Daughters of working moms may get this major career benefit

Though being a working mom is extremely hard and often guilt inducing this gem of a study will bring you some good news and just in time for Mother’s Day, especially if you have a daughter. According to the study which looked at family and career data on more than 100,000 men and women and was published in the journal Work, Employment and Society, adult daughters who grew up with working moms, are more likely to be employed and if they are employed, they have bigger roles, work longer hours and make more money then their peers who had stay at home moms.

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Though being a working mom is extremely hard and often guilt-inducing this gem of a study will bring you some good news and just in time for Mother’s Day, especially if you have a daughter.

According to the study, which looked at family and career data on more than 100,000 men and women and was published in the journal Work, Employment and Society, adult daughters who grew up with working moms, are more likely to be employed and if they are employed, they have bigger roles, work longer hours and make more money then their peers who had stay at home moms.

Typical gender roles are challenged

The author of the study, Kathleen McGinn, found that just simply having a mother who is not home, but out participating in the labor force changes the perception of typical gender roles for children starting at a young age. She wrote, “Beyond shaping their sons’ and daughters’ gender attitudes, mothers provide behavioral models of skills their children can emulate (Beller, 2009).

Parents engaged in activities not traditionally associated with their genders, such as employed mothers or stay-at-home fathers, demonstrate opportunities for enacting non-traditional roles (Gupta, 2006; Olivetti et al., 2016).


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Social learning theory suggests that exposure to parents’ behaviors builds capacities children draw upon later in life (Bandura, 1977), and this exposure wields more influence than examples provided by friends, teachers and other relevant adults.”

Sons benefit too

Interestingly, the sons of working mothers did not reap the same benefits in terms of their careers but they tend to be “more engaged in family care.” McGinn wrote, “These beneficial outcomes are due at least in part to employed mothers’ conveyance of egalitarian gender attitudes and life skills for managing employment and domestic responsibilities simultaneously.”

With over 25 million working moms in the U.S. currently, this makes for a pretty promising future generation of workers and parents.

Meredith Lepore|is the Deputy Editor of Ladders and can be reached at mlepore@theladders.com.