The constitutional rights of women, discrimination against women, occupational segregation, disparities in income of men and women, and legal remedies to provide women with equal opportunities to compete against men have received more attention in the U.S., in elected bodies, on the state and national level, in academic circles, in labor unions, and in the media, than in any other country in the world. Yet at this writing the disappointments remain numerous. The slow pace of change in the workplace in respect to wages, occupational segregation, and equal opportunities counterbalances the rapid progress made in the legal field.
It is true that there have been some important victories, important progress, for women in the legal, educational, business, and economic field, but by and large these victories have been patchy and regional. Four fundamental reasons for women's continued disadvantage and subordination have remained largely undisturbed: continued segregation of jobs in the marketplace; the substantial gap in income between men and women doing the same or similar work; women's dual burden of being mothers and workers; and, lastly, but perhaps most importantly, sexist perceptions, the careless attitude of American males concerning the legitimate aspirations, complaints and requirements of women, particularly working women with children.
The profile of women in the United States, notably married women and women in employment, continues to change. In 1986, for the first time, women outnumbered men in the United States (by some six million), and women born on July 1, 1986, had a life expectancy of 78.3 years, compared to 71.3 for men. 1 Some observers are saying that women may lose this lead since more and more are smoking, predicting that their life expectancy in the next few decades will be about the same as men's. 2 However, the United States Bureau of the Census estimates that by 2050 women will outnumber men in the United States by 12.5 million and projects that, in the same year, 28 percent of older women will be 85 years or older, as against 17 percent for men. 3
Women are pouring into the workplace. In one 12-month period during 1983 and 1984, some 1.8 million more women went to work. By the end of 1987, nearly 68 percent of all women 16 years and older were working. All in all, women comprise 45 percent of the total United States labor force, up from only 29 percent in 1950. Between 1980 and 1985, the number of women working two or more jobs rose by almost 40 percent to 2.2 million and comprised nearly 40