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Women in the Labour Force

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The past decades their has been a dramatic increase of women participating in the labour force from countries all over the world including Canada. In 1950, one Canadian worker in five was a woman. By 1980 this percentage had doubled, and women are expected to make up more than 44 percent of the labour force by the end of this century.

The increase in female participation started occurring during the 1970's. This increase also caused the largest baby boom that the Canadian female labour force had ever witnessed.

In North America it is common for women to have part-time or summer jobs, and the participation rate of teenage girls is high. It is also mostly high throughout the world in places as United Kingdom because of the fewer women going to school. But in places like France, Italy, and Japan the female participation rate is very low. In most of the countries the labour force is most participated in the age groups between 20 and 24. The labour force of mature women is very high in Sweden, because of the encouraged day care facilities which also provides the females with legislation that provides them with excellent benefits. In Japan there is a drop in female economic activity, the reason why is it affects their marriage and the care of their only child.

An observation of labour force participation rates in Canada show that female rates rose a lot between 1971 and 1981, while the male rate rose unnoticeably. The increase in the female participation rate was found in all age groups except in older women. For women aged 15 to 19 the rate was as almost as high as the men. But the largest increase was in the age group of 25-44 years old, where the rate rose almost 50 percent. This meant that the participation rates of the females had become more alike with the men.

Family status also influenced the female participation rate but later on during 1981 it had a more less affect than in 1971. According to statistics just over one quarter of married women with young children were working, but this later changed and grew by 76 percent over the a 10 year period of time. The rate also showed an increase of 47 percent for widowed, divorced, and separated women with children. However single women with young children showed a slight decrease. However the female participation rate is not so much related to family status as today as it was many years ago.

During the period of 1971 through 1981 the involvement of married women went through a major change. Fewer women saw marriage as a reason to interrupt their participation in the job force, and couple tended to postpone having children or not having any at all. While women with young children tended to participate less in the labour market and quit their jobs more frequently than men. Females did the exact opposite of what men did when they had children while working, and in some cases were actually more stable than men without children. This showed that the couples attitude towards having children influenced a decrease in the female labour force participation rate.

In 1981 most women spent an average of 1,247 hours a year working, compared with 1,431 hours in 1971 which had dropped about 15 percent. Even men saw their average hours decrease by 13 percent. Not only more women were working, more were working part-tim for only part of the year which meant more women on the unemployment rolls. In the 1960's the unemployment rate for females was 3 percent and ten years later increased to 7 percent. Since june 1982 the unemployment rate for men was 11-13 percent and the women's just above that rate which could also exceed that of the men near the end of the century. Only about 11 percent of women had part-time jobs because they couldn't find full-time employment or because they wished to spend more time to their education or their families, or for other reasons. Although 24 percent of the women working part-time would



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