Women in the workforce  

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Train wreck at Montparnasse (October 22, 1895) by Studio Lévy and Sons.
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Train wreck at Montparnasse (October 22, 1895) by Studio Lévy and Sons.

Until modern industrialized times, legal and cultural practices, combined with the inertia of longstanding religious and educational traditions, have restricted women's entry and participation in the workforce. A traditional dependency upon menfolk, and consequently the poor socio-economic status of women have also restricted their entry into the workforce. Particularly as occupations have become professionalized over the nineteenth and twentieth centuries, women's meagre access to higher education has effectively excluded them from the practice of well-paid and high status occupations. Entry of women into the higher professions like law and medicine was delayed in most countries due to women being denied entry to universities and qualification for degrees. For example, Cambridge University only fully validated degrees for women late in 1947, and even then only after much opposition and acrimonious debate. Such factors have all conspired to confine women to low-paid and poor status occupations for most of the 19th and 20th centuries.

Restrictions on women's access to and participation in the workforce include the wage gap and the glass ceiling, inequities most identified with industrialized nations with nominal equal opportunity laws; legal and cultural restrictions on access to education and jobs, inequities most identified with developing nations; and unequal access to capital, variable but identified as a difficulty in both industrialized and developing nations.

Although access to paying occupations (the "workforce") has been and remains unequal in many occupations and places around the world, scholars sometimes distinguish "work" from "paying work". Analyses distinguishing between unpaid work and paying work have led to the frequently cited slogan "Women do two-thirds of the world's work, receive 10 percent of the world's income, and own 1 percent of the means of production", which has come to capture the imbalance between work and remuneration faced by women. This analysis considers uncompensated household labor — for instance, childcare, eldercare, and family subsistence farming — as well as compensated work in the workforce.

See also

Women's participation in different occupations

thumb|A news anchor going live on TV in Poland Below is a list of encyclopedia articles that detail women's historical involvement in various occupations.

Although women comprise approximately half of the students enrolled in American law schools, they represent only 17% of partners at major law firms and less than a quarter of tenured law professors. Similarly, in the United States, there has been only one female attorney general, three female secretaries of state, two women Supreme Court justices, and one acting solicitor general.




Unless indicated otherwise, the text in this article is either based on Wikipedia article "Women in the workforce" or another language Wikipedia page thereof used under the terms of the GNU Free Documentation License; or on original research by Jahsonic and friends. See Art and Popular Culture's copyright notice.

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