It seems like women have already internalized Sheryl Sandberg TED talks and cautionary warnings to Lean In at all costs: they are increasingly defying gender stereotypes by deemphasizing marriage, relationships, and children in their definitions of success. In the 15 short months since July 2012, in fact, the number of women who don't include marriage or relationships in defining success has nearly doubled, from five percent to nine.
That's per a new survey by Citi and LinkedIn, published today as the third national "Today’s Professional Woman Report." The survey includes men in its questioning, and if women really still can't have it all, that's perhaps in part due to an ongoing gender disparity in just what actually constitutes "having it all." A staggering 79 percent of men responded by equating "having it all" with "a strong, loving marriage"; just 66 percent of women concurred. That indicates men have a more specific and simpler definition of success, while women have more fluid goals (and, not coincidentally, far more hurdles to climbing the career ladder).
Are women, then, feeling the pressure to close the ambition gap? Since the Professional Woman Report began, Sandberg's Lean In has sold in the hundreds of thousands and popular media has been flooded with trend pieces about just what happens when women do leave the workforce and choose motherhood over career, at least temporarily. That, The New York Times Magazine told us in August, was just the mistake of the ill-choosing Opt-Out Generation, which now "wants back in."
But, as former Wire writer Rebecca Greenfield noted, the data isn't so scary as the scare stories make it sound, and many of those who wanted "back in" were able to land jobs. At any rate, the Lean In generation seems increasingly glad to buck the charge while men push relationships and children to the forefront.
This article is from the archive of our partner The Wire.