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A new white paper from researchers at the Universities of Michigan and Virginia proves birth control has positively affected generations of women beyond their biology.In it, they explore how the wages of women on the pill have changed over time, and cite data from the National Longitudinal Survey of Young Women, which interviewed 5,159 women ages 14 to 24. The interviews began in 1968.
The study found the pill was a catalyst to helping women advance their careers:
“As the Pill provided younger women the expectation of greater control over childbearing, women invested more in their human capital and careers. Most affected were women in the middle of the IQ distribution and with some college, who experienced remarkable wage gains over their lifetimes.
To put our results into perspective, the Pill-induced effects on wages amount to roughly one-third of the total wage gains for women in their forties born from the mid-1940s to early 1950s.”
The researchers also added that 10 per cent of the closing gender gap in the 1980s and 31 per cent during the 1990s can be attributed to access to the pill.
Despite birth control’s influence, the researchers acknowledged they cannot discount other factors that have increased women’s earnings over the years, such as better access to education and anti-discrimination legislation in the workplace.