Graduation Year


Document Type

Open Access Senior Thesis

Degree Name

Bachelor of Arts



Second Department

Legal Studies

Reader 1

Roberto Pedace

Reader 2

Jean Schroedel

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Rights Information

© 2015 Winnie You


Since the 1970s, major changes in reproductive freedom, education, and the passage of equal employment laws have impacted women’s experience in the workplace. My thesis is a US-based study that examines the progress of women’s equal employment opportunities from the 1970s to today. Chapter 1 provides the context of discrimination in the 1970s. Chapter 2 provides detailed literature reviews on reproductive freedom and education separately. Section 2.1 shows the relationship between reproductive freedom and increased labor force participation. Section 2.2 finds that higher levels of education encourage women to seek employment in traditionally male-dominant positions. Section 2.3 adds alternative explanations to women’s increased labor force participation rate, such as the aftermath of WWII and changing social attitudes. Chapter 3 gives an overview of women in management in the United States. Section 3.1 examines the history of equal employment laws and how they are subsequently enforced. Chapter 3.2 explains why women in the United States today are still victims of the glass ceiling. Chapter 3.3 compares the status of women in higher management as well as policy trends (maternity leave, childcare subsidization) between the United States and other countries. Chapter 3 draws models from other countries and shows how female management in developed Asian countries successfully included women in top management over time. Chapter 4 is the conclusion of my thesis. Section 4.1 concludes that the United States has a long way to go to achieve truly equal employment opportunities. Section 4.2 provides suggestions and directions for future research.