U.S. women are seeking a new role in society at least partly because in recent years millions of them have gone out and found one in the economy—as paid workers. Close to half (44%) of all women over 16 now are in the work force, v. just over a quarter (27%) who chose to have a job in 1940. When the Internal Revenue Service recently revised wage-withholding rates, it raised them partly on the presumption that the two-paycheck family —with both husband and wife employed—had become so common.

Yet there remains a shocking...

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