The revolution in women’s education and work since the 1960s

Wednesday, February 19th, 2020

Charles Murray explores the revolution in women’s education and work since the 1960s (in Human Diversity: The Biology of Gender, Race, and Class):

In 1960, a few years before second-wave feminism took off in the United States, only 41 percent of women ages 25–54 were in the labor force. In 2018, that figure stood at 75 percent.

From 1960 to 2018, women went from 1 percent of civil engineers to 17 percent; from 5 percent of attorneys to 35 percent; from 8 percent of physicians to 42 percent.

Not a single woman was the CEO of a Fortune 500 company in 1960, nor would there be any until 1972.34 In 2018, 25 women were Fortune 500 CEOs, among them the chief executives of General Motors, IBM, PepsiCo, Lockheed Martin, Oracle, and General Dynamics.

In 1960, there was one woman in the U.S. Senate. After the 2018 election, there were 25. In the 1960 House of Representatives, there were 19 women. After the 2018 election, there were 102.


By 2016, 1,082,669 women got bachelor’s degrees compared to 812,669 men—a 33 percent difference.


In 1960, 20 men got a professional degree for every woman who did. By 1970, the ratio was less than 10 to 1. By 1980, it was less than 3 to 1. In 2005, women caught up with men. Since then, more women have gotten more professional degrees than men in every year. As of 2016, 93,778 women got a professional degree compared to 84,089 men.


  1. Dave says:

    And yet these degree-holding women need ever greater quantities of anti-depressants washed down with ever greater quantities of wine to get through another day. Millions of middle-aged white women are drinking themselves to death, and it’s all men’s fault for being so uneducated and lacking the courage to date these bitter old hags.

    Nineteenth-century feminists had the right idea: All jobs except secretary, nurse, and grade school teacher reserved for men, with the high-paying, high-responsibility jobs reserved for married men, so as to maximize the number of men able to free a woman from the need to work.

  2. Kirk says:

    So, the only roles fit for women are essential parasitical? Is that what you’re trying to say, Dave?

    I’m not sure I buy into any of that. The distortions that have crept into the record of what the average woman was doing “back in the old dayes” when they were supposedly mere chattel is immense. Yes, there were some abuses, but the fact is that what created the bounds had rather more to do with demographic fact driven by cruel biology. We still haven’t digested or dealt with the implications of the vast shift that came in with Semmelweis, and I think his impact is going to reverberating down the next many generations.

    I don’t view this “battle between the sexes” as some zero-sum game we’re playing with each other. The reality I see is that we have multiple sets of people who’ve fundamentally failed to adapt to changed conditions, and through that failure, have warped society out of recognition. There hasn’t been any slow adaptation going on with this–Instead, the machine has gone all out of round, and is in the process of beating itself to death. You look at the nations whose fertility rates have fallen, and you can see it very, very clearly–Somehow, nations that were formerly fertile, like Japan, are now teetering on the edge of demographic disaster, mostly due to the kids not forming families and having their own kids. This is a state of affairs that can not go on, and will not.

    And, I will contend that it stems from a failure to adapt to new social conditions. Women live longer, their lives are less circumscribed by the daily drudgery of homemaking, and they need something productive to do with their time besides sit around and obsess about their “role in society”.

    Like, oh, say… Honest fucking work, for a change. Women have enabled the rise of the administrative state, and their meddlesome rules-bound personalities and proclivities have made them working in that state such a delight to them, and a drag on productivity. They need to find actual productive and useful work for society, rather than serving as parasitical drags on it, doing “good works” for the social dregs that should have been allowed to eliminate themselves via some lethal pastime or another. Without women in the working world and voting, most of the homeless would have long since killed themselves off through misadventure or stupidity, but the false compassion of the average woman just keeps pumping more money from the public fisc into their pockets, enabling and fueling their fundamental parasitism.

    No, don’t lock the bitches back up in purdah. Throw them out of their phoney-baloney make-work public works jobs, and make them do something productive, for a change.

    The root problem for all this is that we patted the little darlings on the head, and let them play with the boys when they demanded it, but we did not make them play by the same rules, or to the same standards. I’m fine with women doing men’s work–All I can say is, it’s about Goddamn time. What I object to is the fact that they’re not working on a level playing field, haven’t ever been, and continue to insist on changing ever more rules to make life easier and easier for their parasitic ways to succeed. You can, and probably should be, analyze women’s activities in the working world of men as being entirely of a piece with that of the Cuckoo, when it plants its eggs in another bird’s nest. Parasitism, pure and simple. And, they’re killing the host with the constant bullshit they demand, even though they’re really not going to ever be equal. Every male-dominated job they’ve moved into, they never seem to wind up actually doing them–Instead, they use their physical inadequacies to leverage their way into sub-fields of those jobs that they can use to dominate, never doing time at the actual coal-face.

    I’m not a misogynist, by any means, but I do believe in calling “bullshit” on people when it’s appropriate. And, with most women, it’s more than appropriate, it’s damn near demanded by the circumstances they’ve created.

  3. Graham says:

    A tangent lightly inspired by Dave’s comment:

    Ever watch sitcom The Big Bang Theory? The four main male characters had curious relationships with the idea of romantic relationships, even apart from being stereotypes of four kinds of “nerd”.

    Two of them, Howard and Raj, are particularly interesting.

    Howard was an aspiring and completely failing pick up artist in the early seasons, but had an undertone of deep romantic loneliness.

    Raj had for some time a psychological problem in which he could not talk to women, any women, in any context or with any end in mind, and later drove them away with truly sitcom-exaggerated neediness and paranoia. Eventually he had multiple emotional breakdowns and identified romantic loneliness as the main cause.

    Now discount for what I think Kirk in another context described as the heightened drama inherent in the TV format, which distorts viewer expectations.

    Even dialed back, how many men in our society actually find themselves in such an emotional state over such things? Is anything like the Raj Scenario actually possible? The closest I can think of is the Incel, who at least has the justification of being a silly adolescent who has been brought up wildly wrong and given no guidance.

    Or, to shorten all that, has any middle aged man ever whined to himself, let alone in print, the way the Maureen Dowds of the world do?

  4. Dave says:

    Indian men are hopeless at dating because their families have always arranged marriages for them. Might be worth considering, because if nerds go extinct, everyone else has to go back to pencil and paper when their computers mysteriously stop working.

    A woman who marries a man of her own race and social class, bears him at least four children, and raises them without complaint, is performing productive labor.

  5. Graham says:

    Well, nerds defined as bookish, intellectual men always had some kind of chance to find their place in the world, even if a class system meant they had to take up a trade and just be really good at it and learn to read on the side. And be leaders of their village or churchmen or scribes instead of getting a nobleman’s place at Court. Many of them managed to get wives, if not forbidden by some vow.

    The Big Bang characters all idolized Richard Feynman, who managed to easily flit across the line of personality types, and while not every NASA engineer or mid-century physicist was liable to be a ladies’ man, plenty seemed to do OK.

    The type of nerd we’re now supposed to idolize seemed to spring full formed from the 1980s, in such classic works of Gen-X targeted cinema as “Revenge of the Nerds”, in which said nerds are actually a ragtag band of deviants and neurotics with fairly extreme personality disorders, though ostensibly still intelligent and technologically inclined in a couple of cases which we see marginally demonstrated.

    The characters of Raj and Howard on Big Bang are far less annoying and disruptive, but they’re in that tradition. This idea of the “nerd” has almost become like a modern-day commedia dell’arte stock character.

    The idea one might be intellectual and not have a deformed, socially dysfunctional emotional toolkit, or at least not too bad of one, seems incomprehensible to many now and to pop culture despite the fact that such real men still exist everywhere all the time.

    The idea of mens sana in corpore sano must seem as alien as the philosophy of a bunch of Martians.

    I’m still trying to work on mens sana for my part, corpore sano is more difficult when you start late.

  6. Motherhood and wifery are the farthest things from parasitism as you can get, and the idea that you somehow need to be economically productive to be useful to society, is, I think, a bad one. How can raising and teaching the next generation be parasitism? Do you select your wife for the size of her paycheck? Probably not. There are societal values other than productivity, like charity, honor, cohesiveness, love, or faith. As the 21st century rolls on and automation and efficiency grow ever higher, we might have to start rethinking what should make a good citizen, or person, besides what he or she contributes to the GDP.

  7. 'umble 'arrier says:

    “Indian men are hopeless at dating because their families have always arranged marriages for them. Might be worth considering, because for nerds go extinct, everyone else has to go back to pencil and paper when their computers mysteriously stop working.”

    If Indians go extinct, computers are likely to begin working significantly better.

  8. Dave says:

    The Sexual Revolution made life far worse for men with sub-par social skills. In the old days, women needed husbands, and were willing to tolerate a socially awkward man if he could earn a decent living.

    When they reach puberty, I must teach my nerdy sons to avoid all unnecessary interaction with women in first-world countries because one accusation can destroy a man’s life. Not sure how to prepare them for the deluge of female attention they’ll receive in second- and third-world countries.

  9. Kornja says:

    Dave, it sounds like you’d be better off helping them learn those social skills that they’ll need no matter what, and understand why its important. Female attention doesn’t deluge upon passive men in any circumstance.

