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Understanding the Influence of Your Mom's Career on Your Future Choices: A Guide for Teenage Girls

Understanding the Influence of Your Mom's Career on Your Future Choices: A Guide for Teenage Girls


Certainly, understanding the many factors that influence our career choices is essential for making informed decisions, and sometimes those factors stem from our family environment. A study from Harvard Business School throws light on how being raised by a working mom can shape your future, especially if you're a girl.

What The Study Says:

The Harvard study found that daughters of working mothers tend to have jobs themselves, often in supervisory roles, and generally earn higher wages compared to those whose moms stayed at home. The study spanned 24 countries and emphasized that this trend is not limited to one specific culture or society.

Why This Matters:

The researchers, led by Kathleen L. McGinn, suggest that growing up with a working mom can strongly influence your views on gender roles, both at work and at home. This implies that the way you perceive what's possible for you in the workplace is, in part, shaped by your mom's work status. Understanding this could help you recognize any unconscious beliefs or expectations you might have about your own career.

Considerations for Teenage Girls With Working Moms:

If your mom works, you may have grown up seeing her juggle both professional and household responsibilities. This model might make you more open to exploring different career paths and aiming for leadership roles. Yet it's also important to remember that correlation is not causation. Your mom's work status is one of many factors that shape you; it doesn't dictate your future.

If Your Mom Didn't Work:

Now, what if your mom didn't work outside the home? You're not alone. Many people grow up in households where moms choose to or need to stay at home. That choice, influenced by many factors like financial stability, personal preference, or societal norms, also has its impacts. It might mean you were raised with a different set of expectations around work and family life. It could also mean that you've learned other invaluable life skills, like empathy, nurturing, and conflict resolution, which are crucial in the workplace but often undervalued.

Unconscious Beliefs:

The importance of this study, especially for those whose moms did not work, is that it can shine a light on unconscious beliefs you might hold. If you've never considered certain career options or leadership roles, ask yourself why. Is it because you've never seen a woman in that position? Knowing that such biases can exist is the first step in challenging them. You have the power to defy stereotypes and make choices that align with your skills and passions.

Navigating Your Own Path:

Whether or not your mom worked outside the home, your career journey is your own. We live in an age of unprecedented opportunities. Online courses, internships, mentorship programs, and your own drive can lead you down a path that's uniquely yours. Understand that while societal norms and family circumstances can shape us, they don't define us.

Know Your Landscape:

Understanding the trends, like the ones this study points out, helps you better navigate your future. It's like being handed a map with various routes highlighted. You can choose to follow them, or you can carve out a completely new path. The most important thing is that the choice remains yours.

Your Turn:

So, how does this study make you feel? Whether your mom worked or not, the possibilities for your future are not set in stone. You have the ability to challenge old beliefs and define your own normal. It's about understanding the landscape, so you can navigate it in a way that aligns with who you are and who you want to become.

Would love to hear your thoughts. Do you think your mom's career choices have influenced you in any way? How will this knowledge shape your future career choices?

For a deeper dive, you can check out the Harvard Business Study to form your own opinions.

Next Steps

If you're a teen girl and your mom didn't work outside the home, here's what it might mean for you:

  • Challenge the Norms: Maybe you grew up with a different role model in mind, and that's okay! You have the opportunity to carve out a unique path for yourself, free from pre-set expectations.

  • Find a Mentor: Since you might not have had the workplace exposure at home, seeking a mentor in your desired field can give you valuable insights and advice that you might not get otherwise.

  • Unconscious Beliefs: You might have some ingrained beliefs about gender roles and career expectations without even realizing it. It's good to question these beliefs, especially when you're planning your own career.

Remember, this doesn't necessarily mean you're at a disadvantage; it simply means you have a different set of experiences to navigate the world with. Understanding this can empower you to tackle challenges head-on, helping you shape a career that you'll love.

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Careers That Matter provides online programs to teenagers across the globe. The organisation is based in Melbourne Australia. We have students from across Australia including Sydney, NSW 2000, Melbourne, VIC 3000, Brisbane, QLD 4000, Perth, WA 6000, Adelaide, SA 5000, Hobart, TAS 7000, Canberra, ACT 2600, Darwin, NT 0800. We also take students from The United Kingdom including London, Europe, and the United States including New York , Canada, New Zealand including Auckkland and Wellington, and Asia including Singapore and Malaysia.