According to the Pew Research report, in the 18-34 age group:
Two-thirds (66%) of young women ages 18 to 34 rate career high on their list of life priorities, compared with 59% of young men. In 1997, 56% of young women and 58% of young men felt the same way.
In the 35-64 age group:
Today about the same share of women (42%) and men (43%) ages 35 to 64 say [that being successful in a high-paying career or profession is "one of the most important things" or "very important" in their lives]. In 1997, more middle-aged and older men than women felt this way (41% vs. 26%).
So women today are more ambitious than we were 15 years ago. (Although the 56-58% of ambitious young 'uns, men and women, in 1997 has now decreased to 42-43% now that we've hit middle age. Maybe we're letting go of some illusions about our likely level of success.)
And, at least from this data:
- One generation ago, men were significantly more ambitious than women.
- In my generation, women and men have roughly the same levels of ambition.
- Among young people today, women are more ambitious than men.
I wish they had left "high-paying" out of the equation. I think it skews the numbers down. I'm sure there were respondents who care about being successful in their careers, but not necessarily about being highly paid.
The WSJ Juggle blog follows up on the article with anecdata about how women who have an economic choice tend to be powerful full-time-plus professionals or stay-at-home moms, but there's not much in between. The author guesses that women who can afford it generally decide to go big or go home -- if work isn't going to be successful, challenging, and fulfilling, then they're not going to sacrifice the time they could be spending with their families. I'm not convinced, but it's an interesting point.