Chart of the Week: Motherhood on Pause for Educated Professionals

Women Giving Birth as Related to Education

What is the ideal age for women to have children? Well, for the median age for first-time mothers with a master’s degree or better is 30. In comparison, the target age for women with at a high school diploma or less is only 24.

According to a recent study of U.S. census data, 36% of professional women believe that having kids early is essential if you want to reach a top executive position, while 40% feel it’s best to hold off until your career is more well established. Also, two in 10 women think that the only way to climb up the corporate ladder is to not have kids at all.

Pew Research Center recently completed another study on women and leadership, and the factors that are holding women back from landing top jobs. The major reasons why more women aren’t in top executive positions are: they are held to higher standards (43%); companies are not ready to hire women leaders (43%); family responsibilities don’t leave enough time (23%); they don’t have sufficient connections (20%); they are not tough enough (9%); and, they don’t make as good managers (7%).

Summary

  • The median age for first-time mothers with a master’s degree or better is 30, as compared to only 24 years old for women with at a high school diploma or less.
  • 36% of professional women believe that having kids early is essential if you want to reach a top executive position, while 40% feel it’s best to hold off until your career is more well established.
  • Two in 10 women think that the only way to climb up the corporate ladder is to not have kids at all
  • The factors that are holding women back from landing top executive positions are they are held to higher standards, companies are not ready to hire women leaders, and family responsibilities don’t leave enough time.

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Educated women are waiting to have children in order to better establish their careers. Learn more about financial planning for every life stage:
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The opinions expressed are those of our investment professionals, and are no guarantee of the future performance of any American Century Investments® portfolio. This information is not intended to serve as investment advice; it is for educational purposes only.