According to research conducted by SheSpot, Australian women value many things above career.

The national research was conducted with 2,258 women in late 2009. When listing their priorities, 74% of women ranked family first. The study found women no longer believes that having it all means doing it all and their greatest stresses are time (71% feel overwhelmed), money (62% are stressed and list it as the number one thing making them extremely unhappy) and body weight (50%).

According to the SheSpot research, Australian women stand in stark contrast globally (particularly the US) with regard to feeling loved (93%), appreciated (83%) and optimistic about the future (66%, only 4% are pessimistic).

“Women today feel just as strongly about family as previous generations minus the struggle for equality and opportunity in the workforce. Her career is no longer frowned upon or forbidden but in many cases encouraged and so making trade-offs is much easier. She is fully empowered to make choices with plenty of opportunity afforded her – which has allowed her family values to resurface in a measurable way,” said Katie May, CEO of Kidspot (parent company of SheSpot).

The survey finds today’s women are more educated, employable and employed than previous generations. Their education outstrips mens with 28% of Gen X and Y women holding bachelor’s degrees versus 21% of men. Between 1986 and 2006 the number of women in work or looking for work grew from 48% to 55% – higher for couple families with kids under 15 at 63%.

47% say their careers have met their expectations, 13% say they have exceeded them. According to the survey, although while the remaining 40% have not had their expectations met, they are pragmatic and their disappointment does not translate to stress.

The report says “she is becoming more realistic about what can be done outside the home… in most cases, something has to be sacrificed and women are now crystal clear that it won’t be family.” The charts below indicated an inverse relationship between age and career importance as well as number of children and career importance. SheSpot extrapolates women view careers as a means to an end: financial security ranks second most important to most women, personal happiness third and career at tenth.

“Australian women are among the happiest, most optimistic group around the globe. She has made peace with the fact she can’t have everything at work and at home. Today’s woman is grounded and realistic and doesn’t strive for perfection. She approaches life with a new pragmatism that probably wouldn’t have been possible without the hard work of previous generations. Women today are far more empowered to choose their path – and her path is clear with family at the heart of it,” said May.

Respondent profile

Age:

  • 18-24 (9%)
  • 25-39 (48%)
  • 40-54 (27%)
  • 55-65 (11%)
  • 65+ (3%)

Marital Status:

  • Single, never married (5%)
  • Living with partner (23%)
  • Married (61%
  • Divorced (4%)

Number of children (under the age of 18 living at home):

  • 1 child (14.9%)
  • 2 children (24.1%)
  • 3 children (21.5%)
  • 4 children (8.2%)
  • 5 or more children (2.7%)

Ages of children:

  • < 12mths (14.9%)
  • 12-23mths (9.8%)
  • 2-4 years (21.6%)
  • 5-12 years (23.3%)
  • 12-18 years (10.6%)
  • 18 years+ (18.8%)

Employment Status:

  • 66% employed
  • 34% not working

Geographical Distribution:

  • 53% in a capital city
  • 23% in a regional city with >20K but <100K people
  • 13% in a large city (>100K)
  • 12% in a city with less than 20K