By Tiffany Hsu
2:50 PM EDT, April 20, 2012
What a girl wants: Maybe romance. Marriage would be great. Kids? Awesome. But increasingly these days, a top priority for young women is also their careers, so much so that they’re surpassing even their male counterparts in their desire to make a buck.
Two-thirds of gals aged 18 to 34 said that advancing in their profession and making good money was very important, if not one of the most important things in their lives. Less than six in 10 young men said the same, according to a report this week from the Pew Research Center.
Fifteen years ago, only 56% of young women felt the same way, compared to nearly the same number of men.
Among older women, 42% now value their careers highly, compared to just 26% in 1997. Men aged 35 to 64 haven’t changed their opinions much on the subject – now as well as more than a decade ago, just over four in 10 are all about their jobs.
Part of the growing interest in career among women can be tied to their increased participation in the workforce. In 2010, 46.7% of the labor market was female, compared to 46.2% in 1997 and 38.1% in 1970.
They’re also more educated than men, exceeding them in both college enrollment and graduation. But female earning power is still lagging, with median weekly earnings of $699 compared with $824 for men as of 2010.
The recent economic downturn was more damaging to women than it was to men, despite being dubbed the “Mancession” because of hit to male-dominated fields such as construction and manufacturing.
Things are now picking up and the job market seems to be stabilizing. But even as opportunities for career advancement open up, the desire to be a good parent and have a successful marriage still trumps the craving for workplace success and a corner suite for both genders.
More than 80% of both men and women (more so the latter) rank a solid family life as among their top priorities. Women, though, are now getting hitched and birthing babies later in life, and sticking with their careers once they do.
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