NCPA - National Center for Policy Analysis

The Childless Career Woman

April 11, 2002

A new book based on a survey of 1,186 high-achieving career women takes a look at how motherhood -- or the lack of it -- plays a role in their successes. The book, by Sylvia Ann Hewlett, is entitled, "Creating a Life: Professional Women and the Quest for Children," and is published by Talk Miramax.

Here are a few observations from the book:

  • About one-third of high-achieving women are childless at age 40 -- and 43 percent of women in corporate America are childless.
  • Nearly half of ultra-achievers -- those making more than $100,000 a year -- are childless.
  • One-quarter of that group ages 42 to 55 still would like a child.
  • Nearly one-third of older ultra-achievers still desire a child.

Only 11 percent to 14 percent of those without children preferred it that way. However, being childless was a conscious career decision that allowed women to achieve success in the corporate world. And for younger women, the options are more flexible. Said one, "My generation has become successful earlier than women are 40 or 45. That allows us to plan children and have them earlier."

Source: Karen S. Peterson, "Having It All -- Except Children," USA Today, April 6, 2002.

For USAToday text


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