Claudia Goldin recently claimed the Sveriges Riksbas Nobel Prize in Economic Sciences for her work on the gender pay gap. Her decades of study have advanced our understanding of the way that women experience the labor force. She combines economics with history to paint a full picture of the feminine experience in America, highlighting how our roles outside of work greatly affect our presence in the traditional labor force.
Consider how women’s labor wasn’t federally recognized until 1920, during World War I. At this time, fewer men were available to continue the growing industrial labor on the homefront. Naturally, women stepped to the plate with their sleeves rolled up, ready to learn and master these new skills.
Despite taking on this newer work, women’s families and communities continue needing them, creating a unique juggling act for most women. By understanding the complexity of women’s role in economics, we can see the absolute demand for more equitable and honorable compensation.
As an author, researcher, Harvard professor, and labor economist, much of Professor Goldin’s focus has stayed on women's role in the country's economic development. Professor Goldin’s expertise makes her a pillar of change in a new socioeconomic structure.
Goldin’s work encourages us to honor women as the cornerstone of all labor across the globe. The amount of care and energy that goes into supporting households, loved ones, and our dreams (successfully, at that) reveals that women’s labor is essential to human development.
Treating women as a lesser social pawn when we are, at most, empowered co-creators has been a great disservice to our global community. Goldin’s economic chronology invites us all to truly consider and honor the immensity of women’s labor. By contemplating and respecting the complexities of all people, we invite ourselves to a much richer human experience.
For further reading and research by Goldin, read Career and Family: Women’s Century-Long Journey toward Equity.