudge," Journal of Co~mui{lcatlon 24 (2)
(1974 l. 142-145.

Miller: and Reeves, op. cit.
s.s Su•1mne Pingree, "The Eft'ects of Nonsexist Television Commercials end Perceptions
of RPality on Children's Attitudes Toward Women." paper presentPd a.t the annual· meetings
of :_he International Communication Association, Portland, Oreg., 1976.
Leifer, op. cit., pp, 33-39.
Federal Reserve Bank of St. Louis

5. Does TV viewing influence the ambitions of adolescent girlsfw·ork by Gross and Jeffries-Fox 55 indicates, definitely yes. In their
field study, they find :
TV viewing is negatively associated with educational aspirations.
The daughters of the college educated who are high TV viewers ·are happy at
the thought of being a full-time mother at age 30 ; low TV viewers are not.
High-viewing is also associated with being happy at the thought of having
four children by age 30. Low-viewing is associated with smaller family size.
Heavy television viewing is particularly likely to be associated with traditional
responses (that is, to become wives and mothers) by the daughters of the collegeeducated. These patterns do not hold for sons.

Finally, it is possible that the impact of heavy television viewing
will continue when these adolescents become adults, providing they are
still heavy viewers and.TV stereotyping persists. As social psychologists stress, socialization is an ongoing process. In summary, mass
media have an adverse effect on the self-image of girls and women as
capable contributors to the economy and to society.



Taken together, the preceding materials suggest that the image of
women projected by mass media may exert a conservative force upon
the employment of women. The lessons provided by the mass media
1. Prevent some aflluent and other classes of women from seeking employment.
2. Discourage women who must work from seeking better jobs or setting higher

However, it is impossible to prove this statement because there are no
studies about the relationship between media use and labor force participation. The closest approximation to such research is a dissertation
on media use and the occupational aspirations of adolescent girls and
boys. 56 Conversely, nothing is known about the impact of the media
upon employers. Therefore:
Recommendation 1: Congress should fund a full-scale analysi.<J of
the effect of mass-media images uf..on children and adults. Funded on
the scale of the "Surgeon Generals Report on Violence and Children,"
such a study would provide benefits beyond the discovery of new information. By generating publicity, it would help to establish the equality of women as a national priority.
Additionally, other actions should be undertaken even before such
an inquiry is completed. They are more than justified by the known
influence of the mass media upon children's sex-role stereotyping.
These other measures, however, are more complex to initiate because
of the nature of the agencies responsible for the regulation of the
1. Newspapers and news magazines are regulated by the Post Office and Federal
Trade Commission.
""Larry Gross and Suzanne Jeffries-Fox, 1978. "What Do You Want To Be When You
Grow Up Little Girl?" A paper presented at the syrnpoRlurn on women and the news media
sponsored by the National Science Foundation, San Francisco, April 1975. For additional
and somewhat contradictory deta, see a later draft of this paper in G. Tuchman et al.,
"Hearth end Horne: Images of Women in the Mass Media" (New York: Oxford University
Press, 1978) .
. 66 Suzanne Jeffries-Fox, "Television and Adolescent Girls' Occupational Aspirations,"
Ph. D. disRertation, in process, Annenberg School of Communication, University of

Federal Reserve Bank of St. Louis

2. Advertising on the electronic media is scrutinized by the Federal Trade
Commission (FTC) and is also under the aegis of the Federal Communications
Commission (FCC). .
3. The FCC provides the primary regulation of radio and television, although
there is some overlap with other agencies, that is, the U.S. Commission of Civil
Rights in such matters as Equal Employment Opportunities. Generally, the FOC
,encourages self-regulation through the National Association of Broadcasters and
the N.A.B. Code.111

Reaomnnendation 9J: Oongress should fund a pilot project at several
newspapers serving aities of varying sizes to see whether inareased
staffing aould alter the portrayal of wom,en on women's pages. This rec-ommendation is based on the assumption that more local reporting and
less use of syndicated items would alter the portrayal of women in
Reaomnnendation 3: Sew-role stereotypes in the eleatronia medi,a
should be banned: The monitoring of the electronic media should be
more thorough. First, the Federal Trade Commission should be en•couraged to enforce more strictly the advertising code of the National
Association of Broadcasters. According to the code:
The broadcaster and the advertiser should exercise special caution with the
•content and presentation of television commercials placed in or near programs
designed for children.
. . . Exploitation of children should be avoided. Commercials directed to children should in no way mislead as to the product's performance or usefulness. 68

Reaormmendation 4: the Federal Trade Oornmission should ban sewtyped advertising. If the FTC fails to do this, Congress should enact
the appropriate laws.
According to the National Association of Broadcasters' Code:
Advertising messages should be presented with courtesy and good taste-every effort should be made to keep advertising messages in harmony with the
content and general tone of ,the program in which it appears.60

This should be interpreted as applying to sex-typing in all commercials. According to Silverstein and Silverstein: 60
The portrayal of women in commercials does not depend upon the type of
program in which they are aired. Rather, the type of program determines the
nature of the product advertised, which in ,turn determines the portrayal of
women in advertisements.
Sex-role stereotyping can be found in advertising for male-oriented, female-oriented and neuter products.

Reaommendation 5: The NAB Oode should be interpreted as banning sew-role stereotypes.
Specific attention should be paid to sex-role stereotypes in program
content. Although the FCC has traditionally shied •away from tho
regulation of television content, a recent notice of inquiry departed
from tha;t stance. 'J\he FCC acknowledged the Supreme Court's recent
Red Lion decision which declared that broadcasters' first amendment
rights are not superior to those of the viewers :61 The FCC declared
tha~ it had both the righ~ and the affirmative duty to develop policy
designed to assure that children's programs and accompanying adver67 The NAB radio and TV codes are broadcasting standards established by the industry
anfl subscribed to voluntarily by many commercial broadcasters. as part ot an industrywide self-regulatory program.
•• National Association of Broadcasters, "The Television Code" 19th edition sec X p·a•
3, June 1976, p. 12.
• '
""Ibid., sec. X, par. 1, p. 12.
80 8llversteln and Silverstein, op. cit., pp. 95-96.
81 395 U.S. 367 (1969).
Federal Reserve Bank of St. Louis

tisements serve the public interest. Furthermore, dissenting opinions
is.sued by FCC commissioners affirm the right and duty of the FCC to
regulate program content.
Recorn;me,ndation 6: The FOO should be encouraged to effect its
nght and affirmative duty in regard to sew-role sterotypvng in all tele-vision programing. This is vital because in 1974 62 the FCC declar~d
itself willing to give the industry another opportunity to regulate itself; at the same time, the NAB Code did nothing to alter its regulations, which were inadequate regarding sex-roles. Only two paragraphs in the NAB Code pertain to rthe portrayal of women:
Special sensitivity is necessary in the use of material relating to sex, race, color,
age, creed, .religious functionaries or rites, or national and ethnic derivation...
[Section IV, paragraph 7, 1976 (Code)].
The presentation of marriage, the family and similarly important human relationships, and materials with sexual connotations, shall not be treated exploitatively or irrespons~bly, but with sensitivity; Costuming and movements of all
performers shall be handled in a similar fashion .. (sootion IV, paragraph 9).

The code authority of the NAB holds that section IV, paragraph 7
Advertisers and broadcasters should endeavor to depict all persons in a positive manner, always keeping in mind the importance of human dignity to every
human being.
Increased efforts should be made to promote concepts of self-pride, dignity
and individual worth.
All parties involved in the preparation of broadcast material should be sensitive to the need for balance in the portrayal of men and women in all aspects of
society, both inside and outside of the home.'"

Nonetheless, individual stations continue to interpret section IV,
paragraph 7, as applying to sex, rather than to sex roles. The 1975
statement of the code authority has not been applied to sex-role stereotyping and occupational stereotypes.
Written guidelines used at the networks do not rectify this omission
inasmuch as content analyses (previously reviewed) find that stereotyping continues to be unabated. The Columbia Broadcasting System
(CBS) has no written guidelines as of October 1, 1976. The American
Broadcasting Company (ABC) does not mention stereotyping:
ABC will accept no program which misrepresents, ridicules, or attacks any
Individual or group on a basis of race, creed, sex, color, or national origin.""

The National Broadcasting Co. (NBC) does specify:
Special sensitivity is necessary in presenting material relating to sex, age,
race, color, creed, religion or national or ethnic origin to avoid contributing to
damaging or demeaning stereotypes.17

Actual practices seem to be summed by the ABC spokesperson
who explained that its Broadcasting Standards and Practices Department (a) employs sensitive people, and (b) deletes adverse terms such
as "chick" and ''broad" from programs. The spokesperson then negated
09 Federal Communications Commission, ."Report and Polley Statement, Chlldren's TeleYlslon Programs," 39 F.R. 39400, Nov. 6, 1974.
• National Association of Broadcasters, sec. IV, par, 7, p. 5.
"Ibid., sec. IV, par. 9, p. 5.
• Code authority of the National Association of Broadcasters, board statement on sex
depictions after NOW appeal, Code News 8 (10) (1975), p. 2.
60 Telephone conversation with American Broadcasting Co. spokesperson re ABC Stand•
ards and Practices, sec. III.
"'National Broadcasting Co., "NBC Broadcast Standards for Television, n.d.g., pp. 6-7,

Federal Reserve Bank of St. Louis

this positive attitude toward sex stereotyping by refusing to comment
on sex-role occupational stereotyping. The networks, the NAB, and
the FCC have not addressed themselves to the negative pa.ttern .of
wonien's images that is aired. In a case in which a licensee (WRC-TV)
was challenged and allegations made about the negative pattern of portrayal of women, the FCC placed the burden of proof upon the challenger rather than the licensee and did not find the licensee at fault. 68
Recommendation 't: Congress should pass appropriate legislation
requirinq the F OC to serve the public interest by denying the 1·enewal
of licenses when a challenger can establish a pattern of stereotyping
in programs aired by the licensee. The emphasis upon patterns is crucial, since legislation about the content of any one program can be interpreted as a violation of the first amendment, notwithstanding the
Supreme Court's Reel Lion decision.
Recommendation 8: Congress should use its indirect infiuence on
public television to iniprove the portrayal of women on public TV ( as
well as the employment p1~ocesses in the Congress itself.
Recommendation 9: Priority should be given to the enforcement of
affirmative action programs in mass media organizations. Present
forms used by the FCC to gather data about the employment of women
and minorities are vague: 69
1. It cannot be determined ho"· many white women, "·hite men, black men,
other women, and other men are employed by any station or b~· all stations.
Q, The job classifications used obscure the actual responsibilities and power
of men and women, blacks and whites.
3. It cannot be determined how many or what proportion of female and
minority employment would meet a requirement or would represent the viewers or workers in a licensee's city or signal area.
4. Hiring patterns and available jobs over the past licensing period are not
5. The FCC does not determine how CT why individuals are hired (whether
specific persons are located •through an equal employment opportunity search
or through existing "old boy networks").

Recommendation 10: Oonqrcss shmtlcl enact SJJecific _guidelines man~
dating the nonrenewal of licenses if equal employment opportunity
procedil?'es a?'e not implemented. The burden of proof of compliance
should be placed upon the licensee. An outside authority (U.S. Commission of Civil Rights) should design the necessary forms, since
the FCC has not implemented the law.
Independent studies 70 reveal that the hiring of women has slowed
clown. Although there are more women employed in the industry th~.n
in the past, the rate at which they are employed is not rising as much
as it had previously.
68 Federal Communications Commission, Memorandum Opinion and OrdPr Re Application
of National Rroadcastine: Co., Inc., for Renewal of License of WRC-TV, Washington, D.C.,
52 FCC 2d 273,286 (1975a).
6' Fednal Communications Commission. Notice of Inquiry and Notice of Proposed Rulemaking in Re Nondiscrimination in the Employment Policies and Practices of Broadcast·
Licensees, FCC 75-849-36343 (1975b). (Cf. concurring statements of J. Quello; also
B. Hooks, p. 6 ff.)
00 Ralph 1\I. Jenninl?S and Veronica Jefferson, "Television Station Employment Practice.s:
The Status of Minorities and Women, 1974," United Church of Christ, Office of Communication. mimeo, December 1974.
Ralph M. Jennin1?s and Veronica llf. Jefferson. "Television Station Emplo:vment Practi~es: The Status of l\Iinor!tles and Women, 1975," United Church of Christ, Office. of
Communication, mimeo, January 1975.
Federal Reserve Bank of St. Louis

Federal Reserve Bank of St. Louis

Federal Reserve Bank of St. Louis

BY AucE H. CooK *


Women's participation in the labor force_________________________
The goal of equality___________________________________________
Compensatory programs for labor market reentry and training______
Experience abroad in reentry and training________________________
A. Austria________________________________________________
B. Australia______________________________________________
C. Federal Republic of Germany____________________________
D. Sweden_______________________________________________
V. Experience abroad in child care_________________________________
A. Australia______________________________________________
B. Austria________________________________________________
C. France________________________________________________
D. Sweden_______________________________________________


