New Study Reveals Kids Actually Benefit From Having Working Moms
If you are a working mother, plagued with guilt that you aren't doing right by your children, there's some good news coming your way. Thanks to a new study by the International Social Survey Program of 50,000 adults in 25 countries, it seems working moms are setting up their children — particularly their daughters — for success.
Daughters of working mothers completed more years of education, were more likely to be employed and in supervisory roles, and earned higher incomes. Across the globe, 69 percent of women who had a working mom were employed, and 22 percent were supervisors, compared to 66 percent and 22 percent, respectively, of women who had a stay-at-home mom.
It also showed that women in the US with moms who worked outside the home were paid a whopping 23 percent more than those raised by stay-at-home moms.
Whether a mom worked didn't have as much influence on the careers of sons, which researchers made sure to note was expected because men are historically expected to work. However, sons of working moms did spend more time at home, roughly seven and a half more hours on child care, and 25 more minutes on housework.
"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," said Kathleen McGinn, a professor at Harvard Business School and one of the study's authors. "This is as close to a silver bullet as you can find in terms of helping reduce gender inequalities, both in the workplace and at home," she said.
It's important to note that this study counted "working moms" as any mother who was employed outside the home at any point before their child was 14 years old — it didn't discriminate how many years she worked or at what age it was in the child's life. Also, the results don't necessarily prove causation — the fact that they had working mothers might not be the reason that these women work.
Still, the results of this research — which follow a March study that revealed the amount of time spent with children has no impact on their development — should bring a sigh of relief to those working moms who are unsure of their choices.