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Indicators of Trends in the Status of American Women

Indicators of Trends in the Status of American Women

Copyright Date: 1971
Published by: Russell Sage Foundation
Pages: 480
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  • Book Info
    Indicators of Trends in the Status of American Women
    Book Description:

    Assembles, collates, and analyzes data bearing on trends in American education. The author presents the basic data on school enrollment, retention, and attainment, indicating changes in the educational characteristics of the population and comparable time-series statistics on teachers and school finances reflecting change within the school system itself. Dr. Ferriss then relates these data to a statement of educational goals set some ten years ago, utilizing the data to provide an assessment of progress toward those goals.

    eISBN: 978-1-61044-204-6
    Subjects: Population Studies, Sociology

Table of Contents

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  1. Front Matter
    (pp. i-iv)
  2. Foreword
    (pp. v-vi)
    Eleanor Bernert Sheldon

    In this volume, fourth in the Foundation’s series on social indicators, Abbott L. Ferriss addresses the question of the changing status of women in the United States. Observing the recent upsurge of activities aimed at women’s “liberation,” Ferriss asks whether changes in the objective status of women might account for the rise of protest movements and related feminist endeavors.

    The time-series data presented, which compare the relative status of men and women, do not provide sufficient evidence for explaining the new feminist activities. Though Dr. Ferriss hastens to point out the normative basis for the selection of many of his...

  3. Acknowledgments
    (pp. vii-viii)
  4. Table of Contents
    (pp. ix-x)
  5. List of Tables
    (pp. xi-xii)
  6. List of Figures
    (pp. xiii-xvi)
  7. Notes to the Series and Data Sources
    (pp. xvii-xx)
  8. 1. Introduction
    (pp. 1-8)

    The status of women has become a topic of national interest, activated by the organizations women have formed and by the protests, confrontations and legal actions that groups of women have taken to alter their status.

    As this flare of action has come somewhat unannounced upon the public, the question should be asked: Has women’s status abruptly become worse? Relative to men’s, is the status of women improving, declining, or standing still? Is the income of women who work improving relative to men’s income? Is she better educated today than formerly? Is she more subject to some of the ills...

  9. 2. Changes in the Female Population
    (pp. 9-20)

    The number of women relative to men in the population is a primary demographic factor, several important vital processes depending upon it. In assessing the trends in the status of women in American society, the magnitude of the population of women, its age distribution, the number of males in relation to females, and the volume of immigration, bear upon the underlying status of women. The number of males per 1,000 females, the sex ratio, affects the incidence of marriages, of births, and deaths. Over the recent history of the United States there have been important changes in the sex ratio,...

  10. 3. Trends in the Educational Status of Women
    (pp. 21-48)

    In an open-class society such as ours, education has become the means of upward social mobility, the achievement of more prestigious occupational positions, higher income, and higher status. Measures of the level of education attained, then, are prime social indicators. An increase in the educational level may be expected to give rise to an increase in occupational status, income, and other desirable qualities.

    To examine the status of women on this important social indicator, measures of attainment of the population of various ages are here reviewed, ages that reflect a particular educational level at the earliest possible point in the...

  11. 4. Indicators of Women’s Marital Status
    (pp. 49-62)

    Whether she is married or single is one of the most pervasive influences in the life of a woman. Symbolized by the ring, the household and by offspring, woman’s status in the institution of marriage and the family is intimately intertwined with her status in other institutions, and it affects the functioning of other institutions. The decision women make to change from single status to that of wife -- family formation -- bears upon the demand for goods and services and upon her labor force participation. Changes in her status as a mother, indexed by the birth rate, have ramifications...

  12. 5. Trends in the Fertility of American Women
    (pp. 63-78)

    Procreation and nurture of the young traditionally have been the great contributions women have made to society. Changes in the fertility rate index certain social psychological assessments couples make of the future, a process as yet not clearly understood. An economic depression, for example, reduces the fertility rate, and so does a war, but after a war the birth rate increases. In addition to mirroring certainty or security respecting the future, fertility signifies that a mother is committing six months to a year in the prenatal and postnatal attention to the child, and often a much longer time than that....

