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New Harvard Study Indicates That Marriage Can Interfere with Women’s Careers

A new study conducted by Harvard University has some interesting implications for women with strong career goals: high-achieving women aren’t failing to meet career goals because they are opting out of the workforce to have kids (as is sometimes the prevailing notion), but rather because they are placing their husband’s careers before their own.

Egalitarian Expectations

Specifically, the study found that male graduates from Harvard Business School were more likely to be in senior management positions than their female peers (with the same degree). This wasn’t because women had opted out of the workforce entirely to become full-time moms; in fact, most of them worked full time. They were simply making more sacrifices (even if, at the outset, they had indicated that they expected to have egalitarian marriages in which both careers were weighed with the same level of importance).

Women’s Careers Taking a Back Seat

When measured, approximately 40 percent of women said that their spouse’s careers took priority over theirs, while more than 70 percent of men said that their careers were more important than their wives’. And for families with children, the statistics were even dimmer: 86 percent of men said their wives take primary responsibility for child care, regardless of work schedules.

Outside Stigmas

But what about outside forces? It is well known that women are still paid less than men, in general. And there is always the notion that women aren’t promoted at the same rate because employers assume that they will eventually leave the job or go part-time in order to start a family.

Age Doesn’t Matter

Perhaps most shocking was that, according to the study, age/generation does not make a difference: half of the youngest men surveyed (of the millennial generation) still indicated an assumption that their careers would take precedence over their spouse’s and that their wives would do a majority of the child care. This lack of being on the same page is something that seems inherent to relationships in each generation.

There’s A Lot to Fix

Clearly there’s a lot that needs to be done, both in relationships and outside of them, in order to promote more egalitarian conditions. With women making a percentage of the salary that men do for the same work, and parental leave still not supported by U.S. law, we have a ways to go. Neither partner should feel like they are pigeonholed into one track or another against their will in 2015.

Advice & Representation

If you need any assistance with a family law issue, get in touch with Sandra Bonfiglio, P.A. for assistance. We serve Broward County, Fort Lauderdale, and Boca Raton in divorce and other family law-related issues. Contact us today to learn how we can help.

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