American women are more educated than ever, but in a surprising twist, the workforce participation rate for women has plateaued and even fallen over the past few years, according to Bureau of Labor Statistics data.
As Axios reports, the shift is significant because if more women joined the workforce, that would help promote economic growth and help pay for the Social Security and Medicare needs of the large, retiring baby-boom generation.
The participation rate decline could be a result of generational changes because women are beginning their careers later and older people are retiring earlier in the U.S. than in places like Canada.
Some economists and researchers point to a lack of generous family leave or child care assistance policies as a reason the rate of working women has fallen behind other nations, says Lisa Barrow, a senior economist at the Federal Reserve in Chicago.
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