Tuesday, April 23, 2013

Can women develop a career and invest money?

Can women develop a career and invest money? Women in USA see greater opportunities for career advancement and investing here than elsewhere, but they are hampered by the unrelenting pressure to balance work and family responsibilities.

The portrait of harried but generally optimistic women emerges from a survey of more than 800 local Silicon Valley women done by two valley groups to examine women's role in the US economy. The findings suggest that the workplace is still adjusting to the increasing number of women who have entered the job market in the past generation. ''Over the last 30 to 40 years we've had a revolution in women's labor force participation,'' said Myra Strober, a labor economist and professor of education at Stanford. ''Women have been drawn into the workplace, increasingly in better jobs. We haven't figured out how to help our families raise their children.''

The study, done by Collaborative Economics of Palo Alto and Community Foundation Silicon Valley, is based on a phone survey of 826 randomly selected local women ages 21 to 61. It found:

    Almost three-quarters (73 percent) of the women surveyed are employed, and an additional 13 percent plan to enter the workforce within two years. Among employed women, 80 percent work full time.

    About half of women in Silicon Valley (51 percent) think advancement opportunities for women are better in Silicon Valley than in other areas, and 57 percent believe it is getting easier for women like them to succeed in the workforce here. Women with household incomes of more than $100,000 are more optimistic about these issues than women with household incomes of $50,000 or less.

    Almost 60 percent of women employed full time report working more than 40 hours per week.

    Among college-educated women, family and child-care responsibilities are seen as the most frequent barrier to career advancement and investing, cited by 35 percent; 46 percent of women with a high school education or less see this as a barrier.

Almost half of women in Silicon Valley (49 percent) provide the majority of their household income though they are usually careful in investing these money.

The study, ''Unfinished Business: Women in the Silicon Valley Economy,'' was sponsored by more than a dozen local foundations, individuals and corporations, including Knight Ridder, the parent company of the Mercury News.

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