Chicago Tribune

YOUNG WOMEN AND STUBBORN STEREOTYPESCT

02.25.14

Working does not disrupt the bond between mothers and their children. A National Institute of Child Health and Human Development study of day care found “no significant differences in attachment” between kids in day care and kids at home.”

Ellen Galinsky, president of the Families and Work Institute, surveyed 1,023 children in grades three through 12. She found that the kids gave their working mothers high marks for their parenting. Only 10 percent wished for more time with their mothers.

We need to tell a new story to young women. It may not be easy to combine a good job with family life, but millions of women do it and lead happy, productive lives. Heather Boushey, chief economist of the Center for American Progress, notes that married, high-achieving women are as likely to have had children by ages 36 to 40 as are all other married women who work full time. And women 28 to 36 years old with advanced degrees who earn more than $55,000 are as likely to be happily married and have children as women who earn less.

Young women today are going to lead very long lives and will need to support themselves — and perhaps their families — for many years. New research finds that women who take low-level “mommy hours” jobs wind up not getting the flexibility they seek. That goes to higher-level employees who are more valued.

We have to be very careful not to sabotage young women’s careers with bogus scare stories before they can even get started. Setting their sights too low can put them in financial distress down the road.

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