Tuesday, February 24, 2009

Most Women Do Not Follow Planned Careers

One of the most useful ideas that Susan Pinker reports in The Sexual Paradox comes from Catherine Hakim's work on the distribution of women's preferences. Hakim calculates that about 20% of women are career-centered and 20% are home-centered. The 60% in the middle are "adaptive," trying to have it all, tacking between two poles. Hakim’s Preference Theory: not all women want the same thing, and only 20% want what men want.

This also means that in general, women are less likely to have a career plan than men. In particular, women’s plans are more likely to change after children than men’s. Men like to tell the story of their careers as their following a plan, overcoming obstacles. Women are more likely to describe their lives are a natural flow of one event into another, many of the turns not planned but not bad.

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