Pew: Millennial women say it’s still a man’s world

BY Elizabeth Shell  December 11, 2013 at 1:11 AM EDT


Photo by Getty Images

So, if you’re a woman between the ages of 18 and 32, how’s that whole ‘Lean In’ movement working for you? You know, the public campaign to encourage women to ask for more professional responsibility and recognition, led by Facebook COO Sheryl Sandberg? According to a new Pew Research survey, a majority of men and women think a lot more needs to be done before the United States achieves gender equality in the workplace.
Millennial women are more likely than their male counterparts to have a bachelor’s degree (38 percent vs. 31 percent, respectively). Meanwhile, wages are continuing to slowly, slowly creep towards parity: In 2012, women between ages 25 and 34 were making 93 percent of their male colleagues’ incomes, while working women over 16 were averaging 84 percent of men’s wages.

But today women say this is still a man’s world. Society favors men, according to 51 percent of millennial women, while only 6 percent of men said society favors women. And women still see marriage and motherhood as distracting to the amount of time they can spend on work-related, paid activities. For men? They said the opposite.

Among working moms with children under 18, 51 percent said having children made it harder for them to advance in their careers. In comparison, 16 percent of working dads said fatherhood has made it harder for them to advance. For millennial women who do not have children, almost two-thirds expect that having kids will make career advancement more difficult.

“It was interesting to see the extent to which young women anticipate that having a family might interfere with their career advancement,” Kim Parker, Associate Director with the Pew Social and Demographic Trends Project, said. “This is quite a contrast to what young fathers told us.”

Women are also much more likely than men to have family-related career interruptions, like caring for a child or another family member. Among mothers of children under age 18 who have ever worked, 51 percent say they have had to take a significant amount of time off. Only 16 percent of working dads said the same.

“They don’t regret taking these steps, and most say these interruptions didn’t hurt their careers overall,” said Parker. “But among those who say it did make a difference, women are more likely than men to say the impact was negative.”

In top power positions, the research firm Catalyst found that a mere 4.2 percent of CEO jobs in Fortune 500 companies were held by women. Expand out to the Fortune 1000, and research shows the number of women with that title barely budges by a statistically insignificant increase of 0.3 percent.