Production, Reproduction, and Education: Women, Children, and Work in a British Perspective
This article reviews findings of studies by the author and colleagues on relationships between women's work and the reproduction of the British population based on data for female birth cohorts 1922-70. The studies address three questions: (1) How do children affect women's paid work and lifetime earnings? (2) How does women's employment affect the quantity of children born? (3) How does women's employment affect the "quality" of children? The answers are affected by the woman's educational attainment. On question 1, childrearing may often halve lifetime earnings, but seldom for the well educated. By contrast, any effects from employment to childbearing are most apparent in the late motherhood of the well educated. Child quality, as assessed by indicators of child development, benefits from maternal education and suffers little from maternal employment. The economic advantages for children in dual-career families are thus unabated. A widening gulf between mothers will tend to polarize the life chances of their children, unless there are more options to combine employment and childrearing, especially including good-quality child care for those who cannot afford the market price. Education is a powerful influence, but does not alone solve all issues of equity, whether between families or between sexes. Copyright 2002 by The Population Council, Inc..
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Volume (Year): 28 (2002)
Issue (Month): 3 ()
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