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Redefining Success: How after the Pandemic Has Ignited Women’s Ambition in the Workplace

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In recent years, the conversation surrounding women in the workplace has shifted. While there has been talk of “quiet quitting” and “lazy girl jobs,” a new study suggests that women are actually more ambitious when it comes to their careers than they were before the pandemic. This surprising finding highlights the impact of flexible work arrangements on women’s ambitions, challenging traditional notions about work-life balance and career progression.

The Power of Flexibility

The study, conducted by LeanIn.org in collaboration with McKinsey & Co., surveyed approximately 27,000 employees at 33 companies and analyzed staff demographic data from 276 companies in the U.S. and Canada. The results revealed that 81% of women expressed an interest in getting promoted, a 5-point increase from the previous year and a substantial 10-point jump from 2019. Men’s ambitions also saw a significant rise, with 82% expressing a desire for promotion compared to 74% in 2019.

The increase in ambition among women can be attributed, in part, to the flexibility offered by remote and flexible work arrangements. Rachel Thomas, the co-founder and CEO of LeanIn.org, believes that flexibility allows individuals to fully commit to both their work and personal aspirations. She states, “Flexibility allows people to be ‘both fully in it at work and fully committed to things they want to achieve outside of work.'”

The Role of Remote Work

One of the most notable findings of the study is that there was no difference in ambition between those who work remotely and those who work on-site. Despite the physical separation from the office, 80% of remote workers expressed an interest in a promotion, compared to 79% of on-site workers. This challenges the notion that remote work dampens ambition and suggests that the benefits of flexibility extend beyond physical location.

The rise of remote work has significantly impacted the work world, particularly for women. Women are now working at record levels, with increased participation in the labor force and a greater representation in leadership roles. The overwhelming majority of women and men surveyed in the study reported that remote or hybrid work arrangements made it easier to balance work and life, ultimately leading to increased efficiency and productivity.

Long-Term Effects of Remote Work

Efforts to bring workers back to the office post-pandemic have been met with resistance, as the benefits of remote work continue to be evident. Office occupancy levels are still only at around 50% compared to pre-pandemic levels, according to data from Kastle’s office swipe data. This suggests that the effects of remote work are likely to be long-term rather than temporary.

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The LeanIn study, which has been tracking the advancement of women in the workplace since 2015, reveals a slow but steady progress in gender parity. The share of women in C-suite leadership roles has increased to 28% this year, compared to just 17% in 2015. While there is still work to be done, these findings indicate that the efforts to promote gender equality in the workplace are making a difference.


The findings of the LeanIn study highlight the shifting dynamics in the workplace, particularly for women. Contrary to popular belief, women are now more ambitious in their careers than ever before. The flexibility offered by remote and flexible work arrangements has unleashed women’s ambitions, allowing them to pursue both their professional and personal goals.

As the world continues to adapt to the changes brought about by the pandemic, it is crucial to recognize and support the newfound ambition among women in the workplace. Employers should embrace flexible work arrangements and create an inclusive environment that fosters growth and advancement for all employees.

The rise of remote work has demonstrated that traditional notions of work-life balance and career progression can be challenged and redefined. It is an exciting time for women in the workplace, as they navigate new opportunities and strive for greater achievements. With continued support and investment in gender equality, we can create a future where women’s ambitions are fully realized and celebrated.


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