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Working girls

For the first time in history, women in developed societies can take up any occupation or career they please. This has brought enormous benefits. But it has also had some less positive consequences—the death of sisterhood, a decline in female altruism and growing disincentives to bear children

By Alison Wolf   April 2006

Click here to read a reply to this article by Pat Thane, and click here to read Alison Wolf’s reply to her critics

In 1945 the British public sector abandoned the marriage bar, which had required female teachers and civil servants to stay single or resign in favour of male breadwinners. In the 60 years since, women’s lives have been transformed, and, with them, family and community.

You might not think it—given the media focus on pay gaps and glass ceilings, and the Women and Work commission’s recent finding that women in full-time work earn on average 17 per cent…

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