The problems which working women face are well-nigh universal. A
list of their special circumstances and needs indicates the extent of
the problems' complexities and pressures:
First, unquestionably, is the double burden which these women
carry of both home responsibility and job requirements. Consequences
of this dual role which society assigns to women are their cries for
support systems which will provide child care or offer them the
possibility of flexible working hours.
Second is the nature of what have been called "women's jobs," typically low-paid, low-opportunity occupations with the consequent clustering-indeed overcrowding-of women in very restricted areas of the
labor market.
Third are women's handicaps within a labor market structured for
men's lifetime, uninterrupted careers, with the resultant lack of provision for women's entry, reentry and training in their mid-adult
years; there are also low ceilings on promotion, on-the-job training or
released time training and a lack of opportunity for women to move
into supervisory and middle management posts.
Fourth are the assumptions underlying labor market policy which
hold that women are temporary entrants in the labor market, secondary
earners in the family and dependents of their husbands. This is evident
in tax and social security legislation, based on a male breadwinner as
head of family.
Fifth is the failure of the public education system in its curricula
and counseling to assume that most women will work a large part of
their adult lives.
•Professor Emerita, Cornell University, Ithaca, N. Y.
Federal Reserve Bank of St. Louis


Sixth is the continuing though diminishing existence of overt discrimination against women in many occupations and in many job and
training opportunities.
Some countries, including the United States, have taken decided
steps to eliminate some of these inequities. During 1972 and 1973, at
the invitation of the Ford Foundation, I traveled in nine countries
( six of them with free market economies, three of them Communist) to
look at the particular problems of working mothers 1 and at the
programs which had been designed and carried out to meet the special
needs of women. This article will deal with some of the findings
of that trip and of the ongoing study which has followed it.
For the policymaker and legislator, the task is first to comprehend
the dimensions of the problems which working women face and to
understand their basic causes. Then it is to evaluate the experiments
in other countries for their relevance to the United States and the
way in which they can be incorporated into our legal and social




Other articles in this volume have dealt in detail with the facts of
women's growing participation in the labor force. Here it is sufficient
to call attention to the fact that 56 percent of all women between the
ages of 18 and 64 are in the labor force, making up about 41 percent
of all persons in the labor market. 2 The proportion of women in the
labor force in every age group has steadily risen, but the most striking
increase has been among women over 35 years of age. The result is
that women in these age groups are rapidly approaching the participation rates of women in their early twenties.
Lowest rates of participation were among the very young ( 40.7 percent for those 16 and 17 years of age) and older women ( 4-1.1 percent
for those 55-64 years of age). The rate for women in the most fertile
childbearing years, 25-34, rose from 36 percent in 1960 to 57.1 percent
in December 1976.3
A second significant change in the labor market has been among
the aroup of women who are young mothers.
,Vhile the labor force participation rate of all women 20-24 rose
from 45 percent in l!l60 to 65 percent in 1976, the rate for wives in this
age group with children under 6 doubled from 18 percent to 37.4
The reasons why women. including young mothers, work are largely
economic and can be explained by the desire for a comfortable living
standard for themselves and their children, the increasing rate of inflation which has made two incomes in a family desirable if not ab1 Sep the author's "The Working Mother: A Study of Problems and Programs in Nine
ConntriPs" (Ithaca, N.Y.: School of Industrial and Labor Relations, CornPll UnivPrslty,
1!175). The countries vislted were Australia. Austria, the two German:vs, Israel. Japan.
Romania, Sweden, and the U.S.S.R. Some of these countries have been revlalted In the
re!'ent paat and Yugoslavia. Enl!:'land, and France added to the list under continuing study.
• U.S. Denartment of Labor, Bureau of Labor Statistics, Washington, D.C., unpublished
dnta for 1976.
• Thiel., unpuhllahPcl data.
• Ibid., unpublished data.
Federal Reserve Bank of St. Louis


solutely necessary, and the increasing number 0£ single women heads
0£ families. 5
The labor market in this country, as in others, has moreover been
receptive to the increasing number 0£ women candidates £or work. The
growing demand £or white-collar, educational, health, and service
workers in the developed nations as their economies have moved beyond an emphasis on production to one 0£ consumer goods and services, has been a major £actor £avoring the increased employment 0£
women. The demand "pull" has played as important a role probably as
the supply "push" in the growth of women:s jobs in the work £orce. 6
Indeed, one of the great changes in labor force structure has been
the growing proportion of women workers who are married. The rate
of their participation climbs more steeply than that of other women
in the labor force and is closely correlated with their level of educational achievement.
·while the labor force participation rate £or all wives in March
1974 was 43 percent, it ranged from 32 percent £or those with less
than 4 years 0£ high school to 59 percent £or those with 4 or more
years of college.7
Thus, the steadily rising level of educational attainment in this
country has a significant effect on women's labor force participation,
even when they are married and the mothers of children.
These characteristics of women's labor force participation in the
United States appear in many other developed countries. 8 In Sweden,
the proportion of women over 16 who were working in 1970 was 53.7
percent and the proportion of married women 52.7 percent; in Finland, 60 percent 0£ all married women worked and 43 percent of the
labor force was made up of women; in Great Britain in 1969, 39.3
percent of all married women worked and women made up 35.8 percent of the labor £orce. 9 In Japan, by 1972, 46.1 percent of the labor
force were women. 10
Table 1 gives comparative information on six countries as to the
activity rate of all women and of married women in their respective
labor forces : 11
• The number of famllies headed by women increased from 5,573,000 in 1070 to 5,595,000
In 1971 and 6,184,000 in 1972. See Howard Hayge, "Labor Force Activity of Married
Women," Monthly Labor Review, April 1973. "While 1 out of every 10 families was headed
by a woman a decade ago the ratio in lllarch 1973 was 1 out of every 8 families." "Manpower Report of the President." transmitted to the Congress (Washington, D.C.: Government Printing Office, April 1975), p. 70.
• For an explication of this view, see Valerie Oppenheimer, "The Interaction of Demand
and Supply and Its Elfect on the Female Labor Force in the United States," Population
Studies, 1967, 21 : 3, pp. 239-259, and Juanita Kreps, "Sex in the Marketplace: American
Women at Work," Policy Studies In Employment and Welfare, No. 11 (Baltimore: Johns
Hopkins Press, 1971), pp. 33-40.
7 "1975 Handbook on Women Workers," bulletin 297 (Washington, D.C. : U.S. Department of Labor, 1975), p. 24.
8 By 1975, the International Labour Office (ILO) reported that the developed countries
on the whole had the highest participation rates .ot women in their respective labor forces.
ILO, "Womanpower, the Worlds Female Labor Force in 1975 and the Outlook for 2000
(Geneva, 1975), p. 8.
• See table in Cook, op. clt., p. 2.
10 Statistics for Japan do not show the proportion of women who are married. The number is unquestionably rising, although the rate probably lags behind that of other countries.
See Joyce Lebra, Joy Paulson, and Elizabeth Powers, editors, "Women in Changing Japan,"
(Boulder, Colo.: Westview Press, 1976). "Twenty years ago married women were half of all
employed women; today they are two-thirds of the female work force." p. 109.
11 By 1974, the Women's Bureau of the Department of Labor reported a married women's
participation rate of 43 percent and other women at 40.9 percent. "1975 Handbook," p. 19.
Federal Reserve Bank of St. Louis

(In percent]
Composition of total labor force

Activity rate
Hungary _______________
Great Britain ___________
Sweden ________________
United States ___________
Australia _______________
France. ________________

All women














Source: Adapted from ILO, "Womanpower," table VIII, p. 31.

If one looks simply at the female part of the labor force, one gets an
even more striking picture of the relation of married women working
to nonmarried. Using the same countries, this point is illustrated in
table 2.
[In percent]
Women in the labor force
:~ena1a~~itain ______________________________________ _
Sweden •• _________________________________________ _
,tJ nited States ••• ________ -- ____________ -- -- -- -- -- -- -Australia ••• _______________________________________ _
f ranee ____________________________________________ _

All women


Not married


Not married





Source: Adapted from ILO, "Womanpower," table IX, p. 32.

In its "lookback to 1950" the International Labor Organization
(ILO) notes that:
The female labor force bas about doubled in number in Northern America and
in much of Latin America and Oceania during the last 25 years.... Two of the
more developed regions, Northern America and Australia and New Zealand
increased their proportions of the world's female labor force."'

As for the next 25 years, the long range projections for these parts 0£
the world anticipate that women's activity rates will continue to in•crease ( despite some decline in the cases 0£ the younger and older
age groups). "The female labor force is expected to grow by nearly
50 million, or 2 million annually." 13



As women's numbers in the labor force increase in almost all countries, social policy with respect to women is stated in terms of equality :
•equal pay, equal opportunity for employment, equal rights in own-ership of property, equal rights in decisions about children and inheritance, and equal rights in marriage and divorce. Although equality
12 IL0, "Womanpower," DP- 35-36.
1a A study which Evelyne Sullerot did for the European Economic Community (EEC)
and whose German edition Is entitled "Die Erwerbstaetlgkeit der Frauen und Ihre Probleme
in den Mltgliedstaaten der Gemelnschaft (Work Activity of Women and Their Problems In
the Member States of the Community)" 8334, Luxembourg, no date (1970?) repeats for
the then six member states of the community similar details.
Federal Reserve Bank of St. Louis

has not been achieved 14 everywhere, the goals are being set and discussion, plans, reports, policy drafts, and actual legislation point in
the direction of sex equality.
Not all countries approach the attainment of these rights in the
same way (indeed, one of the problems in comparing women's status
in different countries arises precisely from the varying approaches
and emphases on equal rights). Among all the efforts we are here
concerned only with questions of labor market equality. In narrowing
our focus to these issues, we must be aware of the generality and range
of the concern for total equality between the sexes.
Because of the "climate" of trying to achieve equality of the sexes,
working women tend to assume that while their reach may indeed
exceed their immediate grasp, achievement of equality is not far off.
However, one difficulty at this point is that equality for the most part
is still de.fined in terms of women becoming equal to men in a labor
market which has been organized by and for men. Let us try to make
clear some of the factors making up a labor market where sex equality
would prevail.
The labor market in every country is that complex of institutions
set up to hire, train, pay, transfer, retain, insure, dismiss, and retire
workers. All the institutions carrying out these functions and all the
norms for success and compensation within them have been established
to accommodate and to further the uninterrupted careers of men. But
women have the children, and in every country they are assumed to
carry 1:Jhe major ,responsibility for their care, at the very least for several years during the period of infancy. If a woman has several children, the period given over to gestation, birth, and early nurture may
easily amount to a minimum of 6 to 10 years of her life. During this
time she will in all probability completely interrupt her work life and
devote herself exclusively to bearing and caring for her children.
"When a woman is• ready to go back to work, she has been away from
the labor market for a number of years. These years have probably
been in her twenties and thirties, the very time when men with their uninterrupted work lives have customrurily received on-the-job tmining
and been selected for promotion. At the very least they h.ave accumulated several years of work experience.
Typically a women entering or reentering the labor market in her
thirties finds few training or counseling opportunities. Apprenticeship openings exist primarily for young people immediately out of
school; refresher and on~the-job training are available mainly to persons in continuous employment; moreover, openings for initial training are frequently restricted ito the younger members of the work
force. Women at the point of reentry, however, not only need help in
training, ithey need counseling on career choices. As an ILO publication reminds us, "It is necessary to insure that new possibilities and
new methods of acquiring and updating skills are available to and utilized by '[mature] women." 15 This report ,refers to ,a study conducted
in 1971 by the Organization for Economic Cooperation and Development (OECD) in nine countries, including the United St111tes, on the
reentry problems of women,16 which noted that
1 • See a discussion ot this point In respect to equal pay by the author, "Equal Pay,
Where Is It?" Industrial Relations (May 1975).
u ILO, "Women Workers in a Changing World, Preliminary Report (Geneva: ILO, 1973),

pp. 43-44,.

11 Organization for Economic Cooperation and Development, "Employment of Women"
(Paris: OECD, 1971),
Federal Reserve Bank of St. Louis

The jobs reentry women found were largely confined t.o the traditional
women's industries and occupations and to low-level work in industry, commerce, retail trade, and other services ... The need for counseling and vocational
guidance was stressed, particularly in the light of handicaps so :many women
suffer by bad or no vocational guidance early on. There was a need too to correct
defects in basic education, using properly timed classes or educational television. 11

As we examine other areas of our labor market practices, we will
find similarly the need for greater consideration of women's special
pr6blems, largely related to their interrupted caireer or worklife. All
of these need rethinking and restructuring.
The question is how to go about it. Federal legislation in the form of
amendments to existing law and to some degree new laws is of course
one answer and one in which the Joint Economic Committee is particularly interested. Changes in attitudes on the part of men and women equally important, however. In part, change will flow from the
ever-rising level of public consciousness of the problems of women.
This level rises with the increasing spread of information about
women's changing role in the labor market, with the increasing number of young couples dedicated to building marriages that are genuine
partnerships in raising children and homemaking as well as in ea,rning, and with the growing understanding of the consequences of our
commitment to equal opportunity for minorities as well as women in
our social life. Social policy is a product of the "pull" of changing attitudes as well as the "push" of legislation; both will be required to bring
about the changes needed in our labor market structure to insure
women equal opportunity.
"\V'e turn now to some of the specific programs which must be considered and to ongoing experiments and experience in other countries
with such programs.


