Young German Women More Ambitious Than Ever, Says Study | Germany| News and in-depth reporting from Berlin and beyond | DW | 26.03.2008
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Young German Women More Ambitious Than Ever, Says Study

Increasingly, women from all social groups in Germany want both family and career and are confident they can reach their goals, according to a recent study by the popular women's magazine Brigitte."

A female scientists conducts an experiment with an egg

99 percent of those surveyed said yes to the statement "I know that I'm good"

Career, partner, children, and social involvement -- today's women want everything, according to the study.

Eighty-five percent said it was important to them to have their own income and be independent, even with children. Slightly more, 90 percent, said they wanted to have children.

"The time of either-or is over," said Jutta Allmendinger, who directed the study, entitled "Women on the Move." Over 1,000 young women in Germany, aged 17-19 and 27-29, were questioned for the study, which contrasts sharply with a similar survey conducted by Brigitte in 1982.

What's more, today's young women are willing to do what it takes to attain their wishes -- 96 percent said they didn't think one could get anywhere in life without goals, and 79 percent said they were working hard toward theirs.

Allmendinger said it was surprising that this trend of self-confidence and ambition was found among women in all social groups.

Women less willing to compromise

Women in the kitchen

Young women have cast off the burden of perfectionism in the household

The number of women who want to work has increased, the study found. "In [the former] West Germany, it used to be just 20 to 30 percent, the rest was rhetoric," Allmendinger said.

Education plays a strong role in young women's lives, with three to four times as many girls completing their Abitur, the high school exam that allows students to carry on to university.

On the job, women are less willing than their male counterparts to give everything and always be available, according to the study. Most don't feel supported by society -- only one-sixth said that children and career could be easily combined these days.

"If companies don't offer women an acceptable balance between work and life, they'll soon be lacking important personnel resources," said Allmendinger.

Rethinking priorities

Despite their career ambitions, the women surveyed also placed a strong emphasis on relationships. Three-quarters said they wanted a steady partner. Ninety-one percent said friends were important to them, while 87 percent said the same of parents and siblings.

The women rated good looks (59 percent) and good sex (54 percent) as less significant. Only one-fourth said being thin was important.

If 90 percent of this generation of women chooses a different path than their mothers, this will change society, said Allmendinger. "Society is going to have to get used to a new type of woman."

Four street signs symbolize partnership, pregnancy and parenthood

A steady partner and children are also important to young women

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