Over the past 70 years, women’s participation in labor force activities has greatly expanded. Immediately following World War II, less than one-third of women were in the labor force. However, women soon began to participate in greater numbers, and their labor force participation rose rapidly from the 1960s through the 1980s before slowing in the 1990s.
Women reached the peak of their labor force participation in 1999, with a rate of 60.0 percent. Since then, labor force participation among women has declined, to 57.0 percent in 2014, which is still relatively high by historical standards.
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