When it comes to career aspirations, young women between the ages of 18 and 34 have surpassed their male counterparts.

A recent survey from the Pew Research Center finds 66 percent of young women rate career high on their list of life priorities compared with 59 percent of men in the same age range.

“Women have made tremendous gains in terms of higher education attainment and I think that they’re just feeling more optimistic and more qualified to go out and get a high paying job,” said Kim Parker, Associate Director of Pew Social and Demographic Trends Project. “There has been a sharp decline in marriage among younger couples. There are many women in this age category who are not married, who are ready to start working and are thinking that they are going to have to provide for themselves at least for a little while. Men were hit very hard during the recession too. I think many women are realizing that they can take care of themselves rather than rely on a man for financial support.”

At the same time women are focusing so hard on their careers, they are not willing to give at all when it comes to marriage and parenthood,” said Parker. “In fact, those two things are still much more important to both men and women than career success.”

In 1997, 56 percent of women ages 18 to 34 said their career was a top priority compared with 58 percent of young men. The past 15 years also have seen an increase in the share of middle-aged and older women who say being successful in a high-paying career is one of the most important things in their lives. Today, 42 percent of the women ages 35 to 64 say this compared with 43 percent of men in the same age group.