This Week's Herman Trend Alert

Leadership in Normal 2.0

  The Herman Trend Alert

July 15, 2015

Role Models Promote Economic Equality

Not long ago, Harvard Business School (HBS) released a global study, titled "Gender Initiative".

The Findings were very Interesting
The daughters of women who work outside of the home before the children are 14 years old, have better career prospects. Their sons' careers did not enjoy the same boost, however, they are as likely as sons with stay-at-home mothers to hold supervisory positions and earn comparable salaries.

In the United States, the study found adult daughters of working mothers earned 23 percent more than those whose mothers had not worked during their childhoods; it meant the difference between annual average earnings of $35,474 versus $28,894. More than one-third of these women held supervisory positions, compared with just one-quarter of their counterparts from more traditional homes.

Worldwide, across all of the 24 featured developed countries, women whose mothers had worked earned 6 percent more than women who had stay-at-home moms. Men who had working mothers spent nearly twice as many hours on family and childcare (16 hours versus 8.5 hours for those with stay-at-home moms).

An Impressive Pedigree
Written by HBS professor Kathleen McGinn, HBS researcher Mayra Ruiz Castro, and Elizabeth Long Lingo, a researcher at Mt. Holyoke College, the study produced a comprehensive global report. It analyzed data of almost 50,000 adults, aged 18 to 60, in 24 nations from 2002 to 2012. These data were gathered as part of the International Social Survey Program, a multi-country program that examined social trends across developed nations.

Being raised by a working mother comes very close to eliminating gender gaps at work and at home. According to McGinn, "Women raised by a working mother do better in the workplace, and men raised by a working mother contribute more at home".

Effective Role Modeling

The old adage, "Children learn what they live" is alive and well. Having a working mother gives young women permission to achieve. They see that it is "okay and reasonable for women to go to work, and for women to be powerful, to hold supervisory responsibility and to make money. Across the 24 countries surveyed, 67 percent of women surveyed said they worked versus 82 percent of the men.

Not only do these findings help to explain why women are doing so well in today's workplace, but they also give us glimpses into a fairer future in which women hold more executive positions and give each other permission to excel. These permissions will help young women everywhere to "boldly go where few women have gone before."

Special thanks to for their recent coverage of this important topic.

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