These job ideals also influence a student's field of study. Those who value making money are more likely to major in business or economics (typically men). Those who place more value on flexibility and don't mind lower pay are more likely to major in the humanities (typically women). At every Ivy League school in the country, men are 50 times more likely to major in economics than women.
A Harvard Business School survey found that most of its high-achieving female graduates actually failed to meet the career goals they set for themselves prior to graduation. While many hoped to be in marriages where their career was valued as much as their husband's, more often than not, the couple ended up prioritizing the husband's career.
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However, women in the United States report being happy in their careers more often than men do. Researchers concluded this is likely because women choose jobs with fewer hours and more flexibility. Women also report being more satisfied with work than men are overall.
Wealthy American men work longer hours than most full-time middle class employees in the country, and they work longer hours than wealthy men in other countries. This tends to have an inverse relationship with their happiness. Seven of the 10 happiest countries in the world are in Europe, where the majority of people work fewer hours than Americans.
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We know the wage gap can be attributed to the values gap, but it can be difficult to pinpoint the precise cause of the values gap. It seems that women are choosing careers based on having enough flexibility to care for the family they don't yet have, and men are choosing careers based on having enough income to provide for the family they don't yet have. American men and women are essentially making career choices based on the cultural expectations of our society.
One thing in all of this is very clear: affluent American men are working any number of hours it takes to get rich, and while their wages might reflect these long work weeks, their overall happiness does not.