A survey released Friday by Citi and LinkedIn from their "Today’s Professional Woman Report" revealed that while men and women both value work-life balance, men are more likely to view a strong marriage and family life in their definition of success.
"Finding the right balance between work and family life is the No. 1 career concern for both genders — with slightly more men identifying it as a major concern (50 percent of men vs. 48 percent of women)," the survey said.
But the definition of what "having it all" means varied between men and women. Seventy-nine percent of men said "having it all" included "a strong, loving marriage," whereas only 66 percent of women said the same. Similarly, 86 percent of men factor children into their definition of success while just 73 percent of women do.
The number of women who do not factor marriage or relationships into their definition of success has nearly doubled from 5 percent to 9 percent from last year's survey. The survey said the results came from "a representative sample" of 1,023 professionals.
Zach Schonfeld at The Atlantic questions whether the study means men are more "obsessed" with having it all than women are.
"It seems like women have already internalized Sheryl Sandberg TED talks and cautionary warnings to Lean In at all costs: They are increasingly defying gender stereotypes by de-emphasizing marriage, relationships and children in their definitions of success," he said, referring to the bestselling book by the COO of Facebook encouraging women to seek challenges and pursue goals in the workplace.
But Amanda Hess at Slate said the reason men were more likely to include family and marriage in their definition of "having it all" was balancing work and family life is easier for men who are less likely to be burdened with the nitty-gritty daily work of housework and child care, which hasn't been distributed out to men as women have entered the workforce.
"Pursuing a family and a career requires less professional sacrifice for men than it does for women, so it’s easier to claim to prioritize both in their definition of success," she said. "Men face fewer barriers to being both 'family-oriented' and 'ambitious.' They’re rarely even asked how they manage to juggle career with kids, so the question carries less weight — you don’t conceive of a contradiction if you’ve never been asked to choose."
"Shifting the work-life balance conversation will require men to translate their 'family-oriented' identity into more hours actually spent with family — and for their workplaces (and government policymakers) to stop seeing that choice as inconsistent with their success on the job," Hess argued.