Thesis: The combination of massive college debt and the economic transition from predominately manufacturing to service industries is producing a new generation of women with fewer marriages and less children.
Women’s roles and expectations in the workforce have dramatically changed over generations in several ways. When agriculture was the main contributor to GDP women were expected to cook, clean, and raise the children. Those expectations continued from the period of agriculture to the transition into Manufacturing. As the economy shifts again towards a service economy, women are educated and a prominent part of the workforce, and it’s having several affects on the economy. I believe that the combination of massive college debt and the economic transition from predominately manufacturing to service industries is producing a new generation of women with fewer marriages and less children.
Over the last decade the amount of women attending college has increased exponentially, but that education comes with a cost. According to USA News “The average amount of student loan debt again crept up for the Class of 2013, and is approaching $30,000, according to a new report from the Institute for College Access and Success”. Considering the average women leaves college with 30k in debt she doesn’t have the luxury of not working. College debt might force them to enter the workforce, but what I preventing women from marriage and having children?
There has been a declining in the birth rate for the past six years, and a significant amount of those children are born to unmarried parents. According to WSJ “Earnings of less-educated American men have fallen in recent decades, while education levels have risen among women, making marriage less attractive economically for women, research shows”. What could be the factors? Well considering the amount of college debt it’s becoming more difficult to finance a wedding. Considering the price tag of a wedding and the estimated price of having a child it doesn’t appear too advantageous for young women. With increase in women salaries it makes more sense for them to work, and remove to taboo of “shame” for not being a stay at home mom. Women should have equal pay and opportunities because he economy needs women to help grow.
This doesn’t just apply to the United States. “insidious conspiracy” of laws is keeping women out of the workforce around the world, costing the global economy badly needed growth, said Christine Lagarde, managing director of the International Monetary Fund”(WSJ 2). The generation change that allows more women to enter the work force is advantageous for everyone, and it’s just the right thing to do.