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STOPOUTS -- BACK IN FIVE
Working women are increasingly considering the option of dropping out from work for a few years to spend time with their preschool children, reports Business Week magazine ("Mommy Is Really Home From Work", November 25, 2002). This trend is showing up in Census Bureau data. After rising steadily for a quarter of a century, the number of women with children age 1 in the workforce dropped from a record high of 59% in 1998 to 55% in 2000. According to the article, "this stay-at-home inclination stems from watching older women frantically trying to 'have it all,' achieving positions of success by age only to find their fertility had been sacrificed along the way."
While this is a significant trend, certain caveats apply. The new wave of stopping out appears to be concentrated most among the best-educated and highest-achieving women--those in their 30's and 40's who have college degrees and, often, wealthy husbands. These women are most confident that they can drop out for a few years and return to work without jeopardizing their careers. In addition, although current statistics are not available, it's possible the stopout trend may temporarily halted by the recession and resulting layoffs.
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