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in brief: working mothers benefit daughters’ career prospects


Thanks Mum: a Harvard University study has found the daughters of mothers employed in paid work are themselves paid more and have better career opportunities.

Researchers surveyed people from 24 countries, including Australia, to deliver the result smashing social stereotypes of paid work away from the home being detrimental to a child’s upbringing.

‘In addition to transmitting gender attitudes across generations, mothers’ employment teaches daughters a set of skills that enable greater participation in the workforce and in leadership positions,’ the Guardian reports the “Mums the Word!” study states.

Daughters of employed mothers were paid on average 4% more than peers and were more likely to hold managerial positions, with researchers observing this in spite of factoring in male business cultures and increased access to education.

One in three daughters of working mothers ascended to managerial positions, compared to one in four of those whose mothers did not work.

These career-based outcomes were but a few of numerous of benefits, including daughters of working mothers having ‘more equal relationships’.

Sons of working mothers were also more likely to participate in household chores and provide care to family members.

‘We hope the findings from our research will promote respect for the spectrum of choices women and men make at home and at work,’ the report states.

‘Whether moms [sic] or dads stay at home or are employed, part-time or full-time, children benefit from exposure to role models offering a wide set of alternatives for leading rich and rewarding lives.’

The Harvard study compliments and builds upon previous studies showing no detriment to children by their mothers engaging in paid employment.

The Mums the Word researchers also called for improved government policies to support mothers working full- and part-time.

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