Does a slight dip in the percentage of women in the workplace really represent the death of feminism? Britain’s The Times chose to cast it that way. For the first since the end of World War II, the percentage of young British women holding jobs has declined slightly, according to data from the Centre for Economic Performance (CEP)at the London School of Economics. About 70% of women born between 1985 and 1994 are in the workforce by age 23 or 24, slightly lower than for previous generations.

“Younger women are rejecting the march towards equality in the workplace of their mothers,” begins a news article (not a commentary) in The Times, owned by Rupert Murdoch’s News International. “Women’s employment rose sharply from the 1970s to the 1990s, but the latest data suggests that this trend has stalled among Generation Y, who identify less with the ‘feminism’ of older women.”

Explained CEP’s Alan Manning, who conducted the research, “The main message is that the youngest generations of women are not working any more than slightly older women, so female labor progress has stalled.”

The percentage of women with children who hold jobs slipped from 30% to 29%. London’s Daily Mail does at least suggest that this slight decline might be the result of the global economic downturn. However, a subhead on its article proclaims, “Decline in feminism also thought to be behind fall in working women,” but offers nothing in the article to support that claim.

Read the Daily Mail story here (The Times’ full article requires subscription). What do you think of the research and the way these newspapers report on the data? Share your opinions with

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