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Early Access To The Pill Increases Women’s Wages

Early Access To The Pill Increases Women’s Wages

A new report by the University of Michigan shows that while a gender wage gap sill very much exists, one clear way to narrow that gap is to make access to birth control pills easier to come by.

The study conducted by the University analyzed the careers of 43,000 women and showed that the earlier a woman can start taking birth control pills, the more likely she is to earn higher wages later in life.

The study attributed about one-third of women’s wage gains through the 1990s to changes in laws in the 1960s and 80s that lowered the age at which women could legally access the pill. When some states dropped the legal access age from 21 to 18, the report found contraceptive use among 18-20 year-olds doubled. This allowed more college-aged women to finish school without being interrupted by an unplanned pregnancy.

“We found that women who had early access to the pill in the 1960s and 1970s earned 8 percent more on average by the 1980s and 1990s than women without early access,” said Martha Bailey, a research affiliate at the U-M Institute for Social Research who authored the study. “As the pill provided younger women the expectation of greater control over childbearing, women invested more in their human capital and careers,” said Bailey. “Most affected were women with some college, who benefited from these investments through remarkable wage gains over their lifetimes.”

The study comes at a crucial time when women’s access to affordable contraception like the pill is under attack. Given the clear and document benefits the pill has on a woman’s earning potential, could it be that conservatives’ war on contraception is also motivated in part by a desire to keep women as economic dependents?

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Photo from 401K via flickr.

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9:38PM PST on Nov 17, 2012

Contraception should be free, especially if the govt and businesses are serious about equality. Women who do not wish to get pregnant can then concentrate on their lives and careers, without worry that they might get pregnant because they cannot afford contraception. Not to mention all the other health problems that make taking the pill necessary.

3:58PM PDT on Apr 17, 2012


9:48AM PDT on Mar 29, 2012

Now we KNOW why the religious right wants to make birth control harder to access..... because having contraceptive choices IMPROVES a woman's position in life. Heaven forbid!!!

12:59AM PDT on Mar 29, 2012

If more women don't realize that their rights are speedily being taken away by the narrow minded politicians and don't act by voting them out of office, there will come a day when they will ask themselves, what happened to my rights?? By that time it will be too late. The future of women who have to put up with all this bull of contraception, abortion and many others is leading them down the path to second class citizenship. Women have so much power but they don't realize it. If women went on strike in the kitchen and the bedroom I believe things would change quickly and for the better.

9:09AM PDT on Mar 28, 2012

"women’s access to affordable contraception like the pill is under attack".....

How so Jessica Pieklo? Has the pill been banned? Or are you just talking about the "free" stuff again?

Which of course - is not "free". Someone, somewhere, pays for it!

And if taking the pill increases women's wages - DUH! Then they can afford the pill, right?

Your left wing liberal logic just astounds me!

7:06AM PDT on Mar 28, 2012

what an insult to women every where! We only want you if we can make you more like a man and deny your ability to be a woman. Would this be the same as castration in a male? Is this also and insult to women's intelligents That money is the only thing women think about? And that she is incapable of being both mother and valuable employee? Wow this just set women back a few hundred years!

5:00AM PDT on Mar 28, 2012

Green star to Miriam W.

12:17PM PDT on Mar 27, 2012

and that my friends is EXACTLY why the rupugnicans are attacking contraception. Not because of "life", not because of the Bible, not because of expense nor ethics but because for thousands of years womens have been the ni88ers of the world (thank you so much John Lennon) and they want to keep a steady slave population.

10:26AM PDT on Mar 27, 2012

Makes sense. Thanks for posting.

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