Most women who marry and have a family leave the labor force during some part of their lives, and we should be glad they do, even if their lifetime earnings suffer as a result. A policy that expects women to remain in the full-time labor force, pursuing a lifelong career of full-time work, may help to close the supposed “pay gap” between men and women, but it will mean fewer children.
A feminist reporter for Bloomberg Business set out to find where women’s participation in the labor force is lowest and the male-female pay gap is the biggest. She found her answer in Utah, and specifically in the medium-sized cities of Provo and Ogden, about an hour’s drive from Salt Lake City. The reporter was shocked to find that in Utah, only 52.8% of mothers with young children are in the labor force, compared with 95.5% of fathers. That’s “the biggest gap in the nation.” A University of Utah demographer said, “By every major metric, we’re about two generations behind the nation.”
Family-friendly Utah, which has the nation’s highest birth rate, also boasts the highest economic growth rate. The best way to improve the economy is to strengthen the family.
Listen to the radio commentary here: