Numbers, Facts and Trends Shaping Your World

Did ’We’ Want to Do It?

by Jodie T. Allen, Senior Editor, Pew Research Center Special to U.S. News & World Report

“We Did It!” enthuses the Economist magazine, whose recent cover featured the iconic figure of World War II’s Rosie the Riveter. The cause for celebration, as described in the magazine’s “leader,” (editorial in Americanese) is the ascent of womanhood to a majority position in the U.S. workforce, projected to occur sometime in the next few months. “Women’s economic empowerment is arguably the biggest social change of our times…. Millions of women have been given more control over their own lives. And millions of brains have been put to more productive use,” write the editors.

A national poll conducted last spring by the Pew Research Center finds plenty of support for the female ascendancy: Only a small minority of Americans (19%) now think women should return to their traditional roles in society. But how do most of today’s Rosie Riveters feel about being “put to more productive use?” In a word: ambivalent.

Read the full commentary at


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