Women are in the Workforce doing all kinds of jobs for all kinds of pay. If you are a woman and you are willing to do non-traditional work such as construction or welding or heavy crane operating, you will make more money than you would if you stuck to babysitting and waiting tables. Which is not to say babysitting can't be well paying. If you get yourself a master's degree and start babysitting at the college age level, or even high school teaching at a public school you are essentially baby sitting for a much higher pay, with benefits may be even a pension plan. Waiting tables, as well, pays better the nicer and more upscale the restaurant. I do not mean to disparage anyone's line of work. I am speaking in generalities only when I bring up the non-traditional jobs.
Non-traditional jobs are enticing because there is often more money for training. In an effort to be less sexist, monies have been promoted for women through federal grants, private scholarships, and sometimes by the industry itself to get the genders balanced. I have a friend in her 80's who spent her working career as a welder. She loved the money. Although she admitted being the only woman in the yard could get lonely. Be prepared to have a spine if you are going to work with the big boys. Don't expect them to be happy about you joining their ranks. I recommend, if you can find one, chumming up to a likely mentor. It's a fine line to walk, don't try to imitate the men, because you are not a man, AND don't get all wussy woman on them either.
For several years I was the only woman who worked at a motorcycle shop. I loved that job. At first the men were skeptical of my ability to hoist the boxes containing the after market exhausts. The truth is most were 7 or 8 pounds. The heaviest were only 25. It was not a job that required a man, so much as a PERSON who could read and type. I was that person! After awhile the men not only accepted me, they liked me. They were protective of me when strangers came into the shop.
Stay at home moms like to point out that they are working women too. That is a true point. Raising children is an important job. Delegating it out to someone paid less than minimum wage is a bad idea. Stay at home moms often do double duty watching a couple kids that belong to other people, selling things on line, or preparing meals, cleaning houses. The truth is, almost all women are in the work force. The true exception would be trophy wives. Even some of them have non profit organizations to run, or charity functions to organize which IS working, in every sense of the word.
Back in the day, before the womens' liberation movement, women worked on farms. The work may have been broken down by gender line, still it was equal work. I've lived on a farm and no one can tell me that growing vegetables, caring for chickens, churning butter, canning food and making preserves isn't work! I was usually the first one up, making a fire in the wood stove, and some breakfast for everyone else. I spent many an afternoon watching children, cleaning tack and accounting. Its all work.
Similarly, even before the womens' movement, many women worked in stores and restaurants. They were probably co-owners along with their husbands and yet they didn't need anyone to fight for their rights. Women have been midwives, servants and nannies since the beginning of time. They also nursed before there was such a thing as nursing school. Many were teachers. I think its interesting that some of the more conservative cultures in places like Pakistan have elected women prime ministers before the US has had even one female president. We've had two women run as vice president, who can forget Geraldine Ferraro or Sarah Palin. Neither one got elected. We have had female governors.
When I was a kid people speculated that a woman wouldn't be able to handle the pressures of the job. What if she cried? What if she did? Frankly the way the economy looks, I think people would have respect for a public leader who had empathy for what is going on. People said, "What would we call her husband? First 'man' as opposed to 'First Lady'?" What a silly question. Margaret Thatcher put a face on what it looks like for a woman to run an industrialized Western world power. She did it with grace and dignity. I think a woman may be elected president in my lifetime.
Women are in the workforce and show no signs of backing off.