After decades of gains, women’s levels of employment plateaued in the mid-1990s and then reversed course. Beginning with the 2001 recession, women’s employment rate declined, rose briefly mid-decade, and then continued its downward trend through and beyond the Great Recession. Why this downward trend? A new Upjohn Institute working paper by Kristin E. Smith provides some answers. Smith examines the change in women’s employment rate from 1970 to 2010 and reveals whether the changes are due to the changing characteristics of women (i.e. demographics) or the behavioral shifts in the inclination of women to work for pay.