  10. Kirk says:

    The issue here is that we’re living in the liminal space between what was, and what will be.

    The essential bargain between men and women used to be one thing, based on the biological imperatives. The conditions those were negotiated under no longer obtain, and the spoiled little girls are going to find out the hard way that “male privilege” is mostly the privilege to suffer. Also, that as they move in on male “prerogatives”, they’re going to find that they’re mostly imaginary.

    Precisely none of the crap they bitch about is due to some male “patriarchal conspiracy”, any more than what women used to get in the deal was due to a matriarchal one. All it came down to was a set of social values and mores, mechanisms, that were in place to deal with the conditions then obtaining. Those conditions don’t obtain, therefore there must be a shift in all that ancient bargain between the sexes.

    I’m not sure that the girls are going to like it, when they have to grow up and be women beside the men. The little boys won’t care for it at all, either.

    The end state of where this shift is taking us, I believe, is going to be a true egalitarian state of affairs, where neither men nor women have any sort of “advantage” over one another in any aspect of life. The ladies and the lads ain’t gonna like that, at all. The rest of us, I suspect, are going to have a ring-side seat to the accompanying angst and anger over it all–I really, really look forward to it all, when the miserable bitches of the world have to sign up for the draft, and get to do their share at the coal face. All I can say is, it’s about Goddamn time they got their share of the shitty end of the stick.

    Ever read the story “The White Feather”? I read that once, and the whole thing just filled me with rage; what right does some flippant little twat have, to shame anyone, anyone at all, into going off to war? She has no risk; she has no moral right to so much as say a word to any man on the issue.

    And, yet… That feminine mentality still holds sway to this day. They won’t pay the price, but they think they can call the piper’s tune.

    F**k them. F**k them all. The time is coming when they’re going to have to pay to dance, and I think it’s long, long overdue.

  11. Dave says:

    Among the rules my sons need to learn: Don’t shit where you eat, and don’t date or flirt with women in a place that has any connection to your present or future livelihood (e.g. STEM college). Men with much better “social skills” than I have been destroyed by vengeful women.

  12. Kirk says:

    “Motherhood and wifery are the farthest things from parasitism as you can get…”

    Bullshit. They’re the essence of it, especially when the “mother and wife” is f**king some other, prettier man she has chosen, and the man who pays for her upkeep and raising her kids is not the father of them.

    Women are parasites, by role and inclination. You can’t do a damn thing to guarantee fidelity, and most of them lie their asses off about who the father was, if they feel the need. If you doubt me, go spend some time in Family Court in your locale–The number of cases where women pull off stunning frauds and betrayals of their husbands are legion.

    Granted, there are males that do similar things, but the difference is that the males have nowhere near the ability to pull off such frauds–Women know who the fathers are, in most cases.

    I really love listening to people go on and on and on about their family history, and the genealogy of it all. Reality? All you really know is what the records say, and without doing a trip back to check the actual genetics, you have no way in hell of knowing who your actual ancestors are. The records are sweet-smelling lies told to keep things peaceful.

    It’s like the family I knew, growing up–Six different kids, all of whom looked nothing alike. Dad was profoundly trusting and stupid, and none of those kids were his. The poor bastard thought they were, but the truth came out a few years back, after he was dead. Someone needed a kidney transplant, and when the testing got done, none of those six kids were close enough kin to be able to donate. Mom had some ‘splainin to do, and they weren’t too pleased with her. She was a slut–The kids were fathered by most of her husbands friends, and a couple of passing strangers.

    So, yeah… Some women aren’t parasites. A not inconsiderable number are consummate parasites, however, leaching off the resources, labor, and energies of their husbands/lovers, and never returning honest value for effort. How’d you like to find out that you’d raised and paid for kids from six different men, and none of your own? Think that’d sting, just a little?

  13. Graham says:

    Well, that went a different way than I thought it would.

    I was all set to ask WTH- how can producing and raising the next gen be considered parasitism, unless one has a really reductionist, libertarian, cash-economy view of things?

    Then I read a little farther.

    Yeah, that kind of woman is a world-class parasite as far as her husband is concerned. Not so much for the other men for whom she has performed a huge free service of transmitting their DNA forward at no cost, to them she’s actually a public service. Practically a charity.

    But to her husband, big time. And to the state and society in those cases where living at public expense.

    Razib Khan has lately posted some studies that suggest according to DNA that non-paternity events vary from culture to culture, and across time, but are not and may not have been all that common in either Western societies or Middle Eastern ones.

    I read that and I am willing to believe it, but it clearly does happen.

