This is newsworthy: According to a newly released survey by Citi and LinkedIn, more men than women place a higher priority on love, marriage, kids, and the whole domestic kit and caboodle. Yup, you heard right: Men are the true guardians of family values!
Here are the key findings from "Today's Professional Woman Report," which surveyed over 1,000 female and male professionals on LinkedIn:
- More men than women want it all (marriage and kids—not just career). The survey finds that 79 percent of men say "having it all" means having a "strong, loving marriage" vs. 66 percent of women who feel that way. Also, 86 percent of men "factor children into their definition of success vs. 73 percent of women."
- More men than women believe in the institution of marriage. The survey finds that 25 percent of women think that marriage is not neccesary in a "strong, loving relationship," while only 14 percent of men share that view.
- Women increasingly say that love and marriage do not define their success. Since 2012, the number of women "who do not factor marriage or relationships into their definition of success has nearly doubled (from 5 percent to 9 percent)."
- Both men and women say work/life balance is a major concern It's a virtual dead-heat: 50 percent of men vs. 48 percent of women cite the need for balance.
All told, it's quite a reversal in gender roles. Impressed? Well, don't be.
To me, the survey simply reinforces the privileged position that men have always enjoyed. Frankly, it's easy to sing the virtue of family life, when you've always had someone at home to keep things tidy. So why not rant that a career without a loving family is empty—if you've always had both?
But what I think the survey does show is a shift in the attitudes of women. They seem more independent, more ambitious, and less concerned with the trappings of marriage. That's the positive spin. Less positive, perhaps, is that women realize how difficult it is to "have it all." Unlike men, women have expectations for marriage and kids that seem to be tempered by the reality of how ambition can clash with responsibilites at home.
Indeed, where the gender gap really shows up is in the responses to questions about company perks. By a wide margin, women rated flex-time (90 percent of women vs. 72 percent of men) and good maternity/paternity leave policies (56 percent of women vs. 36 percent of men) as key benefits. As Amanda Hess writes in Slate: "Shifting the work-life balance conversation will require men to translate their “family-oriented” identity into more hours actually spent with family." In other words, men have to put action to their words.
So where does all this leave us? Pretty much where we've been: Women are still searching for ways to keep all the balls in the air—while men pontificate about the importance of a balanced life. Nice.
E-mail Vivia Chen: firstname.lastname@example.org Follow her on Twitter: https://twitter.com/lawcareerist