A major study by Harvard University shows the daughters of working mothers enjoy better careers, higher pay and more equal relationships than those raised by stay-at-home mothers as highlighted in the Guardian today.
Sons also fared better with sons of working mothers taking a greater share of parenting and other household care roles.
“Our analyses find that sons raised by an employed mother are more involved at home as adults, spending more time caring for family members than men whose mothers stayed home full-time,” the study reported.
What I found particularly of note was that Harvard Business School professor Kathleen McGinn, lead author of the study, noted that the effect on daughters’ careers of mothers working was particularly marked in the UK and US, where public attitudes to career equality could be more of a barrier than in some European countries such as Finland and Denmark.
“It is hoped that the findings of the research will promote respect for the spectrum of choices women and men make at home and at work.” McGinn said.
Ultimately what is right for one parent is not necessarily right for another. The time in your career when you have your children, the nature of your work versus your partners regarding flexibility and travel demands, your career aspirations versus your partner and your ability to juggle and manage the emotional and practical needs of your family versus your business are all things to be considered.
Doing the work you LOVE is also key.
But what is good to add into the mix is the knowledge that children benefit from exposure to role models offering a wide set of alternatives and that while many working mothers I speak to say they often feel guilty and miss their children whilst at work, the reality is that their sons and daughters appear to thrive, with daughters benefiting most from the positive role model of a mother with a career.
Read the full Guardian article here.
I am a strong believer that #Mothersmakegreatleaders and that mothers (and fathers) can draw on the skills honed in raising their families to great effect in the workplace. Numerous studies and view points now recognise that having a more equal balance of men and women in decision making positions who embrace and operate from a place of complementary masculine and feminine attributes and energies not only makes a more normal and natural state of affairs for businesses than one that is very male dominated (see Helena Morrissey’s recent comments) but greater diversity on boards and top executive teams helps deliver positive economic performance and organizational health too.*
Having a study that also backs up the benefits to children of having a working mother is another boost for women who want to fulfil their potential and for possibly their husbands who may feel that “one of you” needs to be at home. It looks like our children are more open to flexibility than we realise – perhaps its time our attitudes and businesses become the same.