July 25, 2015

CHANGE: Elite Women Choosing Family Over Work.

Millennials are hard to pin down. They’ve been characterized as politically liberal, but turn out to be quite skeptical of government. They’re thought to have Tweet-length attention spans, but turn out to read more books than older adults. They’re sometimes described as careerist and individualistic, but a certain group of them, at least—high-achieving women—actually prioritizes family over work to a greater extent than their mothers did. . . .

Feminists will likely see the shift as evidence that the women’s liberation is still incomplete, while social conservatives are likely to welcome the (modest) move toward more traditional gender norms. But the social picture communicated by the data is probably more complicated than the orthodoxies of either the left or right would allow.

The Times article cites three surveys—one of “college educated professionals,” one of business students at Wharton, and one of business students at Harvard. The trend away from full-time working motherhood, in other words, is limited to a narrow and privileged group of American women. Poor and working class women (a disproportionate share of whom are divorced) are less likely to have the luxury of taking time off to spend with their children. While the Times report pitches the data as a story about changing gender norms, they also tell a story about class stratification.

So while the surveys might seem to vindicate the conservative view that many women would opt for part time work or full-time motherhood if given the choice, they also highlight the fact that this choice is not actually available to the majority of the population.

Well, “economic inequality” is as much a symptom as an explanation of many societal problems.

InstaPundit is a participant in the Amazon Services LLC Associates Program, an affiliate advertising program designed to provide a means for sites to earn advertising fees by advertising and linking to Amazon.com.