The War on Women’s Health
Part 5: Women’s Economics
Power that can’t be ignored
November 4, 2012
“Until things slowly changed during the last century, women’s participation in the labor force was limited by traditional cultural, educational, and legal practices. Women’s work outside of home and marriage was restricted to a handful of occupations such as domestic service, factory work, farm work, and teaching. Over the past several decades, the women’s labor force in the United States and throughout the world has experienced many changes. Women’s labor force participation rates are significantly higher today than they were in the 1970s. Throughout that period, women have increasingly attained higher levels of education and experienced an increase in their earnings as a proportion of men’s earnings.”1
Winning the War
One rivet at a time
We Can Do It! (Rosie the Riveter), circa 1942 – 1943
Office for Emergency Management, War Production Board
The U.S. National Archives
|Women’s economic power has grown over time. Women began entry into traditionally male jobs during World War II as rampant male war enlistment caused immense needs in the industrial labor force.2
Between 1940 and 1945, American women entered the workforce in unprecedented numbers increasing women workers from 27 percent to nearly 37 percent. By the end of the War, nearly one quarter of married women worked outside the home. Perhaps the most iconic image of working women during this time was the Westinghouse Electric & Manufacturing Company’s poster of a woman riveter, “Rosie the Riveter.”
When the war ended, the many industries that had once encouraged and celebrated the working War women, forced them to leave their high paying skilled jobs to returning veterans.
The American Working Women
Pillars of strengths
Today the percentage of American working women has increased to 47%3,4 of employed workers and 59% of the entire labor force5. Even 65% of mothers work6. The wages of the 66 million working women4 make up 23% of the National Gross Domestic Product.7,8,9
Employment by Industry
Building over the old
“In 1964, about 19 million of the nation’s nonfarm employees were women; the three industries that employed the most women—manufacturing; trade, transportation, and utilities; and local government—accounted for 54 percent of these women.”1
Of the 66 million women who worked in wage and salary jobs in 2010, 70 percent worked in just four industries: 16 million were employed in education and health services; 12 million were employed in government; 10 million were employed in trade, transportation, and utilities; and 8 million were employed in professional and business services.
“During this period, the growth of the education and health industry, and the number of women employed in it, has been notable.”
“In the 1960s, more women were employed in manufacturing than in any other industry. During the 1970s, and 80s, more women were employed in trade, transportation, and utilities than any other industry. Until 1975, there were more women employed in local government than in education and health services. In 1976, employment of women in education and health exceeded that in local government. From 1993 to 2010, education and health services has ranked first in employment of women, followed by trade, transportation and utilities, and local government.”
During the 1964 – 2010 period, women went from 34 percent of the workforce to about 47 percent.3,4
Women in the Workforce
Cogs in the machines
The number of women employed, and the wages they earn, vary by occupation. Women who worked full time in wage and salary jobs had median weekly earnings of $669 in 201010. This represented 81 percent of men’s median weekly earnings ($824).
In 2010, the 363,000 women employed as counselors earned, at the median, $818 per week, nearly 2 million women employed as elementary and middle school teachers earned, at the median, $931 per week, and the 88,000 women employed as pharmacists earned, at the median, $1605 per week.11 An additional 200,000 women employed as computer software engineers earned, at the median, $1445 per week, over 2 million women employed as secretaries and administrative assistants earned, at the median, $657 per week, another almost 2 million women employed as registered nurses earned, at the median, $1039 per week, and the 88,000 women employed as pharmacists earned, at the median, $1605 per week.
Running Empires: These women run companies could be members of the UN
The first woman CEO of a Fortune 500 company was Katherine Graham whom took over the Washington Post Co. in 1972.12 Now women hold 19 CEO positions at Fortune 500 rank companies13 for 4 percent.
Some women run public traded companies whose revenues exceed the Gross Domestic Product of entire countries.
Meg Whitman, the CEO of Hewlett-Packard, heads up a corporation that if it were a country would be rank the 65th largest country. This is larger than Cuba’s GDP.
