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AGE OF MOTHER


AT FIRST BIRTH (Percent distribution of women having their fi rst birth by year and age 1970–2007)


• Perhaps the most remarkable fi nding of the study: In 2008, of all women with less than a high school education, 81 percent had given birth to at least one child. Among women with a college degree, only 28 percent had had a child. College-educated women, including


women lawyers, are not forsaking marriage and childbirth; they are merely delaying them. T e report shows that 85 percent of all women do marry, and 80 percent of all women have children. While those fi gures are lower than several decades ago, they still represent a strong majority of American women. Professional women are plunging into the workforce in their 20s, getting married and having kids in their 30s, and remaining at work after they have children. In 2009, according to the


She got married at 30 to a man who was then 31. According to the study, their ages fall within the national average age of marriage for men and women. Brinkley says her own mother and three


of her aunts all had given birth to a child at age 20. In contrast, when she was 20 and a college student, she “couldn’t imagine” hav- ing a child at that stage in her life. She does plan to have children, probably sometime in the next fi ve years. But she doesn’t see that as the only possible set of life decisions for today’s women.


“ They’re delaying marriage by putting their career fi rst, or fi nding the right man, or fi nishing their education.”—FAITH BRINKLEY


White House report, 75 percent of women worked year-round, compared with only 51 percent in 1968. Faith Brinkley, a law fi rm marketing


specialist who lives in Upper Marlboro, Md., says “I’m not surprised to hear that women are delaying marriage. Some of it is that they’re putting career fi rst, some of it is fi nding the right man, and some of it is a matter of fi nishing their education.” Brinkley, 31, has a B.S. in marketing


as well as a master’s degree in public rela- tions and an M.B.A. in management.


Education Matters T e choice that Brinkley and other women of this century have made—to pursue higher education—is one that pays off . T e earnings of full-time female workers have increased 31 percent since 1979, compared with only a 2 percent rise for male work- ers. T at is not surprising in view of women’s increased levels of education. As the report points out, higher educational attainment is associated with higher incomes, and by 2009, the percentage of women with a college degree had equaled the percentage of men with


a degree, at 28 percent. T e study says that women between ages 25 and 34 are now earning 89 percent as much as men in that age group. T at fi gure was only 69 percent in 1979. But 89 percent is not 100 percent, and


the wage gap persists. Many women still work in traditionally female, lower-paid occupations. In 2009, nearly 20 percent of all women in America were working in one of fi ve occupations: secretaries, registered nurses, nursing aides, elementary school teachers, and cashiers.


40 & older 30-39


20-29 Under 20


Continued from page 32


1990


33 1995


2000


2007


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