How were women’s lives different before Roe v. wade

49 years have passed since the landmark Supreme Court decision in Roe vs. Wade granted the right to abortion. Since then, women have transformed their lives. They have seen their role in the American workforce expand dramatically and their economic power grow.

Many women have much more influence at home and in the workplace. Some see those changes in jeopardy after a leaked Supreme Court draft suggested abortion rights could be overturned, limiting their decision on when or whether to have children.

Do you know how much women’s lives have changed since before the roe deer in power in 1973?

Question 1 of 6

In 2020, 43% of women between 25 and 34 were married. How many were married in 1970?

More than 8 out of 10 women aged 25 to 34 were married in 1970.

Cultural norms have changed dramatically over the past five decades, especially for young women. These days, more and more women are delaying marriage, and they often build their careers or pursue other opportunities before deciding to get married.

Question 2 of 6

In 2020, 52% of women between the ages of 25 and 34 had no children. How many had no children in 1970?

Just over 20% of women between the ages of 25 and 34 in 1970 had no children.

Women’s decisions about when and how to start a family have changed, with many more women having children later in life compared to their mothers’ generation. This is partly due to changing cultural norms and women joining and staying longer in the workforce. Delaying childbirth has also become an option with technological advances in medical care, including egg freezing, surrogacy and in vitro fertilization.

Question 3 of 6

In 2020, 41% of women aged 25 to 44 had a university degree. What was the rate in 1970?

Eleven percent of women aged 25 to 44 had a university degree in 1970.

As women rose through the ranks of the workforce, they brought college degrees with them. At the end of the 2020-21 academic year, women made up 59.5% of students, an all-time high, according to data from the National Student Clearinghouse. However, more people are generally getting college degrees these days. The rate of men over 25 with a university degree has also increased, from 19% in 1970 to 33% in 2020.

Question 4 of 6

In 2020, 27% of women of childbearing age (15-44) did not have paid employment and were not looking for one. What proportion of women were not in the labor force in 1970?

Fifty-five percent of women of childbearing age (15 to 44) did not have paid employment in 1970.

Over time, more women joined the workforce and expanded their careers, sometimes delaying having a family or getting married. At the end of 2019, women outnumbered men in the workforce for only the second time in modern history.

Question 5 of 6

In 2020, 45% of all leadership positions for 16-44 year olds were held by women. What was their share in 1970?

Seventeen percent of management positions were held by a woman in 1970.

Women’s expanded roles in the workforce have also led to more opportunities to be elevated to positions of power, especially in industries that were historically male-dominated. Over the past five decades, a series of court rulings have outlawed gender discrimination in the workplace. For example, in Pittsburgh Press Co. v. Pittsburgh Commission on Human Relations of 1973, the Supreme Court ruled that a local ordinance prohibiting newspapers from publishing gender-specific job advertisements did not violate First Amendment rights.

Question 6 of 6

In households where both spouses had a paid job, 27% of women of childbearing age earned more than their husbands in 2020. How many women were breadwinners in 1970?

Only 8% of women of childbearing age earned more than their husbands in 1970.

Over the years, women have made great strides in terms of the number of people joining the workforce, but many are still not paid as much as their male counterparts. In 2020, women earned 84% of what men earned, according to data from the Pew Research Center. That means it takes a woman 42 more days of work to earn what a man does, according to 2020 data.

The data comes from IPUMS at the University of Minnesota.


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