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For much of the last quarter of the twentieth century, women gradually reduced gender inequalities on many fronts. Women continued to enter the formal labor force in growing numbers, and they found previously male dominated occupations opening up to women's entry. The income they received for this work was gradually but steadily closing the gap with men's pay. Women increased their representation at all levels of political office. And enveloping these structural changes was a growing egalitarian opinion climate eroding traditional gender roles that excluded women from more public work and community positions.

All this changed in the early to mid-1990s. Within a few years, each of these egalitarian trends slowed to a halt. The flattening of the gender trend lines cuts across almost all segments of society: working-class and middle-class; black, white, Asian, and Hispanic; mothers with young children and mothers with older children only, women in mid-country "red" states and women in coastal "blue" states - all groups experienced major gender setbacks during the 1990s. The breadth of this reversal suggests something fundamental has happened to the U.S. gender structure.

The trends shown in these web pages are part of a larger project to understand exactly what has happened and to ask why this reversal occurred when it did. They extend a census monograph we recently completed for the Russell Sage Foundation and the Population Reference Bureau.

The 1990s turnaround is a puzzle since it is not immediately obvious how the 1990s were so much more conservative than, say, the 1980s. We have been compiling data on as many aspects of gender inequality as we can find and encourage readers to suggest other sources. Currently we have data (see the index) on:

We welcome your input.
return to: The Stalled Gender Revolution home page list of figures

Last updated November 1, 2007