Gender Norms: The Impact on the
Labor Force Participation of Highly Educated Women
This paper investigates the impact gender norms on American society by observing the correlation between education rates and work force participation rates, specifically among women. Women’s labor force participation rates have increased tremendously due to laws protecting equality in the workforce, such as Title IX. However, in recent years, this trend has become stagnant for highly educated women (women with a bachelor’s degree or more). The stagnation is even more apparent in highly-educated women who have children. In this paper, I use a dataset from the Bureau of Labor Statistics to analyze the extent of the decrease in highly educated women’s labor force participation. Comparing men’s and women’s labor force participation rates combined with their education rates allows for a clear picture of the trends at hand. Further, in analyzing this data, I consider how gender norms play a role in inhibiting the progress of women’s labor force participation.