Work Life Balance

62% Of Gen Y Women Don’t Want Their Mothers’ ‘Extreme’ Careers

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Selena Rezvani, author of the new book, The Next Generation of Women Leaders: What You Need to Lead but Won’t Learn in Business School has an interesting essay in the Washington Post.

She explains that observers thought that the youngest daughters of Baby Boomer women — Gen Yers — were going to hit their careers in overdrive. These were the girls who saw their moms “have it all,” working full time and raising families. Gen Y women are also the most educated of any female cohort that preceded them and the least likely to face gender inequity in the workplace.

But it turns out that they don’t want what their mothers had.

The Washington, DC-based Business and Professional Women’s Foundation released a study that examines what motivates the youngest segment of female workers. The results show that these young women have somewhat sophisticated understandings of work-life balance as something involving much more than just jobs and families.

Economist Sylvia Ann Hewlett reports the most interesting finding, though: Some 62% of Gen Y women surveyed “don’t want to emulate their mothers’ “extreme” careers that involved long hours.”

Hewlett also found that young women don’t want to emulate their stay-at-home mothers either. Apparently the group in general wants more balance.

This speaks to me in that I dramatically changed my work schedule to be home with my children while they’re young. What’s funny is that I’d thought about doing it since before I was even in college. I didn’t end up having children for quite some time after that, but I’d handled my career in such a way that I’d have options when they came. I’m so glad I did. I have friends who are happy with hard-charging careers and friends who are happy completely out of the labor force, but many would like a bit more balance between the two.

The way to achieve that, in my view, is to plan for it. Sounds good that these Gen Y ladies are doing just that.