"\Vomen's double tasks in society-child-bea.ring and child-caring
on the one hand and paid employment on the other-'as we have already suggested, lead to differences in timing and needs in their work
lives as compared to men. All the institutions of the labor market consequently need substantial restructuring if they are to meet women's
In the space available here, however, we will look only at three
issues in the experience of other countries for suggestions of programs adaptable to the needs of American women workers. These will
be reentry and training as problems internal to the labor market and
child care as a support system for which the larger community will
probably take responsibility. The first two are closely related and will
be treated to some extent as a single set of closely interconnected
The 1975 ILO conference in dealing with "Proposed Declaration
on Equality of Opportunity and Treatment for ·women Workers"
stated "that all efforts must be made to provide every worker, without
u ILO, "Women Workers," pp. 4'-1-45.
Federal Reserve Bank of St. Louis

distinction on grounds of sex, with equality of opportunity and treatment in all social, cultural, economic, civil and political fields." As
for the special problems related to reentry, article 5, section (5) of
this document reads:
Special measures shall be taken to facilitate the continuing education and
training of women on the same basis as men to provide retraining facilities for
them, especially during anci after periods of absence from the Zabour force.
(italics added)

Section ( 3) ·also to this point reads,
Measures shall be taken to urge institutes of vocati-onal guidance and training to help and to encourage girls and women to make full use of ·available orientation, guidance and training facilities and to choose and enter all occupations
freely including those hitherto reserved in practice for men.18

Education, training and counseling are the key services which
women need if their reentry is to be other than a chance event. Education may well mean providing £or the completion of a program which
was interrupted by marriage, early unskilled employment, or childbearing. It also means structuring the content of primary and
secondary education to prepare young women for the probability that
they will work. Although this work may be disjointed and interrupted,
basic attitudinal and skill training is essential in the rthe school and
immediately thereafter to make later work rewarding and promising.
vVe will not here go into the efforts being made in many countries
to clean up school texts of sexist pictures, stories and references, as well
as to institute curriculum changes, so that prevoca.tional training and
counseling are nndifferentiated for boys and girls. 19
Training includes off-the-job and pre-job programs as well as on-thejob and released time opportunities.
Counseling, usua.lly in the hands of the labor office or a specific labor
market board or employment service, has to do with testing women
applicants, ·advising them of training as well as job opJ?Orlunities,
and-most desirable-keeping open the possibility of ongorng contact
with the applicant as a followup on trainrng and placement.
The 1975 ILO Report on "The Equality of Opportunity ,and Treatment of Women Workers" calls attention to the close interrelationships of education, training and employment and notes that we know in
fact all too little about these complex matters. It recommends that
studies in this area be undertaken to provide the facts to1 • :\Hnutes of ILO Conference, 1975, "Proposed Declaration on Equality of Opportunity
and Treatment for Women Workers," 39/11.
1 • See In this connection for Sweden, Ingrid Fredricsson, "Sex Roles and Education in
Sweden," New York University Education Quarterly (1972?); Lars Kjellberg, "Choice of
Education and Sex Roles," speech to vocational guidance teachers, AKN Information,
No. 2 (l\Iarch 1971); Gunilla Bradley, "Kvinnan och Karrlaren. En Studie av Kvinnors
Befordlngslnteresse I Relation Till Arbetstlllfredstallel Hemmiljo och Skolutbildnlng,"
Pa Radet. Meddelande, Nr. 64 (Stockholm, 1972). (Women and Careers, a Study of
Women's Interests In Advancement In Relation to Available Training, Correspondence
Courses and Extension Programs.)
For Germany, Marla Borris. "Die Benachtelligung der Maedchen In Schulen der Bundesrepubllk und Westberlln" (Europaelsche Verlagsanstalt, 1972) (Disadvantagement of
Girls In the Schools of the Federal Republic and West Berlin).
For Austria, Dorothea Gaudart, Wolfgang Schulz, "Maedchenblldung, Wozum" Oesterreichlscher Bundesverlag fuer Unterrlcht, Wlssenschaft, und Kunst (Vienna, 1971) (Girls'
Education-What for? Austrian Federal Press for Education, Culture. and Art) ; Henrik
Kreut?. and Grete Fernschuss, "Chancen der Welterblldung: Sozlologische Untersuchung ?lfaedchenblldung in Oesterreich," Oestereichisches Bundesverlag fuer Unterrlcht,
Blldnng, und Kunst (Chances for Further Education: A Sociological Studv of Girls' Ellucatlon In Austria (Vienna, 1971), Austrian Federal Press for Education, Culturi-, and Art).
For Australia, reports of the School's Commission. "Girls, Schools and Socli-tv" (Canbl'rra: Australian Government Publishing Service, November 1975). See al•o lnti-i-nationnl
Wo'!1en's Year Report of the Australian Arlvlsory Committee, section on "Education," pp.
74-,6 (Canberra: Australian Government Publishing Service, 1975).
Federal Reserve Bank of St. Louis

help to change ,attitudes both toward girls' education and training and toward
their employment and might clarify some of the more puzzling aspects of their
integration into and contribution to economic and social life. They might also help
society in general to decide how much waste of educated manpower it can ·tolerate.
They might also show how returns on women's education and training could be
increased by better occupational distribution and integration of women in the
work force."°

All too often counseling and tra.ining are available to women on the
assumption that they will best find employment in the segregated
women's labor market where low wages, low skills, and low promotronal ceilings are the rule. 21
To counteract this history of sex-biased employment services and to
meet the needs of women reentering a la.bor market of equal opportunity, a number of programs are of considera;ble interest for the
United States. We turn now to them.




A.. Austria

In 1968 Austria adopted a. vocational promotion law ( Arbeitsfoerderungsgesetz) and set up Economic Promotion Institutes and Vocational Promotion Institutes to carry out its purposes. 22 Its general purposes were to assist all persons with their original choice of occupation
and to retrain for change of occupation necessary to find work; to
assist in maintaining work and training facilities; to assist employers
in finding needed workers and to relate training facilities to the changing structure of the labor market. The law further provided for grants
to assist persons needing training, to maintain work places and to
balance out short-term rise and fall in employment. Men and women~
it should be noted, were to have equal opportunity to use the assistance
offered under the law. 23
In 1972 the number of men receiving assistance was slightly higher
than the number of women. In 1973 and 1974, more women than men
took advantage of these provisions-55 and 54 percent respectively. In 1975, however, women's participation dropped decidedly to
40 percent. 24
The law provides both for training in courses outside work ( mainly
in buildings provided by the individual states with the assistance of
the Chambers of Labor) as well as on-the-job training. Women represented respectively 46 percent, 48 percent, and 44 percent of the enrollees in short-term off-the-job programs in 1973, 1974, and 1975, and
20 "Equality of Opportunity and Treatment of Women Workers," report VIII, International Labor Conference, 60th session (1975,), p. 30.
21 SPe In this connection the amazingly thorough and recent study In· Austria by Dr. Dorothea Gandart of the Ministry for Social Affairs, Zugang _von Maedchen und FranPn zn
technlschen Berufen: Beltrag Oesterrelchs zn einer auf internatlonaler Ebene gestelltPn
Frage (Access of Girls and Women to the Technical Occupations: an Austrian Contribution to a Question Raised at International Levels (UNESCO)), Oesterrelchischer Bundesverlag fuer Unterrlcht, Wissenschaft, und Kunst (Vienna,1975).
The· original UNESCO stridy entitled "Comparative Study on Access of Girls anit
Women to Technical and Vocational Education," document ED(MD/3 appeared Dec. :!O.
1968 (Paris, UNESCO, 19681,
22 The original law was adopted somewhat earlier. but the provisions with which we are
concPrued date from 1968 with amendments in 1969 and 1974,
.. Bericht ueber die Situation der Frau in Oe"terrelch, Frauenbericht, 1975, Heft 5. "Die
Frau Im Beruf." Bundeskanzleramt (Report on the Situation of Women in Austria, Women·~
Report. 1975, sec. 5, "The Woman at Work") (Vienna, 1975), pp. 74-75.
.. Bundesmlnisterlum fuer Soziale Verwaltnng, "Die Situation der Fran aufdem oPeter,
reichischen Arbeitsmarkt. Betei!ung der Frau an den Foerderungsmassnahmen at;s )fltteln
fler Arbeltsmarktfoerderung" (Federal Ministry for Social Affairs, "The Situation of the
Women in the Austrian Labor Market. Participation of the Woman in the Promotional
Measures Financed by Labor Marke.t Promotion") (Vienna, Mar. 29, 1976).
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71 percent, 70 percent, and 34 percent in on-the-job programs for the
same years. It was thus primarily the shortfall in on-the-job training
in the depression year of 1975 that accounted for the sharp drop in
women's participation in training. Moreover, in Vienna, where women's
participation the labor furce has risen steadily since 1971 and
was 44.2 percent in 1975, women's participation contrary to the rest of
the country showed an increase in both programs. In the city, women
have made up a majority of enrollees from 1971 onward. The exact
figures are shown in table 3.


3.-EnroUment of Vienna women in training programs under the 1968
.Austrian vocational promotion law


Percent of



In two other provinces, the rise in women's participation in the training
programs was even greater. 25
The law specifically provides :females are a category of workers
who shall receive special consideration :f.rom the institutes where age,
pregnancy, and responsibility :for care of other :family members are
:factors. Such women have priority in admission to training programs
of all types as well as in opportunities to try out on jobs. Their priority extends as well to grants-in-a,id of schooling, cost of maintJaining
themselves during training and continuatio:µ for their social insurance
over these :periods.26
In addition, the institutes make a special effort to familiarize older
women, through a course set up as an "Information Week," with realistic appraisals of work opportunities and to carry on counseling
programs especiaHy designed to bring them into occupations where
employment opportunities exist. These courses include lecture series
on such matters as labor law, social insurance, and the provisions of
the labor promotion law of which they can take advantage. All the
costs during training-travel, costs of attending the courses, and the
midday meal-are provided. The Vienna Labor Office, which has been
particularly active in setting up these "Information Weeks" :for housewives, reported in 1972 that 625 women had registered :for the three
programs which they had offered and they had accepted 374. Shortly
thereafter the Office could report that 71 had taken :further training,
164 had been referred to employment and 74 had almost immediately
:found work. All but 41 had previously worked in either blue-collar
or white-collar employment. (About one-third were ready to go to
work at once if they could find work and 216 were hoping to get work
within the upcoming year. Forty-four of them sought :further counseling; the remainder would take either work or training. 21 This experiment was particularly interesting because the office made a special effort to recruit women who were 40 years and older ( 220 of the
374 women were born before 1931).


"'Landesarbeitsamt Wien, "Informationswochen fuer Hausfrauen" ("Information Weeks
for Housewives") (Vienna City Labor Office, 1972), mimeographed, pp. 3-4.
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A policy report issued by the Council for Economic and Social
Questions 21 a in 1974 concluded with a series of recommendations on
social policy respecting the special concerns of women. With regard
to reentry it recommended in part:
The organization of special courses for further training, retraining, and re•
fresher courses for women who have been away from the labor market for lengthy
Special support for women who have interrupted apprenticeships or schooling
because of child-bearing.""

Austria is a country in which women's work opportunities are
fairly limited to the traditional female occupations and a country
which is by no means well off, as compared with some of its neighbors-Germany or Switzerland. Nevertheless, within these limits, it
has constructed a workable program in resronse to the needs of women to help in reentry, training, and counselmg at that point. That the
program's recruitment and counseling operate on the assumption that
women will go into traditional occupations is a point which a number
of Austrian leaders themselves criticize and regret. The thorough
detailed and careful attention that has been given to women's role in
Austrian society and to their place in the labor market provides
grounds for hope that the reentry and training program can and will
be adapted into equal opportunity policy in the labor market.

B. Australia
Although Australia is only now beginning to establish nondiscriminatory standards for the employment of women, it began several years
ago to provide special schemes for assisting the growing number of
adult women reentering the labor force. So far as training for women
reentering the labor force, a government report on "vVomen in Employment" correctly notesThe Australian Government has been reluctant to establish subsidised train•
ing schemes, and slow to promote the schemes it has established; two, however,
are of particular significance :
1. Widow Pensioners Training Scheme run by the Department of Social
2. Employment Training Scheme for women restricted by domestic responsibilities, run by the Department of Labour and National Service.""

