While the Millennial generation's beliefs reject conventional
notions about the place of women in society, both sexes still place
a high value on marriage and family. However challenging, these
shifting gender roles will force changes in Millennials' home and
Having embraced the dreams of their Boomer mothers and
grandmothers for equal participation in all spheres of life, the
aspirations of Millennial generation women are upsetting the
traditional roles of both sexes, not only in the workplace, but at
home as well.
As these shifts continue, Millennial men and women will be forced
to navigate the spheres of work, home, parenting, and marriage in
new ways - ways that may change gender interaction within their
personal relationships and on the job.
In the most striking evidence yet of gender equality among
members of the Millennial generation (born 1982-2003), data from Pew
Research Center surveys conducted in 2010 and 2011 found that female
Millennials were just as likely as males to say that being
successful in a high-paying career or profession is a very important
or even the most important thing in their lives.
While two-thirds of both male and female Millennials in Pew's
research wanted a successful career, women in this generation were
actually more likely than men to cite that as one of their most
important values. By contrast, among older Americans, men place
greater importance on career and financial success.
This does not mean that Millennials of either sex have abandoned
marriage and parenthood as life goals.
If anything, they place even greater importance on those values.
About 85 percent of Millennial men and women say that having a
successful marriage is very important to them. More than a third of
Millennial women say marriage is one of their most important goals.
Virtually all Millennials (95 percent of women and 93 percent of
men) place an even greater premium on being a good parent. And, a
clear majority of women indicate that parenthood is at the top of
the list among their values.
None of this should really surprise anyone who has observed child-
rearing practices during the past three decades. The parents of
Millennials have been shaping their daughters' values in this "you
can have it all" direction since literally the day their daughters
were born. And they have reared their sons, in many ways, to accept
this new direction.
The end result is a generation whose beliefs have overwhelmingly
rejected conventional notions about the place of women in society as
compared to any previous generation.
A 2009 Pew survey indicated that 84 percent of Millennials
disagreed either somewhat or completely (two-thirds) that "women
should return to their traditional roles in society." Last year, 82
percent of Millennials told Pew that the trend toward more women in
the workplace has been a "change for the better."
Millennial women have decisively acted on these beliefs. The
Millennial Generation is the first in US history in which women are
more likely to attend college and professional school than are men.
And once in college, women are also more likely to graduate then
men. By 2016, women are projected to receive an even larger majority
of undergraduate and advanced degrees than they earn now.
The sharp increases in female educational achievement have, in
turn, led to economic gains for women. …