Megan McArdle, responding to Paul Krugman’s and Jim Manzi’s reminiscence of the “glory days” of 1960s middle class life, points out that that golden period in American history was made possible by (among other things) gender inequality:
Maybe it’s because I grew up later than either Manzi or Krugman; maybe it’s because I grew up in Manhattan; or maybe it’s because I’m a woman. Whatever the reason, what I notice about their idyll is how dependent it was on women being home… Families only need one car because Mom, who doesn’t herself work, is available to drive Dad to work every morning before she heads to the grocery store. And the kids can play unsupervised because, of course, in this neighborhood–in all neighborhoods–there is a network of constantly watching eyes. Meanwhile, the poor people and minorities are somewhere comfortably distant, allowing young Paul and Jim to experience a world without want.
Definitely read the whole thing.