The first scheme for widows provides full- or part-time training leading to employment, generally at a business or technical college. During
training the widow continues to receive her pension plus A$4.00
mother's allowance, plus A$4.50 per child, or if she has no dependent
children a maximum of A$15.25 plus A$4.00 per week training allowance. The Government pays her fe~s, fares, and books to the value
27• The Council for Economic and Social Questions, an advisory group which carries
considerable weight, is made up of representatives from government, business, labor, trade
unions, and the private sector.
•• Belrat fuer Wirtschafts und Sozialfragen, "Frauenbeschaeftlgung In Oesterreich"
(Vienna, 1974) (Council for Economic and Social Questions, "Women's Employment in
Austria" (Vienna. 1974), pp. 123-124. (Translation by the author.)
29 Equal Pay Committee, Women's Center, "Women In Employment" (Melbourne, July
1972), mimeographed, p. 20. The official description of the scheme Is contained in a
pamphlet issued by the Commonwealth Employment Service, National Employment and
Training Scheme (NEAT), "National Employment and Training System," undated. Similar
aid Is available to males "not recently in regular civilian employment through m1Iitary
service, sickness or physical incapacity, or imprisonment," as well as those "who have
lost their jobs as a result of factors like tariff cuts or technological changes or other causes
of redundancy, structural adjustment in an industry, or scarcity of work in the area of
residence. • • •"
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of A$80.00. 29 a In 1970-71 some 4 percent of widows or 3,574 were enrolled in classes.
The second scheme is open to married and single women, so long as
they have been unable to accept employment for a number of years
because of domestic responsibilities and have not been regularly employed during the preceding 2 years for more than 26 weeks. Training
is approved for any occupation in which employment exists locally.
Normally training is not expected to exceed 3 months. Women in this
scheme are not subsidized, although they receive a maximum of $80
to cover fees, fares and books. By October 1973, 13,840 applications
had been received for these schemes and 7,661 approved; 4,109 had
completed training.'
The authors of this report call attention to several shortcomings of
the schemes. One of these is that women who need training and have
small children find it hard to take advantage of the program without
available child care facilities. Both schemes, they also note, fail "to
challenge the stereotyped ideas of suitable women's work, by refusing
to provide training in areas where women are not usually employed."
In May 1974 before the Australian Labour government was forced
out of office, the Labour Minister, Clyde Cameron, set up a Committee
of Inquiry into labour market training. It is worth quoting from the
section of this Committee's report analyzing the needs of women:

The Committee recognizes that many women are anxious and uncertain
about re-entering employment after a period of absence. Previously learned skills
may be out,of-date or obsolete and may not, in any case, match career aspirations.
The majority of women entering existing training schemes are between 30 and
49 years of age. Many will have been absent from the work force for 10 years
or more. They may need help in assessing their aptitudes and abilities, in
deciding between various career possibilities, in techniques of job search and
application and in obtaining the remedial education and training to help overcome earlier short-comings. Work familiarisation, refresher training and bridging courses might also be needed in some circumstances. Similar forms of assistance are also likely to be needed by others seeking to overcome disadvantages.
Training cannot of itself solve all of the problems which continue to beset
women in the work force. • • • [However] as opportunities for training and
retraining are extended to cover a wider range of occupations, the traditional
concentration of women into a narrow band of "female" occupations will be
broken down. • * * [Not only emrplovers and trade unions, but] women themselves
must be persuaded to consider seeking training for jobs beyond such customary
areas as office work, retailing, catering, nursing, clothing and textiles."'

As is true of many other countries, Australia has not yet formulated
what one economist calls "an active manpower policy," and a~_ong
many other questions has not faced up to "what labour force participation rate is appropriate for secondary workers such as married
"'" 'l'he Australlan dollar is currently worth approximately $US1.10.
so 'l'bPSP fiomres wPre givPn· the author by Christine Cnnnlnghnm of the l\Telhonrne office
of the Department of Labour, In 11 mimeographed docnment entitled "Employment Training
Reheme for Women, Cumulative Statistics to Oct. 30. l973." Prof. J"ohn Niland, thPn of
the Anstrallan National University estlmat1>d from data made available to him by the
DenartmPnt of Labour In April 1973 that 1,217 women were enrollPd at that timP. On ll
viRit to Australia in August 1976, I learned that this scheme, initiated by the Labour
Government, ls no longer being funded by Its successor Liberal Government. The scheme ls
nevertheless worth knowing about and Australian women's organizations are preRsini: for
Its reactivation. The authors of the evaluation report to some extent foresaw this dPvelonm<>nt when they wrote, "Both schemes were Introduced in times of an economic boom * * *.
Since Pliglbllity for both schemes depends on women's willingness and ability to enter the
work force after training, in the current situation of Increasing unemployment, we may
expect to see 11 tapering off of the. schemes." Equal Pay Committee, ibid., p. 21.
:u AnRtrRlian Department of Labour. "Australian Labor Market TrRlnln~." rPnort of thP
Committee of Inquiry Into Labour Market Training {Canberra: Australian Government
Publishing Service, 1974), pp. 34-36.
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females." 32 Until it does, its training schemes will continue to have
an uncertain existence.
O. Federal, Republic of Germ,a;n;y

In ~:fay 1969 Germany adopted the Employment Promotion Act
(Arbe1ts foerderun~gesetz) to replace its earlier law on placement
an~ unemp~oyment_ 'll}Sur~ce. In effect this shifted the emphasis of its
policy and 1ts admimstrat1ve agency, the Federal Employment Instit~te (Bundesanstalt fuer Arbe1t) from mainly providing compensat10n and employment service to the unemployed to utilizing a considerable array of powers and functions to anticipate and prev.ent
The Federal Institute stimulates • • • the mobilisation of latent labour
reserves, the employment of older employees' in the country, as well as the
continuation of building work during the winter. • • • According to demand it
places employees from abroad. In addition, giving due consideration to the
adaption of skills required by technical progress, it takes measures to maintain
the labour force, to improve its qualifications and foster vocational 11.exibility.81

As a result of the Act, employees both male and female are offered
three types of vocational training programs, including the possibility
of training subsidies for persons qualifying for admission to the
program. Training programs had, of course, existed before 1969, but
the nature of this act was such that within the first year the participation rate of women in training rose by 50 percent.84
The three types of vocational programs are :
1. Promotion of Vocational Advanced Training and Retraining for Individuals:
includes measures by which vocational knowledge and skill are assessed, maintained and extended or adapted to technical development, or which offer possibilities of professional advancement. Vocational retraining makes a necessary
vocational re-orientation possible • • •. It 1s based on particular aptitude, inclination and willingness of the trainee, as well as consideration of the situation
and trends of the labour market.
2. Vocational Training Incentives for Institutions. The Institute grants 81lbsidies to already existing or new training establishments • • • Including bodies
responsible for external training centers ( Chambers of Trade, Guilds, Employers'
Organizations, Welfare Associations, etc.).
3. Incentives to Enter Employment. These are extended to remove financial
limitations which are obstacles to taking up employment desirable from the
point of view of the labor market or for socio-political reasons or which make
entry in a vocational training establishment impossible. Grants may cover
transitional expenses of the applicant and his family until payment of his
first full wage or salary, removal expenses, resettlement allowances for jobseekers otherwise difficult to place, the cost of equipment.111

Under the last heading I have learned from interviews with officials
of the Institute that subsidies may also be paid in diminishing amounts
over a year or so to encourage the employment of women or other disadvantaged and unskill~d persons while they learn on th~ job. The
subsidy represents the difference between the full scale paid for the
.. John Niland, "Some Problems Facing an Active :Manpower Policy in Australia," paper
delivered before the Australian and New Zealand Association for the Advancement of
Science, 45th Congress, Perth, Ang. 13-17 1978). :Mimeographed.
aa The Federal Employment Institute, •1The Employment Office" (Nuremberg, 1975). p. 7.
.. :Monika Langkan-Herrmann and Jochem Longkau, "Der bernfliche Aufstieg der Frau:
Arbeitsmarktstrategten zur verstaerkten Integration der Fran in die Arbetts-nnd Bernfswelt," Forschungsberichte des Landes Nordrhein-Westpha11a1 _Nr. 2282. ("The Vocational
Advancement of Women: Labor :Market Strategies To Intensuy the Integration of Worn.en
in the World of Careers and Work." Study reports of the state of North Rhine-Westfalla,
No. 2282.) Westdentscher Verlag, Opladen, 1972, p. 82. (Translation by the author.)
"" "The Employment O111ce," pp. 40-42.
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job and the actual production of the worker which over time
approaches and reaches the standard norm.
Women have participated in the three programs in varying degrees.
They made up only one in seven of the enrollees in the advanced training •programs; one in five of those in reorientation, but one in three
of those taking incentives to enter employment. More blue-collar
women proportionately took advantage of this last program, while
white-collar workers and civil servants were more active m advanced
training programs. (Men in all three occupational categories were
primarily interested in advanced training-some 87 percent of all
male enrollees in training programs). In general the women who
participated were younger than the men, and the younger the women,
the more interest they had in courses preparing for advancement.88 In
the case of female blue-collar workers, desire for training increased
with age; the reverse was true of white-collar women-the younger
they were, the more interest they had in training. 37 Women preferred
the short-term training programs, whereas men preferred the longer
courses. Women concentrated their vocational interests in three fields:
office work, textiles and clothing, and health. Men exhibited no such
concentration of vocational aspirations.88
The law permits the Federal Employment Institute to reimburse
participants in the first type of programs at 90 percent of earned income, as well as for a subsistence allowance which is regularly adjusted to the general rise in wages and salaries.
The Federal Institute also bears part or all of the cost of the course, learning
aids, travel expenses, the cost of work clothes, accommodation (if participation
in a course requires living away from home), health and accident insurance and
other inevitable expenses.
Employers may be granted adaptation subsidies if they provide employees
with the necessary vocational knowledge and skill for the attainment of full
efficiency at their jobs.81

In an address before the International Research Conference in 1972,
the president of the Federal Employment Institute discussed the problem he saw in the underrepresentation of women in the group of
trainees. He attributed it to the lack of sufficient course offerings to
satisfy women's needs for instruction. As a consequence women mainly
took advantage of the support-in-entering-employment program. He
saw this program as of considerable help to women but commented
critically that it is
in the rule too much bound to work place and firm. When the given job no longer
exists the training received on it is frequently insufficient to enable the worker
to take on a new occupation, particularly if she, as is often the case, has no other
vocational training."'
aa Langkau-Herman and Langkau, op. cit., p. 32•
.,, Luis Joppe, "BeschaeftigungsmoegUchkelten und Probleme der Frauenerwerbsarbelt,"
Vortrag vor dem Bundesfrauenausschuss der I. G. Metall, 26.11.74. Bundesanstalt fuer
Arbelt. ("Employment PossibUltles and Problems of Women at Work," lecture before the
Metal Trades Union's Women's Committee, Nov. 26, 1974. Institute for Employment),
mimeographed, p. 18.
88 Langkau-Herman and Langkau, op. cit., p. 32.
89 "The Employment Office," op. cit., p. 40.
40 Bundesanstalt fuer Arbelt. Der Praesident, "Struktur und Entwtcklung der Fraueneruerbslaellglelt In der Bundesrepublik Deutschlands : Folgerungen fuer die sozlale Slcherhelt," Konzept des Vortrages fuer die Internationale Forschungskonferenz, "Die Frau In
der sozlalen Slcherhelt," vols. 2-4, November 1972 In Wien. (The president, Federal Emplo;yment Institute, "Structure and Development of Women's Work In the Federal Republlc
of Germany: Consequences for Social Se.curity," a lecture before the International Research
Conference, "Women and Social Security•• (Vlenna, Nov. 2-4, 1972), p. 22.
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Interviews I have had with women trade union leaders and with
working women themselves in Germany confirm the foregoing analysis, but they usually go further in suggesting that the program is on
the whole 1ll-adapted to times and places where women can readily
attend, often being held in full-day session in towns other than the
place of residence. These are circumstances which women with small
children often find difficult to deal with. 41 This German experience
raises the question of whether training programs of these kinds should
be specially designed for the older woman rather than simply opening
to her existing programs designed on terms which men can more easily
adjust to and meet.
Of more than passing interest is the fact that the union of whitecollar workers, Deutsche Angestellten Gewerkschaft, has for many
years carried on training programs for its members and prospective
members in office skills. About 5 years ago, its research department
undertook a study of the special needs of women returning to work in
this field after a considerable absence. 42 The purpose of the study was
to organize a curriculum which would allow these women to study
systematically for their successful reemployment. The resulting curriculum covered five fields: economic and social theory, office organization and data processing, accounting and bookkeeping, German its
written use, shorthand and typing. Each of these was planned for 40
teaching hours, except that the second ( office organization and data
processing) covered 80 teaching hours.
This curriculum was to be introduced into the already existing
schools which the trade union maintains in major German cities to offer
its members opportunities to extend their competence and improve
their skills. The emphasis here, however, is on the special group of reentry women. In a handbook developed for this purpose, directors of
these schools as well as teachers in them are reminded of the special
difficulties that older women face who have been out of their occupation for some time, who have probably had inadequate vocational
training in their youth, whose skills are rusty or who are unfamiliar
with new machines and processes.
A certain lack of self-confidence has to be overcome.... Women today find themselves in a difficult 1and conflicting p,osition. On the one hand their help is needed
in the economy, and they are sought for ; on the other hand, they may be filled
with guilt feelings ,about working and attempting at the same time to handle their
roles 'as wives and mothers....
In a curriculum whose purpose is to re-integrate women into work life, these
problems have to be considered.... These problems have to be dealt with not only
intellectually but these women imve to receive priactical help in confronting and
overcoming their conflict situations...

