Study finds that daughters benefit when moms work (?)
A feminist conclusion and an improbable one so I decided to look into it. I had a pretty good idea of what would be wrong with the finding but I wanted to be sure. I learned that the finding was from a working paper which had an inoperative link to it. So it certainly has not been peer reviewed and may have already been taken down in response to criticism. Not encouraging!
If ever it resurfaces, I expect to find social class variables, including IQ, to have been very poorly controlled for, if at all. So it could be (for instance) that the small effect observed --
"daughters of employed mothers are 4.5% more likely to be employed themselves than are the daughters of stay-at-home mothers"
-- was due to smarter women being more likely to be in the workforce. And smarter women pass that IQ on to their daughters genetically, who also find workforce access attractive. The effect could have been an IQ effect only, in other words, with mother's occupation as such being epiphenomenal (irrelevant).
I am used to crap research like that. It is all too common when Leftist politics are involved. I have had many critiques published in the academic journals about politically convenient but artifactual findings
Harvard professor Kathleen McGinn believes that many working mothers feel more guilt than necessary. As the leader of a study released this May from Harvard Business School’s new Gender Initiative, she found that daughters of working mothers are more likely to be employed, work more hours, and earn higher wages than women whose mothers stayed home full time. The study, which examined data from 24 countries and 20,000 people, also found that women whose mothers worked are more likely to hold supervisory positions. For men, having a working mother didn’t seem to affect their professional fortunes, the researchers found, but those whose mothers worked do spend more hours each week caring for family members.
McGinn says working moms should feel good about the models they’re setting for their children. “For a long time we’ve been told that being home is the best thing for our kids,” she says. But that may not actually be the case. “Working moms affect their children’s gender attitudes, their beliefs about what is ‘right’ and ‘normal’ for women. They learn that it’s reasonable for women to work and for men to be involved at home.” They also do as well, if not better, at school, both in terms of academic achievement and behavior, as kids whose mothers stay home, McGinn says, citing a 2010 study published in Psychological Bulletin by Rachel G. Lucas-Thompson.
Of course, many parents have no choice but to work — the United States is the only industrialized country that does not mandate paid maternity leave — and for many mothers there is no alternative to earning a living. But to talk to local women in families where one parent could afford to stay home is to see a world where women continue to wrestle with their choices.
Working and raising kids is inevitably a juggling act. “I feel like I’m treading water a lot of the time,” says Megan Pesce, an Acton mother of two boys, ages 8 and 11, and an interior designer. “It can be overwhelming to wear both hats. I sometimes wonder if am I doing well enough in both jobs, or just average.” But Pesce, 41, always knew she wanted to have a career.
Pesce’s mother worked the night shift as a nurse when she and her two younger brothers were growing up. “My mom was a single mother who worked out of necessity. She got her master’s degree and became a forensic nurse,” says Pesce. “She helped me realize how valuable I can be. I don’t know if I would have had the confidence to do this without her example.”
Pesce does billing at night and often has client appointments in the evenings; her husband, an entrepreneur, is instrumental in keeping the household running. “I want to be around my kids as much as possible,” she says. “I go to their sports practices and games. They understand that I work, but they know that family is very important.”
A mother who chooses to stay home can face a different struggle: the challenge of raising a family on one income. Yet for Cambridge mother Kerry McDonald, it’s a sacrifice worth making. McDonald, 38, ran a successful corporate training consulting company. “Throughout my pregnancy, I could not have imagined that I wouldn’t go back to work. My work was my baby,” she recalls. “I thought I’d take a few months off. Then I found myself feeding my daughter on demand, wearing her in a sling, being responsive to her cries, and I realized that I wanted to be there to meet all of her needs.”
McGinn notes that amid all the change in the modern workplace, parents have found ways to remain present. “The number of hours parents spend with their children has remained steady since the 1960s. . . . Back then mothers weren’t sitting around playing blocks with their kids all day. They were doing everything around the house and the kids were off outside,” she says.
That may mean that, despite having parents who may struggle to be everywhere at once, kids themselves are getting just as much attention. “The total number of hours parents spend with kids now includes fathers, who are more involved than ever,” McGinn says. “And when working mothers are with their children, their time together is more focused.”
SOURCE (Some anecdotes omitted)