June 26, 2015

Women benefit from having working mothers, says Harvard study

Daughters of women who work have better careers and more equal home lives, according to a new study by Harvard Business School.

The study, which analyzes data gathered from 24 countries, finds that women whose mothers worked full-time while they were growing up are more likely to be employed themselves.

Compared to other women in employment, daughters of working mothers work more hours and are more likely to be in managerial positions, according to the study. They also earn more than daughters of non-working mothers, by an average of 4%.

Outside the workplace, the study finds that men whose mothers worked spend more time caring for family members, while their female equivalents spend less time on housework.

The authors of the study write that: “Our findings reveal the potential for non-traditional gender role models to gradually erode gender inequality in homes and labor markets.”

IZA World of Labor author Daniela Del Boca has written for us about women’s increased participation in the labor market, the rise in childcare, and their effects on child development. She writes that “generous parental leave policies as well as policies that promote affordable and high-quality formal childcare are likely to have a positive impact on children’s abilities and outcomes in the near and long term.”

Read more on this story at the Guardian. The Harvard Business School working paper can be found here.

Related articles:
Childcare choices and child development by Daniela Del Boca
Policies to support women’s paid work by Gianna Claudia Giannelli
Female labor force participation in developing countries by Sher Verick
The determinants of housework time by Leslie S. Stratton

Read more IZA World of Labor articles on demography, family, and gender here