What's Changed For Working Women Since 1972? Not As Much As You'd Think.

Illustration for article titled What's Changed For Working Women Since 1972? Not As Much As You'd Think.

A lot has changed since the 1970's. Lapels have shrunk. Mustaches have gone from cool to pervy to ironically cool but actually kind of pervy. Disco was murdered to death and then sort of came back to life again. Airport security has gotten almost to third base. And women now, more than ever, are leaving the house to work. But what hasn't changed much is what we're doing when we leave the house.

NPR chart-ifies some newly released data from the Bureau of Labor Statistics today. From it, we can glean that while now 1 in 2 American workers are women (in 1972, it was 1 in 3), but that lady jobs from the 1970's are pretty much lady jobs now.

A whopping 76% of teachers and health service workers are women, up about a percentage point from 1972. And male dominated industries from the 1970's, like manufacturing, construction, media, and utilities, are still dominated by men (In 1972, 27.2% of manufacturing jobs belonged to women. Today, it's 27.3%.)


But a few industries have actually swung from slightly male dominated to slightly female dominated. There are now more women than men working for the government, and more women than men in liesure and hospitality. Women have also made inroads into finance; forty years ago, slightly under half of the jobs in finance were held by women, now it's more like 60%.

What's interesting about these numbers is that it shows just how much some sectors continue to be gender segregated. Teaching is "women's work." Labor is "man's work." And as long as this gender divide continues to exist, we can still hope for a woman-to-man construction-themed remake of Tootsie.


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The phrase "murdered to death" makes me laugh in the same way that "Killed them all dead" makes me laugh.

Carry on.