“‘I’ve always thought that women were reacting to the lack of paid family leave and child care,’ said Heidi Hartmann, president of the Institute for Women’s Policy Research. They found it too much trouble to work, she said, ‘so they were dropping out.’

Even though men dominate the disability rolls, their health problems have a ripple effect on the women in their lives. Women tend to be the ones managing their husbands’ care, driving or accompanying them to doctor appointments and therapies that eat into a day.

Women’s lower wages and family responsibilities have always batted them in and out of jobs — and in and out of the labor force — with much more frequency than men. A sick child or a family emergency can quickly push someone out of a job.”

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