A Flexibility Gap, Plus Some Others

Counterintuitive datum of the week: A new report from the Bureau of Labor Statistics says that women with children under age 18 are a bit less likely to have a flexible work schedule than women who don’t have kids under 18 (25.8 percent vs. 27.1 percent). And women are a bit less likely than men—26.7 percent vs. 28.1 percent—to have a flexible schedule. (This section of the report analyzed 2004 data for full-time wage and salary workers.) The report also provides a hint of how the influx of well-educated women into the labor force—and, increasingly, into high-paying jobs—has contributed to the overall growth in income inequality in this country. One telling detail: “In 2005, female college graduates age 25 and over earned about 79 percent more than women with only a high school diploma.” As recently as 1979, the gap was a more modest 43 percent. In married-couple households, there’s also been a rise in the proportion of income accounted for by the wife’s earnings—to 35 percent as of 2004. Twenty-five percent of all working wives earned more than their working husbands in that year. Finally, there remain wide variations in the degree to which women have made their presence felt in different sorts of jobs. The chart here, using 2005 data, gives a taste of this.