    Then I though about it some more and came to three conclusions-

    1. I bet it is starting to happen a lot less now and will keep happening less. The advent of cheaper and easier and multiple times repeatable paternity testing really changes the dynamic for those men with the smarts to question it when there is any grounds and the guts to have the test done.

    2. I’ll bet that’s why there’s ever more pressure to downgrade the idea of naturally sired offspring and men’s desire to father their own children.

    3. I’ll bet it’s not that common in Middle Eastern societies. If it were, there’d be hell to pay for all sorts of people involved in the events.

    On that #2, I seem to have lived through a period when all sorts of conceptual changes have come about in this area-

    From the 1970s at least, removal of the stigma around adoption. This is pretty good. I am amazed at how much secrecy, shame, and paranoia surrounded this timeless and laudable, civic minded act until recently, albeit only for a time. It’s not as though it hadn’t always been a reality in every society. I genuinely don’t know what that was all about. i can’t think of any horrible repressive Christian notions that would cause it. Some sort of Progressive trope? Like temperance or eugenics?

    About the only thing I would have objected to in the realm of adoption is the closed one. I would have considered myself entitled to know my true origins, at least at 18-21 or so. Fortunately, this practice seems to have also declined. Though the increased societal unhappiness with people who think their natural parentage matters a lot might see it come back.

    End of the stigma around illegitimacy. Yeah, OK, there’s no need to get all spazzed about that sort of thing, let alone make anyone’s life difficult over it, and certainly, again, earlier eras of Western history were not as oppressive on it as the early industrial era. Still, I’m less cheered by this one. Seems like a concession to bad behaviour, at least at the margins. Maybe stigmatizing the parents.

    But somehow, we have just about reached the point at which a man confronted with an NPE [non-paternity event] and a wife that wants to stay married to him, is just about morally and socially obligated to stay with her because [Reasons? Feminism? Sexual Freedom?]. I have seen it written and heard it argued that this is the honourable act and a desire to stand on traditional honour by expecting to raise only his own children or, at least, kids freely adopted by him, is selfish. Not quite beyond the pale yet, but I for one see it coming.

    I would not want to deny any man the right to stay with his wife and work it out, even if I myself cringe at the idea of forgiving a betrayal that went so far as to produce a child not mine.

    I’m even prepared to respect that as a form of courage, though I have some trouble with that. Taking an insult and not complaing can be an act of courage, or not.

    But we’re not long short of the time when any other choice will be socially disrespected and my aforementioned cringe condemned. What kind of a selfish coward would abandon his wife and a child just because she betrayed him and it isn’t his? Horrors. Or words to that effect.

  14. Kirk says:

    The reason I class most women as parasites is the general attitude that “most” have towards all this. You tell your average chick that “Hey, Mary’s boinking Ted, and the kid isn’t Don’s…”? They’ll immediately close ranks, and Don ain’t never going to know from their lips. They’ll stab each other in the back, intramurally, but unless one of them has set her cap for Don, and wants him, precisely none of them are going to let him know that kid ain’t his.

    Doubt me on this? Ask ten women how they feel about mandatory paternity tests in the maternity ward, and then ask them to justify their positions. You might, maybe, get one that sees it as reasonable that the male involved might deserve some truth in this regard, but the vast majority are going to stick their pointy little noses in the air and say something to the effect of “We have to think of children…”. Yeah, never mind the poor bastard whose cuckoldry you want to cover up, let’s think of those kids he’s gonna be forced to support for the next ten years.

    Ever notice how you can’t sue some bitch for pulling that on you, and recover for it? Nope; all that money and time is gone, irrecoverable for the male involved. In most cases, you can’t even sever responsibility for the kid, if your name was on the marriage license or the birth certificate.

    And, if you were to ever suggest that the change in DNA science means that we can now know for sure who Daddy was? LOL… Get serious. Every woman in the land will deny, deny, deny. You’d have about as much chance of getting laws through on that count as you would of reaching orbit by tucking your head in between your legs and farting hard.

    Face it–As a sex, they’re parasites. If they weren’t, they’d look at things as they are and say “This is unfair to men, and we need to change this…”. Precisely zero women are fighting to change the Selective Service laws, and zero are fighting to make paternity fraud a criminal act.

    Parasites, the lot of them. That’s the mentality they have, and until that changes, they should not be granted equal civil rights.

    This is just one of the things I’m talking about when I say that the necessary social adaptations haven’t come in. My guess is that if the trends continue, the advent and widespread uptake of sexbots and artificial wombs are going to lead to women being forced into making things equal, simply by virtue of the fact that they’ve really got nothing to offer, and men are going to be tired of being exploited. Ain’t no piece of ass worth that sort of grief.

  15. Graham says:


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