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Modern Parenthood

Young women want high-paying jobs – moreso than young men

Young women, more often than young men, prioritize high-paying jobs as "very important," a new study shows. Both value being a good parent even more.

By Correspondent / April 20, 2012

Young women are more likely to graduate college than their male counterparts. And they are more likely to value high-paying jobs, says a new study.

Melanie Stetson Freeman/Staff


Add this little tidbit to the Ann Romney, Hilary Rosen working versus stay-at-home mom debate: 

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is a longtime Monitor correspondent. She lives in Andover, Mass. with her husband, her two young daughters, a South African Labrador retriever and an imperialist cat..

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Young women now are more likely than young men to value high-paying jobs, saying that achieving success in a high-paying career or profession is important in their lives, according to a new Pew Research Center study.

The study, released yesterday, found that 66 percent of young women aged 18 to 34 put career toward the top of their list of life priorities, versus a slightly lower 59 percent of young men. This is a switch from 1997, when 56 percent of young women and 58 percent of young men felt the same way.

Add this to some other trends – women now surpass men in both college enrollment and completion, Pew research shows – and it might seem that the findings might put popular opinion in the working mom camp.

But not so fast.

In the same 2010/2011 study, young women (and young men, for that matter) said that being a good parent was more important than career.  Ninety-four percent of women say “being a good parent” is “one of the most important things” or “very important” in their lives; 91 percent of young men said the same.

Of course, the definition of “good” is a whole 'nother can of worms. As is, apparently, the family structure in which that good parenting should take place.

Only 37 percent of young women put a similar importance in having a successful marriage. And while it might seem low, this number is actually up 9 points since 1997. For young men, however, the trend is reversed: only 29 percent of young men prioritized having a successful marriage, down from 35 percent in 1997.


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