Thus, the German institutions concerned with reintegration -at reentry positions are not limited to agencies of the labor market but include trade unions as well as employer-designed progmms.
"- Among the powers and resources of the institute are those permitting it to finance child
care centers at workplaces where women are employed and to provide child care costs for
women at work or in training. While these have been used, they are often insufficient to
meet the needs of women in short-term training. Child care may not be available at any
price in a trainee's home locality nor at a center set up to deal mainly with younger,
unmarried workers. Subsidies for travel are often not a woman's greatest need, but rather
her problem may be finding the time free from household responsibilities to travel and train.
•• Cf. Deutsche Angestellten Gewerkschaft (DAG), Wiederelngllederung welblicher Angestellten In das Berufsleben, DAG Forschungstelle,' Hamburg, Dezember 1972 (Reintegration
of Female Office Employees in Work Life, Research Office, DAG (Hamburg, December 1972) .
.. Ibid., pp. 35-36.
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After intensive debate in the 1960's Sweden accepted a national commitment to equality as the lodestar of social policy. Equality came to
be defined so as to govern all social relationships of human beingsequality of men and women, rich and poor, old and young, handicapped and healthy.44
With their usually thorough discussion and planning, the Swedes
began as early ias 1965 to move to abolish discrimination in the labor
market with the decision rthat women's wages should be equal to those
of men. The more subtle and underlying inequalities arising from the
working women's double burden were also considered and year by
year the Government has undertaken to deal with their many aspects.
Here we are concerned only with the solutions put forward to problems of reentry und training. The planning began with a decision of the
Labour Market Board to cease ·aggressive recruiting of foreign workers in favor of the the promotion of employment for married Swedish
women seeking to enter the 1,abor market. A study of low incomes
showed that a very significant majority of persons in this category
were women, and follow-up investigations demonstrated that the reason so many women were low-wage earners was their lack of training
as well as the geneml lack of trainmg opportunities for adults entering
the labor market in their thirties.
A Joint Female Labour Council (Arbetsmarknadens K vinnonamnd)
had been established in 1951 following a "Report of the Study Group
on Female Labour" set up in 1948. ·while closely associated wtih the
Labour Market Board, it was a quite independent and separate institution founded by the two major labor federations and the employers'
confederation. Its task, among others, wasto watch officfal measures affecting women in the labour market, in ordeT to influence these measures to be furmed in a way that suits the women, the families and
the labour market, [•and tx> deal chiefly with matters concerning] equality between
the sexes, care of children, vocational trai-ning of women, part-time work, user
service, consumer information, simplified homework.'"

