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Over the course of the past four decades, women have been making significant gains in their labor force participation and educational attainment.

In 2010, women made up almost half of the labor force (46.7%). In 1997, women made up 46.2% of the labor force, and back in 1970 women made up only 38.1% of the labor force.

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There was some speculation that women’s share of employment could surpass men’s during the 2007-2009 Great Recession—often referred to as the “Mancession” because of disproportionate job losses in male-dominated fields such as construction and manufacturing. However, women have fared worse than men in the recovery that began in mid-2009.

Women in today’s workforce who do marry and have children are not necessarily leaving their careers to do so. Today’s woman often balances her career with her husband and children. Fully 48% of married couples in 2010 consisted of two breadwinners.

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