NEW YORK–Young women now surpass young men in the importance they put on having a high-paying career, according to a new report from the Pew Research Center. On the other hand, marriage and parenthood also rank high on the list of priorities.
“For both men and women, being a good parent and having a successful marriage remain much more important than career success,” Pew writes in its report. Telecommuting at least part time from a virtual office can help women—and men—have the best of both worlds.
According to the Pew report, women in today’s workforce who do marry and have children are not necessarily leaving their careers to follow their familial dreams. Indeed, the modern woman often balances her career with her husband and children. Nearly half (48%) of married couples in 2010 consisted of two breadwinners. The share of dual-employed couples was slightly higher in 1997 (53%). Back in 1975, however, the share of families with both a husband and wife in the labor force was only 34%. In recent years, virtual offices have empowered more people and age groups to enter or reenter the workforce.
Generally, Pew reports, the public supports more active roles for women in the workplace. A September 2011 Pew Research poll found that 73% of Americans feel that the trend toward more women in the workforce has been a change for the better in our society. What’s more, an October 2010 Pew Research poll found 62% of the general public feels that a marriage where the husband and wife share the responsibilities of work and children is more satisfying than a more traditional marriage with a male breadwinner.
However, Pew adds, the public remains conflicted about the impact these changes have had on young children. When asked whether the trend toward more mothers of young children working outside the home is a good thing or a bad thing for society, only 21 percent of Americans said it is a good thing. Some 37 percent said this is a bad thing for society, and roughly the same share (38%) said it hasn’t made a difference.
Virtual offices are no panacea for good parenting. But virtual office space can promote stronger work-life balance, as well as concepts like workshifting and Results Only Work Environments that leave more room for parenting. Virtual offices allow parents to be home in the morning to drive the kids to school, crank up the productivity during the day while the children are gone by eliminating the distractions that often go along with a traditional office space, and be there to pick the kids up after school and make them a snack. Virtual offices also allow parents to be home for kids when they are sick, run to recitals and PTA meetings during the day and other parental activities.
Again, virtual offices aren’t the end-all answer to work-life balance and good parenting. But virtual offices are certainly a tool in the hands of a strong parent with a balanced life.