Labor market policy as developed by the Board under the strong influence of the Council has been summed up as follows:
[It] may be said to have two functions, to assist the effective working of the
labour market and to improve the prospects of employment, when necessary by
measures aimed at creating jobs.... Expenditure on labour market policy has increased rapidly ... Retraining has also been made available to skilled persons
already in employment who wish to change to a field w'here there is a shortage
of labour or where there is a prospect of higher earnings. Another important task
of retJ.'laining is to bring persons not at present gainfully employed into the market.
These ,are mainly housewives, older persons ... and those suffering from physical
handicaps . • . Allowances are paid to those undergoing retraining and their
numbers have increased, very rapidly, from about 11,000 in 1960 to 90,000 in 1968,
the latter figure being some 2 percent of the total labour force ...
44 These views are most thoroughly stated in a report of the Swedish Socialist Party and
Trade Unions' Committee on Equality, Stockholm, Prisma, 1972, "Jamllkhet-allas deltagnnde i arbetsliv och politik," and, so far as women are concerned, in the Swedish report to
the United Nations, "The Status of Women in Sweden" (Stockholm: Swedish Institute,
1968). They are further elucidated in an address by then Prime Minister Olof Palme, "The
Emancipation of Man," delivered to the Women's National Democratic Club, Washington,
D.C...Tune 8, 1970. Two books important in bringing about practical programs for sex
equality were Edmund Dahlstrom, editor, "The Changing Roles of Men and Women" (London: Duckworth, 1967) ; and Bergitta Linne.r, "Sex and Society in Sweden" (New York:
Harper & Row, 1967, 1972).
46 The Joint Female Labour Council, "Translation Into English of AKN Information," No.
3/1971 (March 1971), p. 1. With the retirement of its chairwoman, Anna-Lisa Lagby in
~~~~ihe Council went out of existence and its work was assumed by the Labour Market

•• Marie and Christian Norgren, "Industrial Sweden" (Stockholm: The Swedish Institute, 1971), pp. 37-48.
Federal Reserve Bank of St. Louis

In _1D70, 42,oqo women were enrolled, making up 53.0 percent of the
tramees, and m 1971, 45,500 women made up 48.4 percent of all trainees. Although the number of women trainees rose to 68,000 in 1972, a
~uch greater increJase in the number of male trainees (in all probabilKty a consequence of a turn in the business cycle) kept the percentage of
'WOmen around 45 percent of the total. 47 Within the last 4 years, the
number of women trainees has remained fairly constant but has repre:sented an increasing proportion of the total as the number of men
in training has declined. Thus, in the first quarter of 1975, some 53 per-cent of those entering training were women. 48
. In a report sent by the National Manpower Committee to the OECD
in 1973, it was noted thatThis labour market tmining has proved an effective means of training and ,activating middle aged women with little basic education who have previously been
employed at home and would otherwise have bad to choose between the worstpaid routine jobs or unemployment. (Seventy-five to eighty percent of labour
market trainees find work within 3 months of completing their training.) ...

Parts of the Swedish system for training and retaining adult workers include a wide range of grants and services.
Persons eligible for training include those who are unemployed,
handicapped, and employed in industries which under an "early warning system" indicate to the Government that they are obsolescing.
Housewives wishing to go to work report at their local Labor Office
and are enrolled as unemployed. This entitles them to unemployment
benefits and to counseling and testing services. The result of these
services usually is referral to training programs, for which a number
of training grants and other grants-in-aid are available during the
training period. These include a basic allowance and a housing allowance to cover the cost of maintaining a residence during the training
period. In addition, a family allowance is provided covering spouse
and children under 16. Special grants are paid for travel, course fees,
instructional material, and working clothes. Child care facilities may
be worked out between the Labor Market Board and the local town
authorities with the Board bearing child care costs. 49
A transfer allowance is available for those having to move outside
their residential area in order to find work. This covers free travel for
self and spouse to the employment interview and a per diem allowance
while seeking employment, plus a separation allowance payable until a
family dwelling has been found in the new place of work or for a
maximum of 12 months. Further, there is an an allowance covering
removal costs including traveling costs for the family and an equipment allowance in the new residence. In some cases, mainly in thinly
populated rural areas, the Board will even purchase an owner-occupied
house in order to permit the worker to leave an area where he or she
cannot find work to go to one where work is available. 50
., Manpower and Social Afl'airs Committee, "The Role of Women in the Economy,"
national report: Sweden. (Paris: Organization for Economic Cooperation and Development
(OECD), Sept. 13, 1973). Mimeographed. (MO (73) 13/18), p. 24 .
.. Interview, Nov. 2, 1976, with Mrs. Ingeborg Jonsson, section chief, Women's Work,
National Labour Market Board. Stockholm.
• 8• Manpower and Social Afl'alrs Committee. Overall, the experience Is that a higher percentage of women than of men complete the training programs. See also "Women in Sweden
in the Light of Statistics," Joint Labor Female Council, 1971, p. 2:l.
49 ILO. Commission on the Status of Women, "Scientific and Technical Progress and Its
Efl'ect on the Conditions of Work and Employment of Women," 23d session, .Jan. 20. 1970.
50 "Women and the Labour Market, Prejudices, Facts, Future." National Labour Market
Board of Sweden (1970). See also "Swedish Labour Market Policy in a Nutshell, 1972/73.
For our forei.,m readers, Arbetsmarknadsstyrelsen (National Labour Market Board),
Stockholm. No date.
Federal Reserve Bank of St. Louis

The tri:,ining pr?gram _operates throughout the country under a
decentralized admm1strat10n managed by a system of 24 regional
offices and about 230 local offices. 51 The Labour Market Board itself
orerates very few training programs; instead, it enters into cooperative agr~e~ents with p~b_lic and private agencies prepared to undertake trammg and retrammg. These may be schools and colleaes with
4-year curricula, but are more often institutions offering l<~nger or
shorter specific vocational training. (Five months appear to represent
a usual period of training.) In Stockholm alone, no less than 178
institutions are available for use by the board. Some courses are conducted daytimes, some may be taken part-time in the evening or during
the day; some are residential and many of these are in the folk high
schools. 52 Some are conducted in the business enterprises.
Actual training for older women is usually and desirably preceded
by a 4- to 6-week introductory course which includes a week in a
workplace. This program is meant particularly to prepare women for
reentry into the labor market and includes information on trades and
places where work is available. 53 In the early years recruitment to
the reentry program was aided by "activation inspectors," special
officers appointed "to coordinate activation work for non-employed
women and middle-aged and elderly labour." These officers were located in 20 of the regional headquarters of the Board to direct and
ad vise the local offices of the region. 54
Women's long history of playing a secondary role in the home and
labor market, of entering the labor market late by male standards, of
being assumed to be satisfied with low skilled, low paid jobs with low
promotional ceilings combines to put them in the category of the most
needy and least self-confident.
The Labor Market Office carries the responsibility for affirmative
action in counselling women on the full range of occupations, including
those traditionally reserved to men. 55 One aspect of this effort is that
the labor office endeavors to persuade employers seeking workers to
accept women rather than recruiting foreign workers. 56 For example,
in 10 towns in 1972 experiments were also going on in an attempt
to reach persons most needing education and training rather than
the ones who were most active.
This is being done on the assumption that persons with initiative and who
are used to activity and have a certain amount of self-confidence will take steps
to get themselves into training courses and will, generally, push ahead. It is
the most needy often who have little self-confidence and can do very little for
themselves in this as in other respects. Hence the experiment was an attempt
to reach these people and to see what incentives can be successfully used to bring
them into educational and training activities. 57

"Swedish Employment Policy" (Stockholm: National Labour Market Board, 1971),

p. 4.

B. N. Seear, "Reentry of Women Into the Labour Market After an Interruption in
F:mplo:vment" (Paris: Organization for Economic Cooperation and Development, 1971),
·pp. 77-78. (Persons who completed compulsory education under the old law which
r<-qnired only 7 years, often find themselves disadvantaged as adults competing with ;vonth
"·ho have had 9 years or more of basic education. It is possible for these adults to make up
this Jack in public evening schools or by attending regular school programs, for which they
are eligible.)
"-' Anthor's Interview with Anna-Lisa Lagby, then director of the Joint Labour Female
Connell, Oct. 11, 1972, Stockholm.
5; Seear, op. cit, p. 72.
'° A study of the efl'ect of this policy is now in progress under the direction of Prof. Rita
Li!jestrpm of the University of Gothenberg. She has published the results of a pilot study
<lone In Kristlanstad County in three municipalities, "Sex Roles in Transition," a report on
n pllot nrogram In Sweden. Advisory Council to the Prime Minister on Equality Between
Men and Women (Stockholm: Swedish Institute, 1975).
'" Interview with Ms. Alm, Labor Market Board, Stockholm, Oct. 10, 1972.
67 Interview with Prof. Per Holmberg, University of Stockholm, Nov, 5, 1972.
Federal Reserve Bank of St. Louis

Asa result,
During the past year [1974] when 70,000 women entered the labour market,
15,000 of them were engaged for what used to be regarded as typically male jobs.

The writer notes an important byproduct of this e:ffort:
In many cases the working environment as a result has been improved for all
workers in the companies.""

In addition, other measures which the Labour Ministry and Labour
Market Board employed include:
The creation of a substantial number of new positions in the public employment
offices whose incumbents are responsible exclusively for improving the provision
of .&"Ood job opportunities for women.

'.Measures have been undertaken to counteract the traditional division of male
,and female occupations. Companies that are being established or expanded in
regions where there is •a shorta·ge of employment opportunities can be granted
government loans and subsidies only if they recruit at least 40% of each sex. 59

At the point of launching the program for women the scheme for
spreading information included a naltional conference of the chief
officers of the unions and the Employers' Association to which 700
persons came. In addition, a series of programs on national television
entitled "The Housewife Changes Her Occupation" (Hemmafru
byter yrke) accompanied "comprehensive information on labour market and social matters at conferences arranged by local la:bor boards
for women, employers and employee organizations." 60
To some degree many countries have recognized both in policy and
practice that women reentering the labor force in their mature years
need counseling, guidance and training for which the normal labor
market institutions are insufficiently prepared. The degree to which
new institutions or extensions of esta:blished services will be made
available to these women will undoubtedly depend on the overall
employment 1policy. If women are sought and encouraged to go to
work simply in the traditional women's occupations, a few scattered
short-term schemes may fully respond to the need for trairring in
office work, health occupations, and semiskilled assembly line jobs in
production. The underlying expectation will be that few women will
expect to move into the men's labor market, and they will not be "ar;tivated" ,to do so. Only where ,a genuine commitment to equality exists,
as it does in Sweden, will ithe political parties, the unions, the employers and the officials of the labor market institutions initiate a
thorough program designed to bring women into all sectors of employment. With this commitment as a base, every adjustment will be
made in the employment offices and through the range of training
facilities to encourage women to move into all the occupations and to
train all those who elect to work there and can be employed with the
given training.



In 1972-73, when I interviewed working mothers in the nine countries I visited, they almost uniformly said that the help they would
most like to have in easing their double burden of home and work re•• Anna-Greta Leijon, "Sexual Equality in the Labor Market: Some. Experiences and

Y1P•Ys of the Nordic Countries," International Labor Review, 112: 2-3 (August-September

1975), p. 114.


Seear, op. cit., p. 76.
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sponsibilities was child care. By this they meant not only care for preschool children, but for children of school age before and after school
hours, during holidays and vacations •and :for children when they are
ill. The response was the same whether I was mlking with women
heads of families, or with women whose husbands were present in
the home; it was the same whether the husbands ·assisted them with
housework and child care or whether they did not. The oonclusion
must be that when both parents of young children work, the family
needs assistance with the care of its children.
A second factor which becomes clear the deeper one delves into the
question of making child care available to working mothers is that
good quality child care cannot be chea,p; indeed it is necessarily so expensive that parents cannot bear its costs unassisted. The oonclusion is
that child care must be subsidized, either by public or private bodies.
In many countries child care has historically been the concern of
voluntary agencies and the governments have only provided aid and
programs during periods of national stress-either in war or during an
economic boom when the labor market had to reach out to an unusual
degree to recruit women for work which had previously been done by
The consequence has been that despite the ever-increasing number of
women in the labor market, national policies have generally continued
to be based on the assumption ,that women are secondary earners, that
their activity in ithe labor market will he secondary to their primary
obligations to home and children, that their going to work will be a
matter of personal choice and that therefore the costs and responsibilities of child care shall be personal charges upon the working
mothers and their spouses. The widely established facts are that
women are working in ever g,reater numbers, that the vast majority of
women work out of economic necessity, and the growing sectors of the
economy are those with a high demand for women workers. But these
facts have not yet boon widely accepted either by lawmakers or by the
pu;blic ·at large. Yet they lead inevitably to the conclusion that need for
child care is rising. Indeed, as evidence of growing ·awareness, the
level of discussion in every modern country about child care is also
rising. 61
Discussion often becomes intense, not only about the main issue of
need but 11,bout such subordinate questions as whether public-supported child care should be the responsibility of education authorities, labor market offices, or social services and welfare institutions;
whether it should continue to lie mainly in the hands of the voluntary
agencies who may receive some Government aid as they take over
care of children of working mothers, or whether local governments
should carry the initiative in establishing and supporting institutions,
with aid coming to them from national or provincial sources.
Answers to these questions which can satisfy the needs of working
mothers seem to depend greatly on the degree to which labor market

• 1 For 2 important comparative studies on child care needs and program~. Pee Working
Party on "The Role of Women in the Economy" (November 1974), 26-29. Point 6 of the
agpnifa, "Care of Children of Working Parents," Organization for Economic Cooperntlon
and Development (OECD), Paris, Nov. 8, 1974. MS S7 74.9: and Sheila Kamerman, "Child
Care Programs In Nine Countries." a report prepared for the OECD wor1<lng party on the
role of women In the economy (Washington, D.C. : U.S. Department of Health, Education,
and Welfare, DHEW Publication No. (ODII) 30080, no date (1975?)).
Federal Reserve Bank of St. Louis

considerations enter into planning of child care facilities. For example, when child care is a responsibilitv of education authorities,
the focus of their attention is understandably on the content of the
program and its integration with the school program. When social
services agencies carry the responsibility, they are seeking to deal
with children in an atmosphere defined as deprivation of maternal
(and sometimes paternal) care. They are, as they say, child-centered.
These are important considerations and both views represent essential aspects of child care programs. But both of them to a great degree overlook the needs of the working mother and father, that should
be integrated within the program. Such matters as their hours of
work, the length of the journey to work-and to the child-care center-and their access to transportation to the doctor and dentist, as
well ail opportunities for consultation with school and child-center
teachers. These matters are compounded in difficulty when one or both
parents work shifts-a common element of work for such people ft8
nurses, waitresses, janitors, and cleaners and other service personnel,
as well as people in continuous production.
Still another question arises as to the forms which child care shall
take and how governments may subsidize a variety of programs. Shall
it all be group care in institutional settings? How useful and desirabl0
is what has come to be known as family day care ?-a system by which
women are encouraged to accept one to three children into their own
homes under supervision of local authorities who select the caretakers, offer them some training, pay them in a regular way at acceptable rates, guarantee their income and cover them for fringe benefits, and offer some assistance with the cost and preparation of meals
and with equipment. Shall care be offered only to children over 3 or
may infants be included? What about play schools, and part-time
nurseries and kindergartens~ What kinds of care may be provided
for school children both before and after school and during holidays
and vacations i What a;bout the care of sick children?
In this area also belongs the consideration of paid maternity leave
for the working mother, perhaps coupled with paid or unpaid childcare leave for one parent (or perhaps for both in turn) during aperiod of several months or more following the birth or adoption of a
We shall look at all of these issues as we turn now to the experience
of several countries that have developed programs which respond to
these problems.

A. Australia

In 1969, in all of Australia only about 14,000 children were in child
care facilities of any kind; of these, only 2,000 were in centers which
received Government aid; only one State, Tasmania, offered a public
subsidy which applied to children of working mothers."' The Labour
Government early in its office set up a Pre-Schools Committee, an<l
in late 1973 its report and recommendations (known as the Fry report) were available.

aa Julie Rigg, Robin Hughes, Pip Porter, Sandra Hall, Susie Eisenhuth, "Child Care, A
Community Responsibility," Child Care Committee, the Media Women's Action Group
(Sydney, April 1:972). See also Ailsa Burns, Maureen Fegan, Ashley Sparkes, and Pay
Thomson, "Working Mothers and Their Children," the Electrical Trades Union study (Sydney: Macquarie University, August 1974).
"""Care and Education of Young Children," Joan Fry, chairman, Australian Preschools
Committee (Canoorra, November 1973),
Federal Reserve Bank of St. Louis

