Exploring the Characteristics of Self-Employment and Part-Time Work Among Women

Roberta Spalter-Roth, Heidi Hartmann, Ph.D., Lois Shaw

May 1, 1993
  • ID: C323

The quality of jobs created during the 1980s– and whether these were “good” jobs or “bad” jobs– has been the source of a highly charged debate. The quality of jobs is of increasing importance to women as their financial responsibility for themselves and their families has grown, and they have been seeking employment opportunities at increasing rates. Between 1970 and 1990 the labor force participation rates of mothers increased from about 40 percent to 67 percent, so that by 1990, 22 million mothers were in the labor force. Six million of these women workers were single parents. Because of family responsibilities, and for other reasons, such as requiring more education, many women may seek alternative, more flexible employment, both in part-time work and self-employment. As a result, the caliber of part-time jobs, self-employment, and other alternative forms of employment available to women workers in a pressing topic for research.