No More Super-Moms?

The views of working mothers are drastically different today than they were back in the '70s, according to a new scientific survey, Update: Women, to be published in USA Weekend's October 23-25 issue.

Researchers found that today women are more interested in balancing their family with their career, while back in the '70s, women were more interested in their careers.
The survey was coordinated by Liz Nickles and Laurie Ashcraft, who are trend analysts, consultants, authors, and business partners. They co-wrote The Coming Matriarchy, which focuses on the social impact of working women.

A total of 5,000 women were surveyed in the three polls combined. They found that women are getting rewards at home, more than they did 18 years ago. Back then, when a woman was entering the workforce, she would get a paycheck, a promotion. But now they're being validated at home. Their survey found some changes in attitudes from 1979 to 1998:



  • "TO ME, A CAREER IS AS IMPORTANT AS BEING A GOOD WIFE AND MOTHER"
    1979 - 36%
    1998 - 26%

    Ashcraft explains:
    "In the '80s, women were still very ambitious and career oriented. But we saw the younger women were having their children first and their careers later. The reverse of what we saw this the late '70s. We weren't too surprised."



  • "IT'S NOT THE QUANTITY OF TIME YOU SPEND WITH YOUR CHILDREN - IT'S THE QUALITY."
    1979 - 66%
    1998 - 40%

    "In the past decades the word was 'juggling'," Nickles says. "We heard a lot about that, trying to juggle home, juggle career - do it all. It drove women a little bit nuts. They went through a huge stress period. The main change is that they have learned to prioritize. They are taking elements of career and adding that to home life - and elements of home and adding that to career. You now find daycare centers in the workplace, and we have technology caught up as well; with fax machines at home, you can be in touch with the office from almost anywhere."



  • "I AM VERY CONCERNED ABOUT WHAT OTHERS THINK ABOUT ME."
    1979 - 45%
    1998 - 24%

    "Eighteen years ago," explains Ashcraft, "women were getting reinforcement from what peers thought about them. Now they're getting reinforcement from themselves, they validate themselves essentially. They set their priorities on what they think is right rather than society. They are balancing work and home much better because they're able to set their own priorities, set time with their children. They are changing the workforce to enable them to spend more time with their children."



  • "I FEEL MY GOALS IN LIFE ARE QUITE AMBITIOUS."
    1979 - 36%
    1998 - 26%

    To explain this, Nickles says "I think the word is 'balance' againÂ…It's an issue of prioritizing. You have to know where hings stand and not try to achieve everything. Women are more comfortable now with understanding that."

Nickles and Ashcraft say age can be a factor. But, overall, they found a general trend among all women. Younger women have taken the time to take off and have children rather than postponing. They realize now they can have the career and family.

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