The Rich Vein of Working Mothers

By Diane Newman

May. 7, 2008

Working mothers are the largest group of entrants into the workforce.

    One of their biggest challenges is balancing work and family responsibilities. Typically these women continue to care for their family’s child rearing and elder care needs. As of the early 2000s, more mothers in the U.S. are working than ever before.

    According to a Pew Research Center survey completed in July 2007, among working mothers with minor children (ages 17 and under):

  • 21 percent say full-time work is the ideal situation for them;
  • 60 percent say part-time work would be their ideal; and,
  • 19 percent say they would prefer not working at all outside the home.

    In the study, mothers most inclined to endorse their current situation as their ideal are those who work part time. Among this group, 80 percent say that part-time work is their preferred option.

    Part-time work is also the preferred option of about half (49 percent) of mothers who work full time and a third (33 percent) of mothers who don’t work outside the home.

    USA Today recently declared that “[s]avvy employers realize that labor shortages will return, making it important to reach out to this largely untapped labor pool of returning mothers.”

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