  13. 6. Women Migrants
    (pp. 79-84)

    Geographic movement usually is associated with a change in status -- educational status or employment status or marital status, etc. A change in the rate of migration of females, then, could connote a change in their status. The time series reflecting the migration of the population by sex, however, reveal only a few changes since 1948, when the series was initiated as part of the Census¹ Current Population Survey. In general, migration rates for most age groups have been fairly constant across this twenty-two year period.

    Migration data is tabulated to provide classes roughly approximating the distance moved: within the...

  14. 7. Indicators of Women at Work
    (pp. 85-120)

    During the past twenty years or so, women have markedly increased their participation in the labor force. As this increase has taken place, the rate of participation of males has dropped.

    Employment status and occupation, more than other factors (more than income or education or family background, for example) contribute to the general social status of an individual (Blau & Duncan, 1967). In the labor force, the occupation’s position in the hierarchy, is an important index to the status of the occupant, generally, in society.

    In this chapter participation of women in the labor force is analyzed in relation to...

  15. 8. Unemployment Indicators
    (pp. 121-136)

    The unemployed, according to the official statistical definition, are those who do not have a job and are looking for work. Women are more likely to be looking for work than men, and there are probably, in addition, many women who seek interesting employment from time to time and, not finding it, stop looking. If asked, these women would not be classified by a Census Bureau survey as unemployed. This suggests that larger proportions of women are available for employment than the official statistics portray as unemployed. Even so, these statistics provide the most general and reliable indicators of unemployment....

  16. 9. The Income Status of Women
    (pp. 137-170)

    More than any other measure, the amount of income received by a person or family summarizes much information about status. An increase in income is an opportunity for greater discretion and liberty in conducting one’s affairs, in making choices, in the use of leisure time, and in other refinements of life. These uses of income enhance the quality of life. An increase in income also may be used in other ways -- to increase savings, to improve one’s earning capacity, conceivably, to engage in activities detrimental as well as beneficial to the quality of one’s life. In this analysis of...

  17. 10. Trends in the Social Participation of Women
    (pp. 171-182)

    This chapter attempts to identify trends in women’s participation in organizations devoted to serving various interests of women. It explores changing trends in their union membership, and it looks at the voting behavior of women. While the evidence on these linkages between women and society are not available in a form that makes it possible to draw conclusions about women’s status, a look at the trends may be instructive.

    Participation in voluntary associations serves a number of individual and societal functions. To the individual woman, being a member provides sociable, convivial experiences with others. It gives her an opportunity to...

  18. 11. Recent Changes in the Outdoor Recreation of Women
    (pp. 183-186)

    There is much information collected on indoor and outdoor recreation, sports, vacations, trips, and the like (Ennis, 1968), but most of the information in time series is not available by sex. To illustrate changes in participation in recreational activities of men and women, the data collected in 1960 and 1965 in similar surveys of outdoor recreation will be examined.

    Participation in outdoor recreation is made possible by leisure time being available from work, by being interested in the activity, by having the vitality for it (if vitality is needed) and by the necessary outdoor resources being accessible. If an increase...

  19. 12. Trends in Women’s Health and Illness
    (pp. 187-208)

    Health may be taken to be the absence of illness. Some object to this definition, however, saying health is more than that, “something positive, a joyful attitude toward life, and a cheerful acceptance of the responsibilities that life puts on the individual” H. E. Siegerist, as cited by (Moriyama, 1968: 585)]. In describing trends, we are limited to an operational definition used to produce a time series on the incidence of health or non-health, even though such measures may fail to capture the number of those enraptured with life.

    This chapter considers various indicators of health garnered by the Health...

  20. 13. Changes in the Mortality of Women
    (pp. 209-240)

    Just as statistics on disabilities and illness provide indicators of health, so mortality rates identify the consequences of some of life’s conditions. If these conditions are improving, the mortality rate may decline; if they are worsening, the mortality rate may increase. The linkage is the problem, for the causes of a bodily condition more often than not are multiple rather than single. If stress causes heart disease and if cigarette smoking causes lung cancer, the relation between life’s condition and the mortality rate is clear enough, but life’s final hour can seldom be related to so simple an antecedent.


  21. Appendix A The Current Population Survey
    (pp. 241-246)
  22. Appendix B The Health Interview Survey
    (pp. 247-250)
  23. Appendix C Notes and Sources
    (pp. 251-294)
  24. Appendix D Statistical Series
    (pp. 295-432)
  25. Bibliography
    (pp. 433-451)