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.

Melanie Stetson Freeman/Staff
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.

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

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.

You've read  of  free articles. Subscribe to continue.

Dear Reader,

About a year ago, I happened upon this statement about the Monitor in the Harvard Business Review – under the charming heading of “do things that don’t interest you”:

“Many things that end up” being meaningful, writes social scientist Joseph Grenny, “have come from conference workshops, articles, or online videos that began as a chore and ended with an insight. My work in Kenya, for example, was heavily influenced by a Christian Science Monitor article I had forced myself to read 10 years earlier. Sometimes, we call things ‘boring’ simply because they lie outside the box we are currently in.”

If you were to come up with a punchline to a joke about the Monitor, that would probably be it. We’re seen as being global, fair, insightful, and perhaps a bit too earnest. We’re the bran muffin of journalism.

But you know what? We change lives. And I’m going to argue that we change lives precisely because we force open that too-small box that most human beings think they live in.

The Monitor is a peculiar little publication that’s hard for the world to figure out. We’re run by a church, but we’re not only for church members and we’re not about converting people. We’re known as being fair even as the world becomes as polarized as at any time since the newspaper’s founding in 1908.

We have a mission beyond circulation, we want to bridge divides. We’re about kicking down the door of thought everywhere and saying, “You are bigger and more capable than you realize. And we can prove it.”

If you’re looking for bran muffin journalism, you can subscribe to the Monitor for $15. You’ll get the Monitor Weekly magazine, the Monitor Daily email, and unlimited access to