A colleague alerted me to a new survey published by Citibank entitled “Today’s Professional Woman Report“, the third time that they, in cooperation with LinkedIn, have surveyed professional women to identify trends and traits. And there are some very interesting trends…
What most struck me the most is that according to their results, men are now placing more emphasis on marriage and children than women are in this survey. 79% of men equate “having it all” with being in a strong, loving marriage, versus only 66% of women feeling the same way. That’s a huge difference and, to me, quite a surprise.
When it comes to children, 73% of women include having children in their definition of success, while – ready for this? – 86% of men believe that children are an essential ingredient of “having it all”.
I bet you thought it’d be the opposite, given the constant cultural messages about how parenting is a woman’s job, about how men are slackers, not fathers, and about how most relationships we are shown the woman as the head of the household and the man as essentially another child. These same movies and TV shows justify it by reassuring us that women are more fulfilled by being a mother. Or maybe not.
Last time they gave this survey to over 1000 LinkedIn professionals, male and female, 5% of women defined “success” to not include a personal relationship of any sort. This time around, just under 10% identified success as being independent of a personal relationship in their lives. Which means 1 out of 10 women will feel that they are successful in life regardless of whether they’re even in a relationship, let alone married with children.
I learned of this survey from Dr. Jaime Kulaga, who reinforces the gender stereotypes with her comment that she hasn’t “met a woman in my life who hasn’t taken on an exponential amount of roles – far more than is good for any one person. From wife to professional to cook to chauffeur, women simply do not know how to say no.”
Of course, us men do that too, and at least as much as women do, so I’m not entirely sure why she’s singling out women in her comment. Particularly as a single dad, I wear all the hats, from medical counsel to relationship therapist, storyteller to chauffeur, homework helper to drill sergeant. In fact, that’s a characteristic of adult life, that you can’t just stay in one comfortable role but instead have to assume many different responsibilities, some of which are in direct contradiction to others.
Still, while the research is skewed by the data sample (people who participate in a specific professional development group on LinkedIn) it’s still surprising to see that the percentage of women who consider success on purely professional terms almost doubling, and to see that men are considerably more tied to being in a loving marriage with children than women are.
But that’s my analysis. What’s your take on these numbers and the implications for our cultural evolution?