Sun, Feb 19, 2017 - Page 7 News List

Fulfilled by work, many older women are retiring later

By Claire Cain Miller  /  NY Times News Service

The dip is happening later than it once did because people are having babies later, and because the most recent generations of mothers tend to keep working after their first child is born. The proportion of mothers who quit after their first birth decreased to 19 percent in the early 2000s, from 28 percent in the 1980s, the new research found.

“They try as hard as they can; they don’t leave after the first kid or when they’re infants or toddlers,” Goldin said. “They leave later on.”

There are several reasons for that decrease in participation, economists have found: the long hours expected in the US workplace; inflexibility on where and when work gets done; elder care responsibilities; and the lack of paid parental leave, part-time work and affordable, high-quality child care.

It is too early to know, but the evidence indicates that even these women are likely to go back to work and to work longer, particularly if they have degrees, Goldin said.

Helen Young Hayes managed US$50 billion in investments at a mutual fund in Denver while raising five children.

She missed spending more time with them — she watched videos of them after they went to bed — and five children were a lot of work. So, at 41, she stopped working.

A decade later, she returned to the workforce, starting a corporation to match low-income people with careers. The idea grew out of volunteer work she had done during her time away.

“I just have too much energy and too much intensity to not be engaged,” Young Hayes, 54, said.

Working for 20 years before she left made re-entry easier, she said.

“It gave me the confidence to realize there were no limits to my career,” she said.

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