However, because of some dissatisfaction with the specific recommendations of the Fry report's emphasis on preschooling rather than
child care needs, the Labour Government then set up a Children's
Commission"' under a new statute."" Pending the adoption of the statute, an interim committee carried on the work projected for the
The program for children as laid down by the commission is established on the following principles. It is to be flexible, community
based, offering integrated services, developed "within a framework of
clearly defined priorities, with first priority given to those in greatest
need," and "in the recognition that the care and development of children are interrelated so that there is no rigid distinction between educating and caring for children." The Government instructed the
interim committee to work to the end that by 1980 "all children in
Australia will have access to services designed to take oare of their
educational, emotional, physical, social and recreational needs* * *."
Further, the Government directed the committee to sponsor and promote rapid development of a full range of programs, including early
childhood education, full day care, playgroups, occasional ca,re, before
and after school care, holiday care, emergency care, and ",any other
service that may be deemed necessary or desirable in order to meet the
long-term objective."
The committee was further instructed to make recommendations
on financing, standards and procedures for processing aid applications; second, to stimulate community participation; third, to initiate
and where necessary conduct in-service, on-the-job short intensive
and conversion courses for personnel, as well as to promote the increased provisions of formal professional training. 68 An important element of the committee's work was also to conduct or contract for research.67 Two major studies have appeared.68
The Fry report had concerned itself in detail with the measurement
of need for child care. In a country in which women's labor force participation has risen rapidly from 25.1 percent of the labor force in
1961, had reached 29.5 percent in 1966, and gone up to 31.7 percent in
1971 and then to 33.3 percent in 1973, the number of married women
and where necessary conduct in-service, on-the-job short intensive
One of the committee's contract studies reports that by 1974 more
than 37 percent of the women in the labor force were married. 69
The two other reports which came out during this period further
substantiated the overwhelming demand and need for child care. One
was commissioned by the Electrical Trades Union, whose membership
included a large number of working mothers, and the other was done
"'Ministerial statement by the Honorable Lionel F. Bowen, 'MP, Minister assisting the
PrlmP. Minister. "Establishment of a Children's Commission" (Sept. 19, 1974).
'" Children's Commission Act, 1975, No. 51 of 1975. Canberra. This act, although assented
to in June 1975, has not been proclaimed as of this writing and the interim committee continnes to function as the administrative agency.
""Bowen ministerial statement.
~ A recent report. "Child Care Research Grants," shows 20 current gl'ants. Office of Child
Care. An~trallan Department of Social Security, No date. Transmitted to the author
Sept. 6, 1976.
88 James Cullen, Alison Bellamy, Eva Cox, Gary Egger, Lyn Gain, "Mothers' Chili!. Cal'e
Preferences : A Report to the Australian Government Advisory Committee on Child Care
nnd Conducted Under the Auspices of the NSW Association for Mental Health" (Sydney,
December 1975) ; and Barry M. Wilson, "Child Care Report," study of a supervised playgronnil and the home background of children who attend (Brisbane, December 1974).
•• Wilson, op. cit., p. 11.
Federal Reserve Bank of St. Louis

by the Media Women's Action Group, many of whom were also working mothers. 7°
The fact is that the prevailing attitude in Australia favors the man
of the family as sole breadwinner and the woman as having almost
entire responsibility for care of preschool children. What provision
has been made for child care has mainly been the result of the initiative
of voluntary social welfare agencies offering services to deprived and
abused children. In view of the rapidly rising number of women entering the labor force, however, the voluntary agencies are no longer
able to meet the need. "This paucity * * * forces many desperate
mothers to make arrangements with untrained and unregistered childminders or with commercially run nurseries where fees are extremely
high." 71 'Dhe Government, because of the wide acceptance of the doctrine of the male breadwinner, has been slow to support child care
as a community or national responsibility. Most child-care centers
which existed in the early 1970's were in Melbourne and Sydney and,
according to the Media Women's Action Group, "in the most affluent
areas." Most preschool centers were operated only part day in short
sessions, and in some cases there was not sufficient space for children to
attend every day. While some voluntary agencies received government
support, only 2,000 of the 14,000 children in care in 1969 were in subsidized centers.
The Fry report defined the need for child car very broadly. The
presence of working parents was only one criterion among "families
in distress," "children in institutions and isolated children, handicapped children, and children in single-parent families." The committee estimated that in view of the very great projected needs for
1985, the Government could at best meet only 10 percent o:f them.
In contrast to the attitude in some other countries, the Fry report
strongly favored not only institutional but family day care. 72 In part,
it did so because it could not realistically :foresee the construction
and staffing (particularly the latter) o:f enough ,preschool centers to
meet even 10 percent o:f need by 1985; in part, it strongly favored the
home surroundings and small groups which family day care offers,
particularly for small children. Table 4 projects what percentage of
each age cohort would be ca,red :for in these programs by 1985 : 73

[In percent)

Age groups:
4 to 5•. ___ . _______________________________________________________ _
32 to
-------------------------------- ___________________ __
to 34__________
1 to 2____ ------------------------------ ___________________________ _
0 to L _________ ·-·--· __ ---··-·- __________________________ -· •• -- --··

Family day care

Day care ce,1ters






LikP. the United St!ttes, Australia has a :federal government which
is legally forbidden in some cases and always reluctant to sponsor its
own projects. Instead, the money for programs which it legislates must
70 Rnrns, Fe;::an, Sparkes, and Thomas, op. cit.; and Riggs, Hughes, Porter, Hall, and
Eisenhnth, op. cit.
n See Mrs. K. Rzumer, "Families in Need of Full Day Preschool Centers,"· Social Service,
24: 4 {January/February 1973).
72 s~e the section on Sweden for a contrasting view .
.,. "Care and Education of Young Children," p. 91.
Federal Reserve Bank of St. Louis

be funneled through the States or derived from them, each of which
writes its own enabling legislation, sets its own standards and carries
through its own licensing regulations. The chief means by which the
Commonwealth Government can hope to see its programs carried out
and its goals met is through the provision of attractive amounts of
By its 1973 commitment to a national child care program, the Government was ready to further implement the program in two ways.
First, it would set up demonstration programs in a number of selected
communities, 74 on ·which it would make regular, widely disseminated
reports; second, it would provide a generous program of local
The Government was prepared to assume capital costs of instituting
local programs at $2,000 per child plus equipment costs of about $8,000
per center. Operating costs were to be granted depending on the age
of the children served:

5.-0ost of child care programs in local communities in Australia•
Per capita

3 to 5 years of age in centers with 35 children__________________________ $787
2 to 5 years of age in centers with 46 children__________________________
0 to 5 years of age in centers with 63 children__________________________ 1,028

"Care and Education of Children, app. XI S, p. 271.

It was anticipated that parents would pay fees on a sliding scale
which the Fry report suggested would be from about Australian $8-13
per week. Subsidies at this rate would total A$40,546,000 per year of
50 weeks of operation, based on a formula related to staff salaries. In
addition, a total of A$17,245,300 would be added to cover recurrent
assistance. All-in-all providing day care in centers for an additional
45,250 children as outlined in the program, would by 1985 cost the
national government A$122,610,000.
In addition, family day care was projected for 89,000 children.
Because it would not require capital outlays, its costs were less, although it was necessary to plan for buildings, land, and furniture
for the supervisory groups. The costs for this part of the program
would amount to A$6,848,000. 75
As noted above, operating subsidies were to be linked to staff salaries,
which represent about 80 to 85 percent of cost. Although these costs
could certainly be expected to rise, the report recommended linking
the subsidy to staff salaries because this linkage would have the advantage of "influencing staffing standards and allowing for salary increments for staff." 76
In the first year of the operation of the Children's Commission, 1974,
it reported it had spent A$45,242,639 ( as compared with only A$9
million spent in the previous year) and that its "wide-range projects
had benefited 200,000 children." 77
The 1975-76 budget was set at A$74 million but following the change
of government was cut by about A$9 million. The amount nevertheless
represented a decided increase over the previous year and the Minister
" See, for example, the reports on the Shire of Knox, City Office, Fern Tree Gnllv, "Family Day Care Project," report for period Oct. 1, 1972 to Sept. 30, 1973, Victoria, 3156.
75 Ibid., pp. 140-142.
•• Ibid., p. 146.
77 The Children's Commission, "A Progress Report" {Canberra: Australian Government
Publishing Service, 1975),
Federal Reserve Bank of St. Louis

-for Child Care Matters assured the public that "funds were available
to meet all existing commitments for the :financial year." However, she
added, "As there 1s only limited money available Australia-wide, for
new programs, only services catering for those most in need will be
funded." These, she said, were programs providing child care, with
very little funding going to new ca:eital programs. To stimulate the
desired integration of services to children, 75 percent of salary costs
would be covered in all projects "where the preschools had agreed to
extend and integrate their services." 78
The Australians prefer child care programs to be community-based
rather than factory-based. Indeed only three or four factory-based
child care centers exist in the whole country. Community-based means
that the location, number, types, priorities of need and other decisions
governing the kind and q_uantity of services be set by community
bodies, who, they believe, will be better able to assess and evaluate local
needs than national or state agencies. The Fry report also looked forward to a high level of parental involvement in the management of
the centers through parent/community committees where parents
would serve in many of the executive positions. 79
Government funds are to go only to non;I?rofit institutions and be
channeled through State authorities. Fundmg will be governed by
the application of standards set forthby the national government and
agreed to and enforced by the States. Where States are prepared to put
up ,capital funds, national .government may supplement them or augment them. Where States .are already making some contribution to
recurrent expenses, grants will be available to meet the difference
between contributions and the nationally determined level of assistance. 80
Although the original F,ry report was mainly concerned with the
preschool child, the Children's Commission directed its attention to a
broader range of services for children. In fact, the interim committee,
in its final year, went beyond the terms of the original report, to fund
"a variety of holiday programs in the Christmas and May holidays
and a number of outside school hours programs." 81 These programs
include camping holidays, musical and craft groups, bus trips, drama,
and other creative activities. Several programs started as special holiday programs extended later to afterschool activities. Others were
associated with day care and occasional care services.
Australia is of special interest to the United States, since it operates
on a federal system of government. It has only very recently undertaken to provide Federal assistance for a widespread national system
of aid in support of child care services, not only for preschoolers, but
for holidays and afterschool care. Its Federal budget-supported national program deserves continued attention.
,s Press statement by Senator, Hon. Margaret Guilfoyle, 'Minister Assisting the Prime
Minister ln Child Care Matters, Feb. 6 and 24 1976. For the official statement on the
meaning of "Integration," see Children's Commission, "Integrated Services for Children,
What Do They Mean 7" (no date, 1874 7). "The Children's Commission will • • • expect
existing services seeking assistance to look closely at the other childhood and family needs
ln the community for which their services could be catering, or at other services witlr
which they could be cooperating. It wm expect proposed new programs to be multipurpose
where possible, or to demonstrate how they w111 link in with existing services, federal,
state or local." p. 2.
"'• 1care and Education of Young Children," p. 169.
so Ibid., p. 170.
81 "A Progress Report," pp.14-U!.
Federal Reserve Bank of St. Louis

B. A.'UBtria

Maternity and child care leave are both parts of the Austrian system.
Austrian ,women receive a totaf of 16 weeks paid maternity leave, taken
8_ weeks before and 8 weeks .after the birth of the child. During this
time, women may not go to work. The leave payment comes from the
national health insurance fund and amounts to an average of the
woman's net earnings during the preceding 13 weeks. During this
leave, a woman is fully protected .against dismissal from her job and
on her return to work must receive her o1d job back or one no less satisfactory or remunerative.
At the birth of her child, a mother also receives a cash sum of 1,000
to 2,000 Austrian schillings (about U.S. $200 to $400), depending on
the type of insurance program in which she is enrolled.
Following childbirth, a woman who is regularly enrolled in the
unemployment insurance fund may request up to 1 year's leave of
absence from the date of the child's .birth, beginning immediately on
expiration of her maternity leave. ~his Karenzjahr (caring year) or,
as it is more popularly called in other European countries, this baby
year, was introduced first in Austria 82 but has now been copied in
a number of other countries including Hungary and Sweden, and is
under serious legislative consideration in France and Germany.
The form it has taken in Austria since 1974, when its terms were
amended and broadened, is that women receive from the unemployment insurance fund a flat sum of 2,000 schillings per month if they
are married and if their husbands are earning more than 1,987
schillings per month; or, where the husband is earning less per month
or the mother herself is single, the payment is 3,000 schillings per
month. 83 Since over 80 percent of working women earn under 6,000
schillings per month, 84 payment of 3,000 schillings would hardly be
enough, one would surmise, to induce any but the lowest-income
earners to remain at home with their infants. Certainly the woman
who is single head of family could not afford to do so. Nevertheless,
a Chamber of Labor shows that almost 90 percent of working mothers
now take advantage of the facility. 85
As a result of this program of paid child-care leave, the Austrian
Government sees little need for providing child care centers for ch.ildren under the age of 3. Nevertheless a few cities, particularly Vienna,
have established some centers or creches for infants and toddlers under
the age of 3, for children whose mothers cannot or should not take
care of them. In 1974, there were throughout the country 33 creches
for infants up to 1 year of age, which cared for 434 children or 0.41
percent of the total population of this age group. Children's centers
82 Introduced in 1960, it provided for a 6-month's leave for all mothers :following the
birth of each child and 3 years later was extended to the present duration of 1 year.
.. Office of the Federal Chancellor, Bericht ueber die Situation der Frau in Oesterreich,
"Die Frau Im Oesterreichischen Recht," heft 2 (The Situation of the Women in Austria,
sec. 2, "The Woman in Austrian Law") (Vienna, 1975), p. 20. All elements of a means test
were removed In 1974 with the result that "all women who have been employed for a certain
period are now entitled to the benefit • • • [and] it has come to be regarded more as a
social service available to all than as some kind of charity," Edith Krebs, "Women Workers
and the Trade Unions in Austria: An Interim Report," International Labor Review, 112 :
4 (October 1975), p. 274.
"'The Situation of Women In Austria, heft 5, "Die Frau in Beruf" ("The Woman at
Work," sec. 5), p. 15.
85 Krebs, op. cit., p. 275.
Federal Reserve Bank of St. Louis

for 1- to 3-year-olds numbered 154 and had places for 4,240 or 2
percent of that age group.B 6
Austria, throughout most of this century has had a higher proportion of women working than any other country in middle and western
Europe.B 7 Characteristically, these women interrupt their work only
for very short periods, paralleling, at a lower level, the normal graph
for lifetime careers of men. At the same time, the percentage of married women working is high and reached 57.3 percent in 1969.
Austrians have very widely accepted the view, often put forward
by their own experts and by foreign observers, that the child under
3 belongs with its mother. Despite evidence to the contrary, a widespread belief exists that children whose mothers work are neglected
and suffer emotional damage as a result.B 8
These views would seem to account for the facit tha:t lit,tle a,ttention
is paid to increasing the number of full-day child care fae,ilitip_,s :for
children below the age of 5. Kindergartens, which cater to children
during the 2 years before compulsory schooling begins at 7, have grown
at the rate of about 5 percent per year since 1970, according to the Ministry of Eduorution's Report to the OECD in 1975. 'Dhe Ministry
favored ohildren ,attending kindergarten only one-half day, although,
in facit, 72 percent of the 0hildren of working mothers remain throughout t!h:e day and have rt.heir midday meal at ,t,he centers. 89
Many students of tihe subject have conducted studies of the need
for child care, as well as of the mothers' wishes in this regard. Overwhelmingly, the demand is expressed for more child oare centers.
More than 33 percent of nonworking women in Austria in 1972 attributed -the faot that ,they were not working to the lack of faciilities for
child care.90
All Austrian women want kindergartens for their children. But
more than half of those quest,ioned in another study indioa,ted they
were not able to realize their desire because of lack of sufficient
facilities. 91
This short,age has resulted in a very w,idely practiced preference
among kindergarten directors for the children of working mothers,
and 40 to 50 percent of the women questioned in a study done by the
Ministry for Social Affairs replied that only under such conditions
would they apply £or work. 92
Austria in these reg,ards is not unlike the United States. A w,idespread view among :families, social workers, lawmakers, and academics is that children under 5 or 6 years of age are best kept within
the family. At the same time, for ,a va11iety of reasons closely linked to
the economy and the Labor market, but related a1so to the low birrthrate, high divorce rate, crowded housing and isolated family living,

•• Bundesminlsterium fuer Unterrlcht und Kunst, Bl!dungs Bericht 1975 an /lie OECD
pt. 2. "Vorschulerziehung" (Ministry of Education and Art, Education Report 1975 to the
OECD, pt. 2, "Preschool Education"), p. 37 (Vienna, 1975).
f!1 See Dorothea Gaudart and Agnes Neigl, "Die Frau in der Wirtschaft" ("Women in the
Economy"), table 2, "Wohnbevoelkerung nach Lebensunterhalt und Geschlecht, 1971"
f~itpulation by Livelihood and Sex"), The source of the statistics is the Austrian Census,
