Claudia Goldin, an esteemed economic historian and Nobel winner for economics in 2023, along with Katz, delved deep into the transformative role of the birth control pill, approved by the US FDA in 1960, on the socio-economic landscape of American women.
Career Trajectory: The introduction of the pill witnessed a surge in women’s career advancements. From just 10% in 1970, women’s representation in first-year law students reached 36% by 1980. This significant shift was attributed to the pill’s effectiveness in preventing unplanned pregnancies.
Shift in Marriage Age: Among those born in 1950, nearly half of the women married before turning 23. In contrast, for the women born in 1957, less than 30% tied the knot by the same age, showcasing the pill’s role in allowing women to delay marriage.
Underlying Causes for these Shifts: The pill bestowed reproductive autonomy on women, allowing them to focus on their careers and delay marriage. Consequently, the marriage market dynamics evolved positively, benefiting even those women not on the pill.
How the Pill Works:
The birth control pill, comprising estrogen and progestin, streamlines menstrual cycles by inhibiting ovulation and impeding the thickening of the uterus lining. Besides its contraceptive role, the pill is therapeutic, treating conditions such as PCOS and endometriosis.
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