Millennial Women Have Evolved Beyond Lean In

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Photo: Hero Images Inc./Corbis

Back in the dark ages of like 50 years ago, women had to choose between a career and a family. Then, through hard work and dedication, our foremothers broke down that wall and began to strive for a new ideal — Having It All.

Now, further progress: Younger women have seen what it really takes to be CEO Mom, and we would like to please return It All for the flexible work-life-balance option, thanks.

A study reviewed by the New York Times shows that millennial-aged women are increasingly planning their career paths to accommodate either taking time off or taking more flexible positions when they decide to have kids:

A survey of Harvard Business School alumni, released as part of the school’s new gender initiative, found that 37 percent of millennial women and 42 percent of those already married planned to interrupt their career for family. That compared with 28 percent of Generation X women and 17 percent of baby boomers.

This means young women are obeying the Lean In philosophy of not “leaving before you leave” — they’re working hard to get to a point in their careers where taking time to have children won’t be as much of a professional hindrance. But, once they reach that peak, instead of leaning into promotions or more responsibility, they’re seeking careers that provide more flexible hours.

“They’re anticipating that in some way they’re going to have to dial down or integrate their career and their life,” one CEO told the Times. “This reality is something that people are a lot more transparent and open about.”

Younger women, it seems, have given up the Having-It-All ghost. Maybe now they’ll be able to Have Most of It — which is all anybody really needs, anyway.

Millennials Have Evolved Beyond Lean In