A study shows that daughters whose mothers work end up more successful than women with stay-at-home moms, and sons who grew up with a mother who works grow up to be more "useful" around the house.
Women do not have to stay at home full time to be able to raise successful children, said co-author Kathleen McGinn, professor at Harvard Business School. “Part of this working mothers' guilt has been, 'Oh, my kids are going to be so much better off if I stay home,' but what we're finding in adult outcomes is kids will be so much better off if women spend some time at work,” she said.
She authored the study with researcher Mayra Ruiz Castro and practitioner Elizabeth Long Lingo. The Harvard University study is unpublished.
For the study, data was gathered from 50,000 adults by analyzing surveys from the International Social Survey Programme. Additional data was also gathered about employment opportunities and gender inequalities across countries.
Who does the study consider as working mothers? Any mother who was employed outside of the home, in any span of time, at any point before her child was 14 years old. It also did not matter how long she was employed.
“We weren’t interested in whether your mom was an intense professional, but rather whether you had a role model who showed you that women work both inside and outside the home,” said McGinn.
Across 25 countries, the researchers found that 69% of women whose moms worked were employed, and 22% held supervisory positions compared to 66% and 22%, respectively, of those with stay-at-home moms.
Having a mom who was employed had no apparent effect on men’s wages, but women who were raised by one had higher incomes than women whose moms stayed at home full time.
The good news for sons of working mothers, however, was that they were more likely to do household chores and spend time caring for their families -- an additional hour a week caring for family members, and 17 minutes more on doing chores.
“I think for both mothers and for fathers, working both inside and outside the home gives your kids a signal that contributions at home and at work are equally valuable, for both men and women. In short, it’s good for your kids,” McGinn said.
Sources: May 15, 2015. "Mounting Evidence of Advantages for Children of Working Mothers". nytimes.com May 15, 2015. "Kids Benefit From Having A Working Mom". forbes.com May 18, 2015. "New Study Reveals Kids Actually Benefit From Having Working Moms". popsugar.com