It looks like Beyoncé is right: Girls will run the world. Or at least they have the ambition to do so. A survey on life priorities (including career, marriage and parenting) conducted by the Pew Research Center showed that 66% of Millennial women said that having a successful career is very important to them. This is 10% more than in 1997, when 56% of women with the same age ranked having a successful career high on their list. Their male counterparts on the other hand stay put at 59%, only 1% up from the results in 1997. When it comes to education, 44% of women aged 18 to 24 were enrolled in college or graduate programs as of October 2010, compared with just 38% of men of the same age group. But let’s stop talking numbers and start giving examples.
A great example of a female GenYer with a successful career is Lena Dunham, aka the voice of this generation (or at least a generation), as she puts it herself. At the age of 26 she already wrote, directed and starred in the independent film Tiny Furniture, created the critically acclaimed series Girls, for which she was nominated for an Emmy, won 2 Golden Globes and signed a book deal. Quite impressive, isn’t it? And she’s just one example of the many Millennial women who are taking over in comedy!
Having a successful career does not come at the expense of having a successful marriage and a family though. Being a good parent and having a successful marriage are still perceived as more important than a career, which is why Gen Y women consider a good work-life balance to be very important.
Thinking about this good work-life balance, Adele is one of the first examples that come to mind. Last year she won 6 Grammys for her album 21. This year was her year off; she became a mother. Still she managed to theme the last James Bond film and go on to win an Oscar.
Of course there are lots of women outside of show business who have a successful career too. When we take a look at some people on the Forbes 30 under 30 lists, we find a lot of examples:
Carly Cushnie (Fashion designer), Leslie Dewan (Co-founder of and Chief Science Officer at Transatomic Power), Jennifer Fan (Founder of Arbalet Capital), Kim Swift (Creative Director at Airtright Games), Rachel Haot (Chief Digital Officer at the City of New York) and the list goes on…
So, to end the same way we started, a summarizing quote of Beyoncé, also a great example of a Generation Y woman with both a career and a family: Strong enough to bear the children. Then get back to business!