Remember what the Longman Grammar tells us: Academic writing has few s-genitives and a high proportion of nouns with of-phrases.  Also, we should expect to find partitives and descriptive uses a lot--and probably not so much of the ownership uses.  Try asking these questions about this combination of
 
 
1st noun + of + 2nd noun


Type #1. Does the 1st noun divide up or count or give a unit of the 2nd noun?  half of the apple, one of the teachers, a book of matches

Type #2. Does the 2nd noun describe or giving information about the 1st noun?  a result of poor communication, the problem of water pollution

But let's keep an open mind and an open eye as we look through this little sample of authentic written English.


 
1. the contiually increasing proportions of women Ummmmmmm.  Well, it's not a verb/adjective combination.  What kind of meaning is involved between the two nouns proportions and women?  Is the phrase about a description of women or a dividing up of the category women?   I'd call it partitive.  It's of the #1 type with the 1st noun dividing up the 2nd noun.  Do you agree? Notice that we really can't turn this phrase into an s-genitive for the same meaning: *women's proportions.  Well, that has a different meaning entirely. 
2. the ranks of paid labor This phrase is actually pretty idiomatic, isn't it?  Always used to talk about groups of workers.  Ranks of teachers, ranks of students, etc.  Whatever rank and file means.... Here the 1st word is again about a grouping and I can't use *paid labor's ranks" very easily.  So, I'd put it with the partitives, but I'm also starting to think that we need a category for set phrases--or phrases that are used repeatedly with the same types of content.
3. a transformation of consumer patterns, relations at work, self-concepts, and relationships with boyfriends, husbands, and children This sample is not about dividing things into groups or pieces or sets or numbers.  And the meaning works in the direction of #2: The nouns that come after of are describing the word transformation--they are telling us what type of transformation.  Notice that we can change the order around to get phrases like: consumer pattern transformation, self-concept transformation.  It's also one of those objective patterns with nominalization of the verb transform: the phrase can be analyzed as meaning "Working out of the home transforms consumer patterns, relations at work, self-concepts, and relations with boyfriends, husbands, and children."
4. One of the most significant aspects Thank goodness, an easy one.  It's counting.  It's a Type #1.  Partitive. 
5. the most significant aspects of the quiet revolution Ohhhhhhh,  Ummmmmm.  Well, whatdaja think?  Type #1?  Type #2?  We can say: the quiet revolution's most significant aspects.... And this phrase is the focus of the partitive one of....  The word aspects is an interesting puzzle for us.  It does mean something about a part or feature of something--and that seems partitive. On the other hand, it can easily be used with the s-genitive.  I'd like to see more examples from authentic contexts to get a sense of how the word is really used rather than trying to make up a "rule" for this particular word.  The Collins Cobuild Dictionary of the English Language is a corpus-based student's dictionary.  They list uses of aspect in sentences such as these: The most terrifying aspect of nuclear bombing is radiation...  Economic affairs have got political and psychological aspects to them.  I also wonder about the importance of this word in academic writing--I would expect that it is used rather frequently and most frequently with the of-phrase formation.
6.  the proportion of married women with preschool children who work for wages Our work with the 1st example prepared us for this phrase.  It's a Type #1 that is counting the 2nd noun.  So, partitive.
7.  the average of all U.S. women It's counting.  It's a Type #1.  Partitive. 
8. the implications of these changes This sample is not about dividing things into groups or pieces or sets or numbers.  And the meaning works in the direction of #2: The nouns that come after of are describing the word implications.  You could have an s-genitive: These changes' implications--but all of those "s's" do make for a hissing that I would avoid on stylistic grounds.  Compare the implications of this report = this report's implications.  That's ok grammatically and stylistically.
 

 
 
What else did you notice about this little sample? 

I wonder about two things--both suggested by the reference grammar information and by the sample: (1) How many set phrases are used repeatedly in academic writing?  Things like proportions of and the proportion of and aspects of...and counting with one of and two of and a zillion of....  (2) How much counting and dividing and giving of sub-sets of things will readers encounter in academic text?  If such usage is high, then we can understand a reason for so many of-phrases being used in academic text.

And if these two things are true, then how might we focus our teaching and materials to prepare students to read and write academic discourse?  Please email me your ideas.