New research shows that daughters and sons of mothers who hold at least part-time employment have an advantage as adults, both in the workplace and at home. Daughters are more likely to work outside the home, hold supervisory positions, spend fewer hours completing household chores and make a higher salary than daughters of moms who stay at home.
Sons of working mothers also spend more time conducting housework and complete an extra hour each week of childcare, eldercare or care for disabled family members than sons of stay-at-home moms.
The research does not find any significant employment differences for sons of employed mothers. These results are the product of an international study of 24 countries, including countries in North America, South America, the Middle East, Europe, Asia and Australia. Countries with stagnant gender views from 2002 to 2012, such as the United States, have even more robust results, with daughters of American working mothers having an annual median income $5,200 higher than daughters of stay-at-home moms.
Survey questions focus on maternal employment during the first 14 years of children’s lives, showing the long-term effects of working mothers in young children. Researchers suggest the differences between the children of working versus stay-at-home mothers is due to positive modeling regarding gender roles.