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Unformatted text preview: 10.1 7 /0891243204265632 GENDER & SOCIETY / August 20 4 England et al. / WOMENS EMPLOYMENT WOMENS EMPLOYMENT AMONG BLACKS, WHITES, AND THREE GROUPS OF LATINAS Do More Privileged Women Have Higher Employment? PAULA ENGLAND Stanford University CARMEN GARCIA-BEAULIEU Seminole Community College MARY ROSS Newark InOne During much of U.S. history, Black women had higher employment rates than white women. But by the late twentieth century, women in more privileged racial/ethnic, national origin, and education groups were more likely to work for pay. The authors compare the employment of white women to Blacks and three groupsof LatinasMexicans,Cubans,andPuertoRicansandexplainracial/ethnicgroupdiffer- ences. White women work for pay more weeks per year than Latinas or Black women, although the gaps are small for all groups but Mexicans. In all groups, education encourages and children reduce employ- ment. Having a husband does not reduce employment, and husbands earnings have little effect. The higher fertility of Mexicans and the large number of recent immigrants among Mexican women reduce their employment relative to that of white women. The higher education of white women explains large shares of the employment gap with each group of women of color because, in todays labor market, education strongly predicts employment. Keywords: womens employment; labor force participation; Latinas; women of color I n 1890, 40 percent of Black but only 16 percent of white women were in the labor force. By 1950, Black womens participation (38 percent) was still way ahead of white womens (29 percent; England 1992). By 1980, Black and white womens employment rates had converged at 47 percent, and both groups had higher employment than Mexican (44 percent) and Puerto Rican (35 percent) women, and 51 percent of Cuban women were employed (calculated from Smith and Tienda 494 REPRINT REQUESTS: Paula England, Sociology Department, Stanford University, Stanford, CA 94305-2047. GENDER & SOCIETY, Vol. 18 No. 4, August 2004 494-509 DOI: 10.1177/0891243204265632 2004 Sociologists for Women in Society 1988, 63). More recent data show that white women are now more likely to be employed than Black women and Latinas (Browne 1999; Corcoran 1999; Corcoran, Heflin, and Reyes 1999). Employment declined substantially for Puerto Rican women (Tienda, Donato, and Cordero-Guzman 1992) and Black mothers withlessthan high school education (Corcoran 1999) between the1960s and 1990. Our analysis will show that in recent (2001) national data, African American women and Latinas (whether of Cuban, Mexican, or Puerto Rican descent) were employed at lower rates than non-Hispanic white women, although the gaps between white women and women of color were small for all groups but Mexican women. In results not shown (but available on request), we did a parallel analysis for 1994 data, when ethnic gaps were larger. Welfare reform, combined with the expansion of the Earned Income Tax Credit, pushed and pulled many poor women...
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This note was uploaded on 09/14/2009 for the course SOC 302 taught by Professor Langenkamp during the Fall '08 term at University of Texas at Austin.
- Fall '08