89 See IFES, "Generelle Einstellung von Frauen und Maennern zur Frauenberufstaetlgkeit" ("General Position of Women and Men on Women's Work Activitv") (Vienna 1974)
as cited in Report on the Situation of Women, sec. 5, "The Woman at Work," p. 77.
80 Report to OECD, p. 40.
•°91 Chamber of Labor in Vienna, "Women's Employment in Austria," September 1972.
Leopold Rosenmayr, "Die J"unge Frau In der Industriegesellschaft" ("The Young
Woman in Industrial Society") (Vienna, 1969), p, 72.
92 Bnndesministerium fuel Sozlale Verwaltung, "Bedarf an Kindergaerten"
(Federal Ministry for Social Affairs, "Need for Kindergartens") (November 1971), p. 37.
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more and more women ,are going Ito work. T,he soot.ors of the economy
seeking women workers are ,growing rapidly, a.nd 1annually more
women than men are being .added ito the labor force. In t,he face of tJhese
facts, the official disregard of the demand for child care, despite growing need, presents a gap between outmoded social norms and modern
reality. The Austrians have responded in an original aind signiificanrt
way by :their provision oif cJhild care leave for mothers of infants; they
have neglooted rtili.e needs of mothers of children beyond this age, and
are only now responding to ,them, and then inadequately, at the kindergarten level.

0. France

France has one of the most extensive systems of child care in the Western
World. . . . Among the many progi,ams which ,aid French parents in bringing
up their young children are family allowances ; free medical care for prospective
mothers, infants, and children, including home visits; and free public education
and day care beginning at the age of two-and-a-half."3

National planning for social as well as other elements of economic
and family life is in the hands of the Commissariat General du Plan
(Central Planning Commission), made up of representatives of the
ministries, regional planning services and relevant commissions of the
departments. Since World War II six plans have been worked out,
each ,covering about 3 years. Beginning in 1954-56 the emphasis turned
from rebuilding the war devastation to considerations of social programs. Plan VI, the most recent (1970--75), concentrates on measures
for domestic social progress, and deals specifically with an expanded
program for creches and increased research into early childhood
development. 94
The "compa,ct between family and society" in France implies a desire on the part of the government to make up in birth rate and child
health for the ravages of war,95 together with a commitment to "equal
rights for all" which has its roots in the Revolution of 1789 but which
received its recent great thrust forward following World War II in the
1950's. The result is "a broad set of services for all families, not just
the least fortunate. 96
These services are to some extent provided by the Government directly or through the semipublic services represented by the three
branches of the national insurance system to which employers and
employees contribute: the Social Security Fund, the National Sickness
and Maternity Fund, and the National Family Allowance Fund.
oa Halbert B. Robinson and Nancy M. Robinson, "Introduction to the French Monograph,"
In Myriam David and Irene Li!zlne, "Early Child Care in France, International Monograph
Serles on Early Child Care 6 (New York: Gordon & Breach, 1975), p. xi.
.. Ibid., pp. 31-32.
95 Actually, the birth rate has been falling steadily in the last 10 years from 2.9 average
births per woman in child-bearing years in 1964 to 2.14 in 1974; in the same period the
actual number of births has also fallen, due in part to a decline in the number of marriages
and a cutting oft' of immigration. See Evelyn Sullerot, "Problemes Poses Par le Travail et
L'Flmploi des femmes; Rapport presente au nom de la Section de Travail et des
Relations Professionnelles," Conseil Economique et Social (Paris, Oct. 8, 1975)
("Problems Posed by Work and Employment of Women: A Report Presented in the
Name of the Section on Work and Occupational Relations," Council of Economic and Social
Affairs), Council Report, pp. 100-104. It might be noted, however, that the fall in the
birthrates of other European and American countries Is considerably greater with the
exception of Italy, which has gone from 2.64 to 2.25. Germany shows the steepest decline :
from 2.55 to 1.54. Ibid, p. 106.
00 David and L~zine, op. cit., pp. 22, 24.
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Out of these funds is paid a variety of family allowances, none of
which is means tested. All are paid to the mother:
Health insurance covering all health care during pregnancy and delivery, as
well as post natal care at 70-80 percent of cost;
A daily allowance for the mother for 6 weeks before and 6 weeks after
delivery. (Employers are required to grant 14 weeks of maternity leave with
partial salary.) Family allowance, beginning with the second child and increasing
with each child thereafter, with automatic arises adjustetd to the cost of living,
plus a basic ml'lowance to all families with children.
Special allowances meant to encourage the mother to report regularly for prenatal examination and care, to bring the child to well-baby clinics between the
ages of 3 and 30 months; an allowance paid those famiiies where there is onQy
one income (and called therefore "single salary allowance") to encourage the
mother to remain at home with her child ( ren) , and to assist in support of the
,single parent; a bonus to couples who have their first child within 2 years of
marriage ; a bonus to mothers who breastfeed their infants and an rullowance for
the purchase of milk (recently withdrawn) .97

Child Oare: Child care is more amply provided in France for 2- to
6-year-olds than in any other non-Communist country. Moreover, it
is free of charge. What is less well provided for is care for the child
under 2. Nevertheless for this age group a number of approved arrangements exist.
First is the creche, a facility which may be sponsored under public
or private auspices and open to children from 6 weeks to 3 years of
age whose mothers are working. Although creches were originally
charitable institutions for deprived children of the poor, this is no
longer the case.98 Parents pay a fee on a sliding scale adjusted to income (low-income families may pay nothing) .99 Priority goes to children of single mothers and of problem families. 100 The number of
these establishments is small and waiting lists are long. It is estimated
that of the 400,000 to 500,000 babies born each year to mothers who
work, places exist for only 1 out of 21.1
Recently some creches (one study suggests 1 in 10) 2 have extended
their serv:foes to include children up to 4 years of age. In this case
they call their program a kindergarten (jardin d'enfa;nts). Some parents use it because the groups are smaller than in the universal ecole
maternelles (to which we come shortly), though it has to compete with
the attraction of its free service.
C.reches are supplemented by agency-operated day care homes known
as creches familiales, which may not take more than three children.
These homes are attached to and licensed by a district day-care agency,
and they are closely linked to it through staff and financing. A central
office staff serves children in each of the homes. The head nurse in that
office receives applications, assigns children, recruits, selects and trains
caretakers and is available to parents. Moreover, this nurse is in charge
of the health education of caretakers and makes visits to the children
in the day-care homes.
"' Ibid., pp. 58-59.
98 For a lively description of a Parisian cr@che, see Olive Evans, "For the French, Day
Care Centers Have Become a Necessity," New York Times, Oct. 8, 1974, p. 46.
•• "Fees range from 22 cents to $5 per day, but not even the maximum fee charged ever
covers the actual costs of care. Informal (unlicensed) family-day-care fees average about
$150 monthly or about $7 per day." Shella Kamerman, op. cit., p. 33.
1 00 Ibid., pp. 70-71.
1 Sullerot, op. cit., p. 128.
• David and Lt!zine, op. cit.
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Throughout the country there exist. as well, licensed day care homes.
Anyone who wishes to care for children must register and after a
social investigation by a representative of the maternal-child care J?rOgram ( a division of the Ministry of Health) and a physical exammation, may be accepted. Families who place their children in care must
register this fact-even if it is with a close relative such as a grandparent--within 3 days. 3 There are perhaps 125,000 such registered
homes. Each year many women apply for registration and each year
not only are some refused but some who have been registered are
And .finally there are small nurseries where babies may be placed
for short periods when mothers need to shop or are engaged in leisure time activities. These are called halte garderies ( child parking) and may be used by nonworking mothers for a fee. "The program
was founded by the family allowance fund in response to the great
need for isolated young mothers to get out of their homes and participate in outside activities."'
Table 6 shows the number of centers sponsored by various types of
agencies caring for children under 3,5 as of December 31, 1973.
Sponsoring agency or organization



State _______________________________ _
Department _________________________ _
Municipality _________________________ _
Bureau of Social Welfare ______________ _
l, 733
Hospitals ____________________________ _
Family allowance fund ________________ _
Associations under the law of 1901..
5, 711
1, 639_
Others ______________________________________________ _
Total __ •• _____________________ _



Family creches, sponsorship:
Municipality ______ -------------------------------Bureau of Social Welfare___________________________

Day-care homes






141 -------------------848 -- -- -- -- -- -- -- -- -- -700













Number of

Number of








During the year 1974, 65 new creches were opened providing 3,104
places, bringing the total as of 1975 to 40,988. In the family creches,
the number of pl-aces now exceed 17,057; thus the total place,S availa;ble
in all France in 1975 was 58,045. The need for even more places is'
very great. The available ones are ill-distributed throughout the country, several departments having none at all, 12 departments h:aving
only 1 creche and most of the facilities being located in Paris. 6
a Ibid., pp. 69-70.
• Ibid., p. 80.

• Sullerot, op. cit., p.130 (original table in French: translation by the author).

• Ibid., p, 131.
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As for financing, another study states that costs for establishing day
care centers (building and equipment but not land) are about $4,000
per child with the financing supplied 40 percent by central government, 20 percent by local government, and 40 percent by the family
allowance fund. Operating expenses, of which about 80 percent is for
salaries, are divided 4 percent to the central government, 51 percent to
local government, 5 percent to the family allowance fund and 36 percent to parents in fees. The operating costs per child come to $7.50
per day in centers and $6 in family day oare. 7
In a report to the Economic and Social Council, a Government organization, one author recommends on this point the following:
Need for doubling or quadrupling the number of places for children 0--3, depending upon density of population in departments, cities and districts.
The development of a national plan under which the state and the family
allowance fund would contribute 80 percent of the cost of construction of new
creches with the local sponsoring organization responsible for the remainder;
operating costs to be paid by the State at 4-5 percent, parents paying 33 percent
and the local sponsor the remainder.
A local public and private organization to take the initiative in planning number, location, hours of service, size and their own internal regulations of the

Nursery schools.-France's great accomplishment in the field of
child care is the widespread establishment of the ecoles maternelles.
These nursery schools serve children 2 to 6: are set up under the Ministry of Education; are open to all children and are free to parents.9 The
ecole maternelle has been described as "an admirable creation * * *. It
places France in the forefront in the world as much for the quality of
its pedagogical work as for the quality of its personnel * * * and for
the number of children it services: in 1975, 2,500,000 dhildren between
2 and 6." 10
This compares with 800,000 children in 1968.
Broken down by age groups 'the nursery schools serve:
22.4 percent
71.2 percent
92.4 percent
917.7 percent

of the 2-year-olds
of the 3-year-olds
of the 4-year-olds
of the 5-year-olds

Thus, although the nursery school is not compulsory, it is almost universally used by the parents of children in the 2 preschool years, and
very heavily used by the parents of 3-year-olds.
In spite of the pride and enthusiasm in the system which France has
developed, there lias been criticism 11 of the nurseries in certain respects.
and these points are worth noting for the United States as it seeks to
respond to the universal need for child care. 11•
First, the size of the groups in the nurseries is too large. They average 45 enrollments per class and an attendance of 32. The need for
more staff and smaller groups is of first concern.
• Kamerman, op. cit., pp. 33-34.
8 Ibid., pp. 132-133. A note in the International Labor Review, 105: 4, April 1972, comments on the new regulations of November 1971 governlng French cr~ches by noting that
"Paris alone. accounts for nearly half the day-nursery places available for the whole of
France, which, according to recently published information, has only 5 places for everv
10.000 Inhabitants, whereas the WHO (World Health Organization) has laid down
minimum standard of 40 places for every 10,000 inhabitants," p. 380.
• Kamerman, op. cit., points out that parents are, however, charged fees on a graduated
basis for the supplementary program (essential to a working mother) which includes
before- and after-school care, meals, and Wednesday and school-vacation care. These fees
amount to 35 cents per day plus $1 per meal. p. 314.
:; fb~~~rot, op. cit., p. 140.
11• For a detailed dlscnssion of the dally program of the various age groups in the nursery schools, see David and L~zine, op. cit., pp. 84-98.
Federal Reserve Bank of St. Louis


Second is the problem of hours and schedules. The nursery schools
in general follow a school calendar. They are closed on vVednesdays,
on Saturday afternoons and Sundays. They follow school holidays and
vacations and these matters leave working parents with unsolved and
often insoluble problems of child care during these periods. Moreover,
most of them open at 8 a.m., a little late for parents who have to bring
children there before they themselves report for work. Even more difficult is that they close for 2 hours in the middle of the day and at 4 :30 in
the afternoon. Supplementary staffs are needed to cover these periods,
together with the regular provision of cantine services at noon. 12
A problem in this regard is that the personnel of these schools, in
contrast to the compulsory elementary and secondary schools, are paid
by the municipalities and towns and not by the Ministry of Education;
these authorities feel they must collect fees from the parents for these
extra services, 13 with the result that about 20 percent of the enrolled
children do not take advantage of them even when they are available.
At the very least, a cantine is needed in every nursery school.
Third, there is a very uneven standard of equipment in the centers.
Some lack outdoor areas, playrooms, quiet rooms and the like. These
shortcoming are apt to characterize underprivileged neighborhoods,
both rural and urban, and therefore substantiates the need for greater
standardization through more national participation in supporting
these aspects of the schools, lest disadvantaged children remain
Finally, France has not dealt with the problem of caring for the
8ick child, despite the fact that a child's illness is a catastrophe for a
working mother. Hospitals might be induced to offer a home care
service for children who are not seriously ill.
France has uniquely made the care and education of children from 2
years upward a charge upon the State. Since the schools for children
between 2 and 6 are voluntary, parents who wish to keep their ch~ldren at home until the start of school may do so. Actually, the statistics indicate that almost all French children above the age of 4 and a
Yery high proportion of 3-year olds are in free public preschool during most of the day. The provision of care for children under 2 is
much less universal, but still probably offers more places for care than
are available in any other country.

D. Sweden
Outside the Communist countries, Sweden may have the most comprehensive and integrated program of child care 14 of any country in
the non-Communist world. 15
12 Actually, 85 percent of the nurseries In towns of more than 100,000 inhabitants have a
l':rntine ; 60 percent In the smaller towns but only 40 percent In the rural areas. More than
75 percent of the schools have someone who remains until the evening, about 18 :30. About
20 percent have organized a caretaklng system on Wednesday, and 20 percent function during the summer as child-minding centers. Sullerot, op. cit., p. 141.
1, See Kamerman, op. cit., p. 34.
,. Although proportionately more children are cared for in France than In Sweden, the
refrence here Is to the total system of child care from prenatal programs to those covering
in- and after-school care of children of working mothers.
15 The Communist countries, partly for reasons of political indoctrination and training
of children and partly because the labor-market demands upon women are nearl:v total, have
unquestionably provided more child care facilities than have the free-market countries.
Even so, their available services in only a few cases-Moscow may be the one exception in
the Communist world-meet the demand of working mothers for child care.
Federal Reserve Bank of St. Louis

The first program is entitled "Parenthood Benefits" which may
begin 60 days before the child's birth. Prebirth benefits are paid only
to the mother. Benefits then extend for a maximum period of 180 days,
beginning with the day of birth and amounting to 90 percent of mcome; these are payable either to the mother or father, depending on
who is remaining out of work to care for the child.16 The same amount
is paid £or the same period following an adoption, regardless of the
age of the child. Parents who take this child care leave are assured
that their jobs will be held for them for the 6-months period, provided
that they have worked uninterruptedly £or the employer for 1 year
before the leave is taken. This provision holds for a maximum of two
periods of leave for each parent.
The assumptions in setting up this program are that
It is a positive thing if the child from the beginning has close contacts with
both parents. The change (from maternity benefits to parent benefits) is a significant notice on the part of society that the father and the moth!er have common
responsibiliy for the children's care. The reform is part of a policy to promote
equality between men and women in the home, on the job and in society.11

Mothers receive a cash payment ( the amount in 1970 was SKr 1,080
or $200), 178 on the birth of a child (with increased amounts in multiple births); they may request advances on it during pregnancy if they
can demonstrate need and have a doctor's certificate.18
Preventive maternity and child care are regarded as very important.
Since 1944, the State has supported such activities, which include a free
health checkup of all mothers-to-be and new mothers, and of children below
school age. It covers also preventive birth control, diagnosis of pregnancy, gymnastics for mothers-to-be, and the treatment of disorders caused by pregnancy
or delivery but not necessitating h'OSl)ital care. Protective medicines for both
mother and children are provided free of charge, as are also certain other drugs
for women.
The maternity and child care centers-sometimes :housed in the same ,buildingfunction under physicians, assisted by midwives and nurses. About 90 percent
of mothers-to-be visited a maternity care center for a health checkup.18

Every Swedish child receives a public allowance from birth until
its 16th birthday, amounting to about SKr 1,200 per year per child.
The allowance is a measure of social policy intended to support families
with children and improve their standard of living. The payments
are made quarterly to a designated parent, usually the mother. 2 ° Children who lose one or both parents receive assistance f