Do millennial women define success differently and plan “career pauses” or this just another excuse for employers who don’t want to hire young women? Both opinions have been voiced recently.
Gaining the most attention was Claire Cain Miller’s article, “More Than Their Mothers, Young Women Plan Career Pauses,” in the New York Times. Her thesis is, “The youngest generation of women in the work force—the millennials, age 18 to early 30s—is defining career success differently and less linearly than previous generations of women…You might call them the planning generation: Their approach is less all or nothing—climb the career ladder or stay home with children—and more give and take.”
Young women saw their parents struggle to balance work and home life responsibilities, Miller writes, and they want something different. She cites a survey of Harvard Business School alumni that found 37% of millennial women and 42% of those already married plan to take a career pause to raise a family. Only 28% of Generation X and 17% baby boomers expressed such a desire.
Esther Lombardi at PayScale isn’t buying it. In her “No, Millennial Women Aren’t Taking a ‘Career Pause’” article, she writes, “Proponents of that ‘career pause’ fable fail to realize that women have been fighting the same well-worn (but ever more mind-numbing) marginalization for decades. While the argument once was that women should always stay at home, in a perpetual state of ‘pause’–caring for the house, home and children, the focus has changed. We’ve made progress.”
The idea that all women will get pregnant is “ludicrous and offensive,” write Lombardi. Given the state of the economy, most women can’t afford to stall their careers. “But, the state of the modern workplace is such that bosses are making it more feasible to become a parent, while continuing to pursue all those workplace endeavors.”
Read both articles and make up your own mind. Which argument is more persuasive? Share your opinions on GlassCeiling.com