As birth control pill revolutionized in the economy
Birth control pills not only made a coup in public relations, but also fundamentally changed the labor market, allowing women to make a career about which she couldn’t before and to dream.
The social consequences of the introduction of the pill was very significant. No one is arguing that. Moreover, this was their real purpose.
Founder of the International Association of family planning Margaret Sanger, at the beginning of the last century, exhorted scientists to quickly come up with pills, contraceptives, first of all wanted sexually and socially emancipate women, to put them possibly on a par with men.
However, this tablet made is not only a social and economic revolution, causing, perhaps, the biggest change in the economy of the developed countries in the late XX century.
To understand this, one must first understand what exactly the pill is a contraceptive suggested the woman.
The freedom to decide
First, in contrast to many other available funds, the pill was really effective in preventing pregnancy.
For centuries lovers why not just experimented to prevent conception. In ancient Egypt used crocodile dung, Aristotle proposed cedar oil, and Casanova, as you know, recommended to use a half of lemon.
But even more modern and more widespread alternative to the pill, such as condoms, do not give an absolute guarantee.
Often the reason that people do not use them in strict accordance with the instructions. So out of 100 women, according to statistics of the 100 sex acts with a condom 18 end up pregnant. Have the contraceptive sponge, the probability of failure is about the same, and the vaginal aperture is not much better.
At more or less competent use of tablets is a good chance that they will not work, is only 6%, is three times more reliable than a condom. While strict adherence to the instructions, the probability of failure of the pill is reduced by another 20 times.
To tablets the use of so-called barrier contraceptives was burdensome for partners: condoms often led to disputes and conflicts, diaphragm and contraceptive sponge was just uncomfortable.
But when the pill, a woman could make her own decision on whether to protect her or not. To take pills, you can quietly, and this issue became a personal matter of a woman.
It is not surprising that the women wanted to use them.
Contraceptive pill was first approved in the USA in 1960. Just five years almost half of all married women in the United States used the pill as a means of birth control.
However, the real revolution occurred when access to oral contraceptives received an unmarried woman.
It took time, but by the early 1970s, 10 years after the pill was approved for use, one by one, us States began to allow unmarried women to use it.
Universities began to open centers family planning. By the mid-1970s, the pill was the most popular contraceptive method among 18-19-year-old American women.
When the girls stopped accidentally become pregnant at an early age began a revolution in the economy.
Young American women are not burdened with children, went to study. They began to study law, medicine, dentistry, business administration and other disciplines that were previously considered exclusively male.
In 1970 more than 90% of graduate doctors were men. The proportion of men in law and business administration was 95%, and among dentists this figure was 99%.
However, in the early 70’s armed with the pill women rushed to study a “male” profession. First, in study groups there were 20%, then a quarter, and by 1980, the ninth year is often a third.
As a proportion of the number of female students studying science such as medicine or law, has increased significantly. Accordingly, soon after increased the number of women working in these professions.
But what is the pill? Allowing women to control the process of conception, she gave them the opportunity to make professional career.
Before the advent of birth control tabletkach five years studying to be a doctor or a lawyer does not look useful waste of time and money, because young women are constantly loomed the prospect of getting pregnant.
To benefit from the acquired knowledge, the woman had to have a guaranteed opportunity to postpone having children until at least 30 years.
NewsDifficulties with the first child reduces the chance of having a second
The birth of a child at the wrong time could end the study or interrupt their professional growth.
Sexually active woman trying to become a doctor, dentist or lawyer, without those pills was like a Builder erecting a building in a seismically active zone. One bad push and all the expensive attachments lost.
A moratorium on marriage
Of course, if women wanted to learn and make a career, they could just abstain from sex, but many didn’t want to limit myself.
And it wasn’t just fun, it still was about finding a husband.
Before the advent of the pill, young people married early. A woman who decides to abstain from sex in the interests of a career, can seek husband of 30 years and literally discover that all the eligible men are already taken.
The pill changed all that. Now unmarried women could engage in sexual relations and the risk of unwanted pregnancy has decreased significantly.
This significantly changed the tradition of marriage. Everyone began to marry later, and this applies to those women who did not use pills.
Later began to appear and children, but now women choose when they want to give birth. This meant that women quite have time to build a professional career.
But of course, in 1970-e years in the life of women in America has changed, and much more.
Abortion was made legal, there are laws prohibiting discrimination based on sex, feminism as a movement has gained force, and the call of men to the war in Vietnam made employers to hire more women.
And yet, according to the study conducted by economists from Harvard’s Claudia Goldin and Lawrence Katz, it was the contraceptive pill played a crucial role in allowing women to postpone for a time marriage and motherhood and their professional career.
Goldin and Katz followed, as tablets become available in one state after another, and clearly proved that the emergence of free contraceptives in these States dramatically increased the number of women entering professional training courses, and as a result grow their income.
A few years ago, economist Amalia Miller with the help of different statistical methods showed that if a woman between the ages of 20 and 30 years of postponing childbearing for one year, her income for the entire working experience increased by 10%. This clearly demonstrates the importance of higher education and start a career.
But the young women in the 70-ies did not have to refer to the works of Amalia Miller: they knew that it was true.
Today American women out of curiosity can look to Japan to ensure that it could go differently.
In Japan, one of the most technologically developed countries in the world, the pill was not approved for sale until 1999. The Japanese had to wait for a tablet to 39 years longer than American women.
Curiously, when America was approved by the viagra Japan far behind her for a few months.
Today inequality between men and women in Japan is one of the most obvious in the developed world. For employed women there is still very difficult to achieve recognition.
Here to separate cause from effect is impossible, and yet, the US experience suggests that all this is not accidental.
If you postpone the appearance of the tablets for two generations, the economic implications for women are enormous.
Yes, this tablet may be tiny, but she is still able to change the world economy.
BBC Radio 4, More or Less
Tim Hartford is the author of the column “the Undercover economist” in the Financial Times. The programme “50 Things That Made the Modern Economy” (“50 things that underpin the modern economy”) comes on the waves of the world service Bi-bi-si.