According to the U.S. Department of Labor, 70 percent of women over 18 in the workforce are moms, and 75 percent of those women are employed full time. But 41 percent of adults say the increase in working mothers is actually bad for society and children, while just 22 percent say it is good, according to the Pew Research Center. This only adds to the guilt that many working moms already face.
Of course, working mothers are role models for their children, especially since daughters get to grow up believing they can be successful too. In fact, a 2015 study by Harvard Business School confirmed there are indeed long-term benefits for children. According to the research by Kathleen McGinn and colleagues, women whose moms work outside the home are more likely to have jobs themselves, hold supervisory responsibility at those jobs and earn higher wages than women whose mothers stayed home full time.
And working mothers benefit sons too. Here's how.
1. They're more tactful communicators.
Recently, an executive argued that adult sons of working mothers tend to be "more tactful communicators," according to Fast Company. "I believe that sons of business women pick up traits and make observations that are sure to formulate their future interactions with women in the workplace, particularly with working mothers," she wrote. "From my experience, adult sons of working moms tend to be more tactful communicators."
2. They have a deeper respect for the challenges of working mothers.
The same aforementioned executive argued that adult sons of working mothers also tend to have a deeper respect for working mothers, according to Fast Company. She wrote that they "hold a more accepting view of gender equality, and have a deeper respect for the unique challenges of working mothers."
3. They have more empathy as adults.
A Harvard Business School study looked at the effects of working mothers on their children and the results suggest that sons of working moms tend to have more empathy as adult males and care about others more. Maybe that's because a Journal of Marriage and Family 2015 study indicated that working mothers spend more quality time with their children. Moms who work and moms who stay at home both spend equal time with their kids, but working moms spent more quality time with them to develop traits like empathy.
4. They marry working women, too.
According to the same Harvard study, sons of working moms also tend to marry women who work.
5. They perform better in school.
The fact is that when mothers work, children tend to do better in school. There are a wealth of studies that suggest that kids of working moms do better both academically and behaviorally in school. For example, a 2010 meta-analysis of 69 studies over 50 years found that, in general, children whose mothers worked when they were young had no real learning, behaviorial or social problems, and they had less depression and anxiety.
6. They contribute to household chores more.
When boys are raised by working mothers, they grow up to be more likely to contribute to household chores and spend more time caring for family members. In fact, they spend an additional 17 minutes more per week on housework, which increases women’s labor force involvement and could help stabilize marriages, according to The New York Times.
7. They care for family members more.
Men raised by working mothers are also more likely to spend more time caring for family members, according to the same research. They spend an additional hour each week caring for family. —AnnaMarie Houlis
A version of this post previously appeared on Fairygodboss, a leading career community that helps women get the inside scoop on pay, corporate culture, benefits and work flexibility. Founded in 2015, Fairygodboss offers company ratings, job listings, discussion boards and career advice.