Tuesday, August 17, 2010

Do U.S. labor markets favor single and childless women?

A recent article in the New York Times made this observation:
The last three men nominated to the Supreme Court have all been married and, among them, have seven children. The last three women — Elena Kagan, Sonia Sotomayor and Harriet Miers (who withdrew) — have all been single and without children.
The author of this piece, David Leonhardt, notes that even though we now have many more women in the workplace, and we are moving toward better female representation in our Supreme Court, women who take time off the career path to raise children or switch to part-time hours still fall short of their male peers in earnings in the U.S. labor marketplace. He cites a study titled “Dynamics of the Gender Gap for Young Professionals in the Financial and Corporate Sectors”:
A recent study of business school graduates from the University of Chicago found that in the early years after graduating, men and women had “nearly identical labor incomes and weekly hours worked.” Men and women also paid a similar career price for taking off or working part time. Women, however, were vastly more likely to do so.
As a result, 15 years after graduation, the men were making about 75 percent more than the women. The study — done by Marianne Bertrand, Claudia Goldin and Lawrence Katz — did find one subgroup of women whose careers resembled those of men: women who had no children and never took time off.
As a freelance writer, I have been outside of the corporate world for some time now but had I pursued that corporate career track I might have been one of those women. Are you childless and on an uninterrupted career path? If so, do feel like you have the same labor incomes as your male peers who work a similar number of hours?

Flickr Photo by mirimcfly

Wednesday, August 11, 2010

Two is Enough is Designed for Singles Too

Don’t let the title Two Is Enough: A Couple’s Guide to Living Childless by Choice fool you. I have designed the content of this book for singles too.

I recently received an email from a single woman who works in the social services field. She wrote: "I wanted to thank you for writing Two is Enough...Although I am single, the research was relevant to me as well. I'm glad your book corrected the myths that childless couples are selfish or do not love children. I do not want children for medical and environmental reasons, but I enjoy working with children. It is important to our society that women have more information like the research you provided."

I pleased to receive this email. I interviewed a number of single women and men in the course of my research for Two Is Enough. I found that the primary motives and rationales for remaining childfree are the same for singles and for couples. In Two is Enough I address the fact that singles have the additional challenge of finding suitable partners in a dating pool filled with candidates who imagine a life with kids even though they haven’t really given it much thought. How does that turn out? Read the profiles in Chapter Five of Two is Enough to find out.