The corporations’ revenue rankings was done by Fortune CNNMoney14 and the countries’ GDP rankings come from the CIA’s 2011 World Fact Book.15
Women Owned Businesses
Vēnērunt, vīdērunt, vīcērunt
There are an estimated 8 million U.S. businesses (2008) that are majority women-owned, i.e. privately-held firms where women own at lease 51 percent16. The businesses account for 28.2 percent of all businesses in the United States. The economic impact of these firms is nearly $3 trillion annually.
They have created almost 24 million jobs or 16 percent of all U.S. Jobs.
The various service sectors had the greatest number of firms created. Women owned 21% of the firms in the professional, scientific, and technical services sector.
In 2008 the GDP was $14.2646 trillion.17 The $2.8 trillion impact of these firms gives them 19.6% of the National GDP.
If U.S.-based women-owned businesses were their own country, they would have trailed 5th rank Germany in GDP but ahead of countries like United Kingdom, Russia, France. Only the much larger countries United States, China, Japan, and India would have a larger GDP.15 ((repeat))
What has allowed women to continue making progress after the appearance of Rosie the Riveter in the gut of the American industrial sphere?
It was contraception — more specifically the birth control pill. By 2010, 66 million women worked in wage and salary jobs earning about $3,347 billion18 because of pill. The pill also allowed women to establish 8 million businesses by 2008.
Now there are 19 women CEO of Fortune 500 companies. Is it only coincidence that the very first woman CEO, Katherine Graham took control of the Washington Post Co. in 1972 well after distribution of the pill started in the sixties?
Goldin and Katz18 conclude:
“But a virtually foolproof, easy-to-use, and female-controlled contraceptive having low health risks, little pain, and few annoyances does appear to have been important in promoting real change in the economic status of women (Birdsall and Chester 1987). Moreover, women in the United States were well positioned to take advantage of the pill’s side beneﬁt. By the time the pill was available to unmarried women, about 28 percent were graduating from four-year institutions of higher education.
“The most persuasive evidence for a role of the pill is that its initial diffusion among single women coincided with, and is analytically related to, the increase in the age at first marriage and the increase in women in professional degree programs. Other factors were involved in these changes, to be sure. No great social movement is caused by a single factor.”
||Year of entry of first-year female professional students as a fraction of first-year students overlaid contraceptive pill usage and total fertility rate.
Next: The War on Women’s Health, Part 6 – Religious Beliefs
Previous: The War on Women’s Health, Part 4: Contraceptive Coverage Economics
At age nine, Ayn Rand (1905-1982) decided she would be a writer and published her first novel, We the Living, at the age of 28. This biography is a quick, general primer with short, manageable chapters that cover an average of 10 years each. Born in Russia in 1905, she immigrated to America as a young woman and worked in Hollywood film studios and theaters while trying to get her writing published. Like many authors, Rand experienced her share of initial rejection, but she soon became well known for controversial novels (i.e., The Fountainhead and Atlas Shrugged) that advanced her intensely individualistic philosophy. It features an impressive array of photos, many of which are published here for the first time, as well as reproductions of book jackets, letters, notes and artwork, which add richness to the narrative.
||Ø | Women at Work: Spotlight on Statistics | U.S. Bureau of Labor Statistics | March 2011 | Accessed 20120922 @ http://www.bls.gov/spotlight/2011/women/.
||Ø | Rosie the Riveter (Webpage) | History.com | ∞ | Accessed: 20121013 @ http://www.history.com/topics/rosie-the-riveter.
||Ø | Series ID: LNU02000000 (Employment Level – All) from Labor Force Statistics from the Current Population Survey: Demographics: Women: Retrieve historical data series (Database) | U.S. Bureau of Labor Statistics << U.S. Department of Labor | Last Modified Date: August 28, 2012 | Data extracted on: September 22, 2012 @ http://www.bls.gov/cps/demographics.htm#women.
||Ø | Series ID: LNU02000002 (Employment Level – Women) from Labor Force Statistics from the Current Population Survey: Demographics: Women: Retrieve historical data series (Database) | U.S. Bureau of Labor Statistics << U.S. Department of Labor | Last Modified Date: August 28, 2012 | Data extracted on: September 22, 2012 @ http://www.bls.gov/cps/demographics.htm#women.
