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For immediate release: May 23, 2007

Women Making Gains In U.S. Workforce,
According to Dallas Fed Economic Letter

DALLAS—By taking advantage of the opportunities in the U.S. economy, women have made stunning advances in the workplace in recent decades, according to research published in the Federal Reserve Bank of Dallas’ Economic Letter.

In “Women at Work: A Progress Report,” Senior Vice President and Chief Economist W. Michael Cox and senior economics writer Richard Alm find that a greater number of women are graduating from college, choosing higher-paying career fields, starting their own businesses and becoming managers and CEOs.

Although U.S. working women still lag men in terms of job parity, Cox and Alm point out that women are making educational and career choices that lead to more lucrative jobs.

Women’s share of bachelor’s degrees rose from 24 percent in 1950 to 57.5 percent in 2004. Additionally, women are filling the ranks of higher-paying occupations in greater numbers: More accountants, lawyers and dentists and fewer secretaries, cashiers and receptionists.

“Women’s choices have been a good fit for the U.S. job market,” Cox and Alm write. “They’ve prepared themselves for employment in the growing services sector, with its emphasis on mental rather than physical skills.” They note that more than 92 percent of jobs held by women are in the service sector, compared with 75 percent for men.

Women have also become more entrepreneurial, owning a half interest or better in nearly 40 percent of U.S. businesses. Further gains also are found in the corporate world, where women’s share of management jobs rose from 17.6 percent in 1972 to 37.2 in 2005. Almost a fourth of U.S. chief executives are women.

Women are expected to continue making further progress in the U.S. workforce, Cox and Alm assert; however, gains are likely to come at a slower pace.

The May 2007 issue of Economic Letter can be found at


Media contact:
James Hoard
Phone: (214) 922-5307