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Women’s Career Trajectories Can Be a Model for an Aging Workforce

Executive Summary

Especially as life spans and careers get longer, we hear more about careers with two phases: A steady, effortful climb upward towards commercial success, and then a second phase dedicated to service to others. But for many women, the reality is exactly the reverse. It’s the first half of their lives that is spent balancing professional growth with serving and caring for a variety of others — often children and family — and the second half that affords them the possibility of prioritizing their own voices and ambitions. Many younger women feel trapped while in the first stage; for them, the existence of the second is welcome news. And as men’s career paths begin to look more like women’s, businesses and policy makers will need to take this alternative pattern into account for all their employees by extending flexible and part-time policies to the growing number of over-50

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