More Women Give Up on 'Having It All'

NEW YORK (TheStreet) — Can working woman "have it all" in the workplace and home?

Maybe not. Many women have given up thinking it's an option.

Exhibit "A" for that case is a study from Seattle-based Fierce saying that 70% of U.S. working woman call trying to achieve a satisfying work/life balance "a major cause of stress."

For decades ads have said women in the workplace could have it all, and that it was all a matter of having the right clothes, car or cup of yogurt.

Maybe working women were buying that pitch 20 years ago, but today the majority seem to see "having it all" as a false promise and a goal destined to go unfulfilled. To think otherwise risks "taking a serious toll" on women's health, the Fierce study claims, with the fallout leading to depression, weight gain and loss of sleep.

The problem is so pervasive that one in five of all U.S. women leave high-salary, high- pressure jobs for lower-paying posts with a clear path to a better life balance.

The study shows women wrestling with the work/life balance, with more negative perceptions than positive ones on the issue:

  • Only 19% of working women say they already "have it all."
  • 49% of survey respondents do not believe the concept of "having it all" is realistic.
  • 83% say a fulfilling relationship with a partner is the most important attribute of "having it all" …
  • … and 27% say" "having enough personal time" was least important.
  • 37% say insufficient funds and/or monetary security were the primary obstacle in the pursuit of a genuinely positive work-life balance.

Companies that don't deal with women's increasingly negative perceptions of balancing career and a good home life risk alienating female career professionals, Fierce says.

"As a society we intuitively feel that our lives, and especially the lives of working women, are too stressful, and the data from this survey reinforces this notion," says Halley Bock, president and CEO of Fierce. "This is becoming a critical business issue because successful leaders simply can't optimally compete if one out of every five talented women in their organization is walking out the door because of inadequate work/life balance."

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