Women's worklife as a percentage of men's worklife
SOURCES: Fullerton, H.N., and Byrne, J.J. 1970. Length of working life for men and women. Monthly Labor Review, 1976 (99):31–35 (Table 1) Smith, S.J. 1985. Revised worklife tables reflect 1979–1980 experience. Monthly Labor Review (108):23–30 (Table 3). Parts of this table were first published in Spenner (1988).
ment became a widespread transition and men's labor force participation rates edged downward for ages above 55 (Foner and Schwab, 1983; Hayward and Grady, 1990). Thus, much of the increase in life expectancy for men translated into nonwork or part-time work activity after the ages of 55 or 60. Women's patterns of labor market work and nonwork activity show much more substantial change and convergence toward men's patterns. A typical female born in 1900 could expect just over six years of work in her lifetime in the labor force. Over the course of the century, her work expectancy increased dramatically to about 30 years in the labor force by 1980.
As worklife has been increasing, the length of the work week has declined substantially over much of the 20th century, although highly precise time-series data are not available. The best available estimates suggest that the length of the work week declined from about 62 hours per week in 1880 to about 42 hours a