Girls With Working Mothers Earn More

By: Lauren Mineau

A mother is arguably the biggest influence in a little girl’s life. A 2018 survey by the journal Work, Employment and Society found that the children of working mothers versus the children of stay-at-home moms lead different lives.

The study, which surveyed family and career data on more than 100,000 working parents, found that girls who grew up with a working mother had better, higher paying jobs.

The survey found that daughters, but not sons, of working mothers were more likely to hold supervisory roles than peers who had non-working mothers. At home, sons raised by working mothers were more likely to spend more time caring for family members than sons with stay-at-home mother – almost twice as much. In fact, sons with working mothers spent about 16 hours a week doing housework compared to 8.5 hours for those with a non-working mother.

A 2015 research paper by the same team put some numbers to these ideas. According to that research, in the United States, adult daughters of working mothers earned 23 percent more than those whose mothers didn’t work while they grew up. By comparison, those with working mothers earned an annual average income of $35,474 compared to $28,894, respectively. Over 33 percent held supervisory positions, compared to roughly 25 percent of daughters of stay-at-home moms.

“These findings imply that denying women the opportunity to pursue fulfilling careers outside the home is counterproductive – not only for the future of their children but for society as a whole,” said Harvard Business School professor Robin Ely, the Gender Initiative’s faculty director and the School’s Senior Associate Dean for Culture and Community, in a news release.