There was a lot of focus on a dearth of middle-class jobs for men in the United States during the recent presidential election. This discussion centered on the loss of good-paying manufacturing and mining jobs for men, which have been in decline since the 1960s due to automation and globalization. Not much attention has been paid, however, to the declining number of women in the US workforce. This trend is the opposite of trends in women’s employment in other industrialized countries. What explains this difference for women in the United States?
I have always been envious of citizens of countries in Europe and South America that have legislated generous family-friendly policies intended to make it possible for more women to work and have careers. In a recent New York Times article Claire Cain Miller gives examples of some of the laws that have been passed around the world to address family and career balance:
- Chile passed a law, the most recent version in 2009, requiring employers to provide and pay for child care for women with children under two.