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Working Moms=Successful Daughters

Daughters of working mothers have more successful in the workplace than those of stay-at-home moms, a study shows.

| BY Kent McDill

Perhaps it makes sense that working mothers would feel some sense of guilt regarding the upbringing of their children while they are actively employed.

But a study by the Harvard Business School, using data gathered in two dozen countries, shows that daughters of working mothers are more likely to be employed, more likely to hold positions of authority, and earn more money than daughters of women who do not work outside the home.

The data also shows that sons of working mothers are more likely to do household chores and spend more time caring for their own family members than are the sons of stay-at-home mothers.

So, while there may be some initial guilt related to leaving children to work, mothers in the workplace do seem to provide some leadership that benefits their children in the future.

The most surprising data, according to study lead author Kathleen McGinn, a professor at Harvard Business School, is that being raised by a working mother led to a supervisor role for that woman’s female children.

“We did expect that it would affect employment, but we didn’t expect that it would affect supervisory responsibility,’’ McGinn said.

The data showed a 4.5 percent increase in the likelihood the daughter of an employed mother would be employed compared to stay-at-home moms. The data is considered to be 99 percent valid, so that the 4.5 percent increase is more significant.

By taking the statistical effect of beliefs regarding gender role out of the study, the researchers found that 33 percent of daughters of working mothers held supervisory roles in the workplace, compared to just 25 percent of daughters of stay-at-home moms.

“What I take away is that employed mothers create an atmosphere in which their children’s attitudes on what is appropriate for girls to do and what is appropriate for boys to do is affected,’’ McGinn said. “When you go to work, you are helping your children understand that there are lots of opportunities for them.”

While there was no statistical difference between sons of working mothers and sons of stay-at-home moms in terms of workplace success, data showed that sons of working mothers spent one hour more per week caring for family members than sons of stay-at-home moms.

About the Author

Kent McDill

Kent McDill is a staff writer for Millionaire Corner. McDill spent 30 years as a sports writer, working for United Press International and the Daily Herald of Arlington Heights, Ill. From 1988-1999, he covered the Chicago Bulls for the Daily Herald, traveling with them every day through the nine-month season. He also covered the Bulls for UPI from 1985-88, and currently covers the team for He has written two books on the Bulls, including the new title “100 Things Bulls Fans Should Know And Do Before They Die’, published by Triumph Books. In August 2013, his new book “100 Things Bears Fans Should Know And Do Before They Die” gets published.

In 2008, he resigned from the Herald and became a freelance writer. The Herald hired him to write business features and speeches for the Daily Herald Business Conferences and Awards presentations.

McDill also writes a monthly parenting column for the Herald’s Suburban Parent magazine.

McDill is the father of four children, and an active fan of soccer, Jimmy  Buffett and all things Disney.