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Census says women equal to men in advanced degrees

Associated Press | 4/27/2010, 8:12 p.m.

The findings are the latest to highlight a shift of traditional roles of the sexes, caused partly by massive job losses in the Great Recession. The effects have included a growing number of working moms who are the sole breadwinners in their families, declining births and small increases in stay-at-home dads.

Other census findings:

— The share of women who hold an advanced degree has doubled to 10.1 percent from 5 percent in 1980. In 1960, the share was 1.7 percent.

— Eighty-seven percent of adults have a high school diploma or more. A higher proportion of women (87 percent) than men (86 percent) have at least a high school education, a reversal that first appeared in 2000.

— Broken down by race, more than half, or 53 percent, of Asians have a bachelor’s degree or higher. That’s compared with 33 percent for non-Hispanic whites, 19 percent for blacks and 13 percent for Hispanics.

The shifts come as Congress considers legislation that would make it easier for women to file wage-discrimination lawsuits and empower the government to collect payroll data from private corporations. The bill passed the House last year, but has stalled in the Senate.

Jane Henrici, a study director at the Institute for Women’s Policy Research, said continued efforts are needed to ensure that women can compete for jobs on an equal footing, focusing on issues such as flexible work policies involving sick days and on-site child care, as well as training for future green jobs.

“One of the things that concerns us is why more women are not going into higher-paying jobs, given their higher levels of education,” she said. “Some of it is choice, but some of it is discouragement.”

Associated Press