||Ø | Series ID: LNU01300002 (Labor Force Participation Rate – Women) from Labor Force Statistics from the Current Population Survey: Demographics: Women: Retrieve historical data series (Database) | U.S. Bureau of Labor Statistics << U.S. Department of Labor | Last Modified Date: August 28, 2012 | Data extracted on: September 22, 2012 @ http://www.bls.gov/cps/demographics.htm#women.
||Ø | Table 6. Employment status of women by presence and age of youngest child, marital status, race, and Hispanic or Latino ethnicity, March 2010 << Women in the Labor Force: A Databook | U.S. Bureau of Labor Statistics << U.S. Department of Labor | Report 1034BLS | December 2011.
||Ø | Women in the Labor Force in 2010 | Women’s Bureau << U.S. Department of Labor | No date | Accessed: August 29, 2012 @ http://www.dol.gov/wb/factsheets/Qf-laborforce-10.htm.
||Mataloni, Lisa and Key, Greg | Table 9. Relation of Gross Domestic Product, Gross National Product, and National Income << News Release: Gross Domestic Product: Second Quarter 2012 (Secend Estimate)/Corporate Profits: Second Quarter 2012 (Preliminary) | Bureau of Economic Analysis | BEA 12-35 | August 29, 2012 | Available @ http://www.bea.gov/newsreleases/national/gdp/2012/pdf/gdp2q12_2nd.pdf.
||Ø | Table 11. Employed persons by detailed occupation and sex, 2010 annual averages (Corrected on February 9, 2012), Pages 28 – 38 << Women in the Labor Force: A Databook (2011 Edition) | U.S. Bureau of Labor Statistics << U.S. Department of Labor | Report 1034 | December 2011 | Website: http://www.bls.gov/cps/wlf-databook2011.htm, Available @ http://www.bls.gov/cps/wlf-databook-2011.pdf.
||Ø | Quick Stats on Women Workers, 2010 | U.S. Department of Labor | ∞ | Accessed 20121015 @ http://www.dol.gov/wb/factsheets/QS-womenwork2010.htm#.UHyv7d0eiAl.
||Ø | Table 2. Median usual weekly earnings of full-time wage and salary workers, by detailed occupation and sex, 2010 annual averages « Highlights of Women’s Earnings in 2010 | U.S. Bureau of Labor Statistics « U.S. Department of Labor | Report 1031 | July 2011 | Accessed: 20120923 @ http://www.bls.gov/cps/cpswom2010.pdf.
||Ø | Quick Takes: Firsts for U.S. Women | Catalyst Inc. | Updated: June 7, 2012 | http://www.catalyst.org/publication/211/firsts-for-us-women.
||Ø | Pyramids: Women CEOs of the Fortune 1000 | Catalyst Inc. | August 2012 | Accessed 201210 http://www.catalyst.org/publication/271/women-ceos-of-the-fortune-1000.
||Ø | FORTUNE 500: Our annual ranking of America’s largest corporations, 2010 | CNNMoney | May 3, 2010 | Accessed: 20121008 @ http://money.cnn.com/magazines/fortune/fortune500/2010/full_list/index.html.
||Ø | Country Comparison :: GDP (purchasing power parity); The World Factbook, 2011 Edition | Central Intelligence Agency | 2011.
||Pordeli, Hassan and Wynkoop, Peter | The Economic Impact of Women-Owned Businesses In the United States | The Center for Women’s Business Research | October 2009 | Available @ http://www.nwbc.gov/sites/default/files/economicimpactstu.pdf.
||Mataloni, Lisa and Hodge, Andrew | Table 3. Gross Domestic Product and Related Measures: Level and Change From Preceding Period << News Release: Gross Domestic Product: Forth Quarter 2008 (Final)/Corporate Profits: Forth Quarter 2008 (Final) | Bureau of Economic Analysis | BEA 09-11 | March 26, 2009 | Available @ http://www.bea.gov/newsreleases/national/gdp/2009/pdf/gdp408f.pdf.
||Goldin, Claudia and Katz, Lawrence F. | The Power of the Pill: Oral Contraceptives and Women’s Career and Marriage Decisions | Journal of Political Economy | Volume 110, Number 4, Pages 730–770 | August 2002 | Accessed: September 25, 2012 @ http://scholar.harvard.edu/cgoldin/files/the_power_of_the_pill_oral