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Working mothers have good effect on children

Working mothers have a positive influence on their children later in life, a new study has suggested.

Researchers from Harvard Business School analysed data from over 50,000 adults from 25 different countries and found that mothers who work have daughters who are more educated and earn more money than their peers with stay-at-home mothers.

Sixty nine per cent of women who grew up with a working mother were employed and 22 per cent were supervisors, whereas those whose mothers did not had a 66 per cent employment rate, with 18 per cent working at the supervisor level. Employed women with a working mother earned an average of six per cent more than other women featured in the study.

The effect was not limited to daughters. While sons of working mothers did not see a difference in their career prospects, they were more likely to contribute to child care and other domestic duties. Each week they spent an extra hour taking care of their own children and 17 minutes longer doing housework than men whose mothers did not have a job.

These findings varied between the different countries. In the United States, the differences were much more pronounced than the average. Women with working mothers earned as much as 23 per cent more, and sons spent seven and a half hours more on child care each week.

Harvard Business School professor Kathleen McGinn was the author of the study. She said it demonstrated “as close to a silver bullet as you can find in terms of helping reduce gender inequalities, both in the workplace and at home”.

For a long time, many mothers have thought that their children would be better off if they stayed at home, and have felt guilty as a result, McGinn said. However, “what we’re finding in adult outcomes is kids will be so much better off if women spend some time at work”.

The blog team at Stowe is a group of writers based across our family law offices who share their advice on the wellbeing and emotional aspects of divorce or separation from personal experience. As well as pieces from our family law solicitors, guest contributors also regularly contribute to share their knowledge.

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  1. Rachel says:

    Which is why the courts must stop the total inequality with which they treat women in the courts. At the moment, women who have worked hard and maintained a career throughout motherhood are expected to provide the lions share financially and pastorally post-divorce. Women who don’t strive to work are absolved of all financial responsibility, often for life and receive large spousal maintenance payments.

    The Courts should treat everyone the same, they should not treat working Mums and non-working Mums differently. If they expect me to work post-divorce, they should expect the non-working Mums to work too. All spousal maintenance payments should be focused entirely on what it will take to get somebody back to work, not provide them with a meal ticket for life.

  2. Bolchedik says:

    I don’t disagree with this.

    But the problem is that England’s patriarchal employers (and the courts and judges in their employ) still hate working mothers, just as much as they hate caregiving fathers. And the solicitors do everything they can to maintain this double-edged inequality.

    • (Dr.) Nigel Miles says:

      Well said. A very balanced view. Not always recognised by the Courts. Good thing Judges are not scientists…

  3. Luke says:

    I’d be very wary in taking much from a source like this because it has a specific agenda. Kathleen McGinn is after all the author.
    For instance have they factored in socio-economic status ?
    I suspect not.
    Children of reasonably well off educated stay at home mothers (i.e. where they are doing so by choice) are in my experience doing very well indeed.
    Have they factored in how many children these daughters are having compared to their parents ?
    I very strongly suspect not.
    Having children at well below replacement level and being rapidly replaced by strong religious groups and immigration may or may not be seen as a problem, it depends on your point of view.

  4. Dr. Kirui says:

    I agree with Rachel on this all of this should be factored when looking at a divorce case.

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