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Birth Control Access Linked to Higher Wages for Women

A study conducted by the University of Michigan found that access to birth control earlier in life enabled women to earn higher wages later in their careers. According to the study, approximately 33 percent of the increase in women’s wages during the 1990s can be attributed to the changes in laws during the 1960s and 1970s that granted women access to oral contraceptives at an earlier age.

Martha Bailey, one of the authors of the study, stated, “We found that women who had early access to the pill in the 1960s and 1970s earned 8 percent more on average by the 1980s and 1990s than women without early access. 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 with some college, who benefitted from these investments through remarkable wage gains over their lifetimes.”

The study investigated the careers of 4,300 women born between 1943 and 1954 and was published by the National Bureau of Economic Research.

Huffington Post 3/26/12; Kansas City Star 3/26/12

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