Barrier Busters: Dispelling Myths About Millennial Women

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Photo from Huffington Post

Last week I came across an article on Forbes.com that I completely connected with. Written by Forbes Contributor Peggy Drexler, the piece Young Women Are Busy Knocking Down Barriers In Business grabbed me from the get-go. As a proud millennial woman, I’m always curious to read what others are saying about my generation’s impact on the workplace…and Peggy nailed it.

Millennials have been painted as all different “types” of employees, some of which are favorable and some… not so much. This article confirmed what I have long believed: People may say a lot of things about the youngest generation in the workplace, but they can’t call us pessimistic.

Millennial women are not miserable in their jobs or cynical about the future. In fact, millennials have the most positive outlook for women in the workplace of every generation. 65% of women polled by an Accenture study in 2012 felt equal to men on the job. 66% see visible female role models in their companies. Only 33% feel stagnant in their careers. We’re happy. We feel challenged. And we like it.

While glass ceilings certainly still exist today, that glass appears to be just a little bit thinner, and I believe it’s because millennial women place incredible value on having a rewarding and successful career. Proof can be seen in the fact that, in a 2012 Pew Research Center study, for the first time, more women than men placed great value on a high paying career. More than 2/3 of young working women rate a successful career as “high on their list of life priorities.” This is in contrast to less than 60% of men who deem a high paying career as a high priority.

I haven’t conducted a survey to find out why the women of my generation are more positive and more optimistic about our futures, but I’m willing to bet that it has a lot to do with the fact that we see progress in motion. 44% of us want to start our own businesses. We want to be in positions of leadership. We also want families. And with continued societal advancement, the idea of having it all is becoming a more and more realistic future for us.  We’re navigating our own destiny to obtain it. We see women including Marissa Mayer and Sara Blakely doing it, and we know that we can do it too.

So what will the future of the workplace in which women are happier and more confident look like?

My hunch is that, as more and more millennials move into positions of leadership in the workplace, we’re going to see even more positive changes. With far more millennial women in positions of leadership, I hope to see the workplace as a whole become much more flexible, and friendlier, when it comes to accommodating career-driven women who also happen to embrace motherhood.


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