Debate in the mommy wars usually focuses on what kids lose out on if their mother works. But a major new study out of the Harvard Business School flips the question to ask what they gain. It turns out, quite a bit, according to the study. Some key takeaways:
- Daughters of women who work tend to get more education and are more likely to work in supervisory jobs and thus have higher incomes than women whose moms stay at home.
- Sons of women who work help out more with child care and housework.
The study drew from data on more than 30,000 adults in two dozen countries, and the results in the US were especially pronounced: Daughters of working moms earned 23% more than those of stay-at-home moms, and their sons put in seven and a half more hours on child care per week and about a half-hour more on housework, reports the New York Times. “Part of this working mothers’ guilt has been, ‘Oh, my kids are going to be so much better off if I stay home,’ but what we’re finding in adult outcomes is kids will be so much better off if women spend some time at work,” says Kathleen McGinn, a Harvard professor and study author. The study isn't about trying to come down on one side or the other in the debate, but to move "toward a richer understanding of the relationship between work and family," writes Claire Cain Miller. (Here's what happens when a working couple has a kid.)