Women's Status in American Society: Labor Force Participation

One of the most dramatic and important structural changes in the U.S. during the latter part of the 20th century has been increasing labor force participation by women, especially married women. This graph shows the percentage of married and single women in the labor force by decade, starting from 1940, when only 14.7 percent of married women worked outside the home. By century's end, almost two-thirds (62 percent) of married women were in the labor force. The percentage of single women in the labor force has also increased since the mid-20th century. These trends in labor force participation have had a far-reaching impact on the economy, family life, and women's status in American society.

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