Nobody much cared about the item here the other day about the federal report on the status of women. But I’m going to try again with a link to Gail Collins’ column today. She mentions the continuing pay disparity, housework disparity and volunteerism disparity (I need not tell you who does more work and is paid less), but she gets to the heart of the change from which society is unlikely to retreat:
A change that happened later, and the one that’s going to be driving the future, is that women’s ability to succeed in their work life is now a matter of concern for both sexes. The turning point for American women really came on the unknown day when the average American couple started planning their futures with the presumption that there would be two paychecks. In a country where no one has real power without a serious economic role, we entered a time when, whether we liked it or not, all hands were needed to keep the economic ship afloat. Even women who get the opportunity to stay home when their children are young have to be ready to jump back into the work force if their partner is suddenly laid off.
A while back, I was visiting a college in Connecticut where most of the students were the first in their families ever to go beyond high school. I was talking with a group of young men and women, and I asked the men how many of them felt it was very important that their future wife be a good earner.
All of them raised their hands.