Working Mothers Since "Women's Liberation"

Monday, May 8, 2017 | Posted by: Alpha Kappa Psi




There are more working mothers today than ever before in American culture. In 1975, only 47.4% of mothers with children under the age of 18 were in the workforce, whereas today 70.3% of these moms are working. Some of the challenges mondern working moms face are new, while others have stayed the same since the 70s, such as the need for scheduling flexibility and difficulty practicing self-care. For Mother’s Day, let’s take a look at working motherhood of the past and how it compares to now, and take time to remember and celebrate all the working moms who have made our lives great


Then: 1970’s

The visibility of working mothers in the 1970’s was much less than today. That lack of conversation about and appreciation for working mothers created barriers to their work-life balance. However,  according to the Bureau of Labor Statistics, the greatest labor force gains during this time were among women 25 to 34 years of age. Many in this age group, who even a generaton before typically stopped working for marriage and childbearing, no longer did so after the feminist movements of the late 1960s. As a result of this, there were more children than ever before with working mothers. Despite this surge of mothers in the workforce, the amenities for women were few and far between. Most of the job opportunities were still in hisotrically female-dominated fields like nursing and teaching. In terms of business involvement for women, female entrepreneurs like Martha Stewart and Debbie Fields got their starts in the 1970s, both by capitalizing on the shifting norms of modern domestic life.


Now: 2010’s

Today, mothers are the primary or sole earners for 40 percent of households with children under 18, compared with 11 percent in 1960,according to the Department of Labor. Women’s roles in the workforce have also become more important. For example, today a third of lawyers are women, and women own nearly 10 million businesses. There is more support for working mothers in place as well, such as Federally-guaranteed 12 weeks of maternity leave under the Family and Medical Leave Act of 1993. Many women also have the option to work from home or negotiate more flexibility in a work schedule. Some corporate offices even subsidize child care for working mothers. However, mothers in minimum-wage or blue-collar jobs won’t have many of the amenities listed above.


Though some working mothers have fewer barriers to success than others, all have a lot of things on their mind and deserve support and thanks. Are you a working mother? Share your strategies in the comments below--and by the way, happy Mother’s Day on Sunday, May 14, 2017!

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