The One Piece of Advice Young Women Need

Don’t marry someone who won’t take your career as seriously as their own

Jessica Valenti
GEN
Published in
3 min readOct 26, 2018

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Photo: d3sign/Getty

OOne of the most important decisions American women make about their careers has nothing to do with raises, internships, or degrees — it’s about who they choose to spend their life with. The one piece of advice that young ambitious women are never told but could make all the difference: The unequal division of labor that often comes with marriage and motherhood has the potential to derail their professional ambitions and personal passions. So if you get married — particularly if you’re going to marry a man — make sure it’s someone who will take your career as seriously as his own.

The difference between a partner who supports your ambitions and one who doesn’t is so stark that Avivah Wittenberg-Cox, an expert in workplace gender issues, wrote in the Harvard Business Review last year, that women were better off staying single than marrying an unsupportive partner.

It’s harsh, but in a country where the default assumption is that a man’s work should take priority over that of his female partner’s, women taking a hardline approach to who they marry is not such a terrible idea.

Wittenberg-Cox cites a 2014 study, for example, of Harvard Business School graduates that showed the…

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Jessica Valenti
GEN
Writer for

Feminist author & columnist. Native NYer, pasta enthusiast.