Giving Compass' Take:

· This report from the Center for American Progress takes a look at women's labor force participation and the normalization of women breadwinners. 

· How can funders support individuals, families, and communities better using this information? 

· Read 10 facts about women in the workforce

Most children who grow up in the United States in the 21st century will be raised in households in which all of the adults work They are most likely to be raised by a single working parent or two married parents who are both employed, and only a minority of children will grow up in families with a full-time, stay-at-home parent throughout their childhood. Although working parents are the modern norm and have been for years, the notion that most families already have a full-time caregiver available persists and continues to influence public policy as federal and, to a lesser extent, state policymaking has not prioritized work-family supports. In most families, every adult works; when a new child is welcomed into the family, when a child stays home sick from school, or when an aging parent suffers from a fall, someone must stay home to provide care—and this person is usually a mother, a wife, or an adult daughter.

Gender norms are changing. There has been an increase in the number of stay-at-home fathers in recent years, and men report a strong desire to spend more time with their families. But women still carry the brunt of unpaid work within the home and spend more time caring for children and performing household labor than men with similar demographic characteristics and parental status. Women and the paid labor they perform are important economic drivers in the United States, but current policies do little to reflect this reality. Too many workplaces, and most existing public policies, are based on a faulty underlying premise: that most families have access to an unpaid caregiver and that if someone needs to take time away from work to provide care it will most likely be a wife, mother, or adult daughter—and that doing so will have no negative impact on her family’s economic well-being. Even though women make up nearly half of all U.S. workers and account for most consumer spending, there is still a deep and often unconscious belief that women’s earnings are not central to their families’ economic security. This same belief too often has created a tolerance for gender-based wage disparities that have resulted in fewer resources for families. Unfortunately, these views are still too widely held—even though research has consistently proven them wrong for years—and gives workplaces and lawmakers little incentive to pass policies that support working families.

Read the full article about women's labor force participation by Sarah Jane Glynn at Center for American Progress.