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I didn\'t look at any non-economic posts in the thread, but here\'s my economic theory of women in the workplace:
Whether you are a Capitalist or a Marxist you will agree that the capitalist will pay labor exactly the amount it takes to get labor to show up and do the job. This labor cost will be effected by supply and demand principles, as well as by the minimum wage requirements, ie, what needs must be paid for to make it worth a worker\'s while (housing, food, clothing, health).
The employer will pay the rate that the minimum requirements and labor market dictate. The employer will pay no more than these things dictate. Instead, the employer will pocket any extra money as profit.
As individual worker productivity rises (due to better training, division of labor, machines, computers) the employer still pays that minimum rate for labor, and thereby is increasing his profit - The added value the laborer adds to the product does not go to the laborer, but instead trickles up to the employer. As time goes on and technology develops, more and more added value trickles up to the employer.
Through the 1960s it was the social norm for only the man to work. For that reason, the employer, in order to get the male worker to continue showing up, the employer had to pay enough for the worker to be able to afford all the things that were the social norm. Thus, a single worker was paid enough afford a wife and 2-3 kids, a family car, a house in the suburbs, etc.
Once the women\'s lib movement started and consequent flood of women into the workplace had two very bad consequences for labor. First (for the Capitalists), the supply of labor shot up, with no increase in demand, leading to lower relative prices. Second (for the Marxists), the minimum payment for workers was cut in half, because rather than having to support an entire family in one worker\'s wages, the employers now only had to support 1/2 of the family\'s costs for each laborer (because both the mother and the father were working).
Once it was firmly established that women were in the workplace, it became very difficult if not impossible for a single middle class person to support an entire family on his salary, because the market calls for that salary to support only 1/2 of a family.
So I think that for the laboring class as a whole it was a terrible mistake for women to enter the workplace. Now that it\'s happened, the only solution is a worker\'s revolt. It need not be violent, but it does need to be unified, with worker\'s universally only sending one adult per family to the workplace, or each adult in a couple only working half time. That\'s the only way to take back some of that excess value from the employers.
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