Working mothers raise more successful daughters and empathetic sons

The study, which was conducted by Kathleen McGinn and her colleagues for Harvard Business School, based their research around one question: “Did your mother ever work for pay, after you were born and before you were 14?”

This means working mothers, for the purposes of this study, don’t have to be career professionals. Mothers who work part-time, or temporarily, still benefit their children, reports.

In their study of the International Social Survey Programme and the results of two surveys called “Family and Changing Gender Roles,” conducted in 2002 and 2012, the group found that working mothers may be doing a far better job than they thought.

The study also revealed that men with mothers who worked outside the home are just as likely to hold supervisory positions in their adult life as those with stay-at-home moms. Women with mothers who worked outside the home, however, are more likely to supervise others at work.

Being raised by a mother who worked outside the home had no effect on a man’s adult income, but women raised by working mothers had a higher income than their peers whose mothers stayed home full-time.

Women raised by a working mother spent more time, on average, with their children than those raised by stay-at-home mothers.

McGinn reassures working mothers that they’re doing the family, as a whole, a lot of good.

“There’s a lot of potential guilt about having both parents working outside the home. But what this research says to us is that not only are you helping your family economically — and helping yourself professionally and emotionally if you have a job you love — but you’re also helping your kids.”