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Women's Career Aspirations Surpass Men's

Women at Work . / Credit: Women at work image via Shutterstock

For the first time ever, more women than men are considering a profitable career a top life goal, a new study finds.

Conducted by the Pew Research Center, the research revealed two-thirds of women between the ages of 18 and 34 ranked having a successful career high on their list of overall priorities, compared with just 59 percent of young men.

The reversal of traditional gender roles has occurred over the past 15 years. 1n 1997, the numbers showed 58 percent of young men prioritized a successful career above most other things, compared wito 56 percent of young women.

The shift has been gaining momentum for several decades as more women joined the workforce. In 2010, women made up almost half the labor force, up from 38 percent in 1970.

Yet the new research shows women's increased focus on careers isn't coming at the expense of their family.

The number of young women who rate parenting as a top priority has increased dramatically in recent years, up 17 percentage points in the past 15 years. Today, nearly six in 10 women ages 18 to 34 say being a good parent is one of the most important things in their life.

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Overall, being a good parent and having a successful marriage remain much more important than career success to both men and women.

Generally, the public has been supportive of more active roles for women in the workplace. A September 2011 Pew Research poll found that 73 percent of Americans felt the trend toward more women working has been a change for the better, while more than 60 percent of the public in a 2010 poll felt that a marriage in which the husband and wife share the responsibilities of work and children is more satisfying than a more traditional marriage with a male breadwinner.

The research was based on surveys of more than 4,000 women and men.

Chad Brooks is a Chicago-based freelance business and technology writer who has worked in public relations and spent 10 years as a newspaper reporter. You can reach him at or follow him on Twitter @cbrooks76.

Chad Brooks

Chad Brooks is a Chicago-based writer and editor with nearly 20 years in media. A 1998 journalism graduate of Indiana University, Chad began his career with Business News Daily in 2011 as a freelance writer. In 2014, he joined the staff full time as a senior writer. Before Business News Daily, Chad spent nearly a decade as a staff reporter for the Daily Herald in suburban Chicago, covering a wide array of topics including local and state government, crime, the legal system and education. Chad has also worked on the other side of the media industry, promoting small businesses throughout the United States for two years in a public relations role. His first book, How to Start a Home-Based App Development Business, was published in 2014. He lives with his wife and daughter in the Chicago suburbs.