ADVERTISEMENT
See Inside March 2007

Breaking the Mold

A Real Family Value: Mothers who work outside the home

In the 19th-century U.S., finding a mother of young children who worked was rare. The big exception was black mothers, many of whom were employed as domestics. That situation has changed, most likely because the economy since the early 20th century began creating an increasing number of white-collar jobs that could help support a more affluent way of life. The movement of mothers out of the home and into offices and shops happened all over the Western world, with some countries such as Austria, Belgium and the Netherlands substantially exceeding the U.S. in the proportion of mothers with very young children in the workforce.

Folk wisdom has long held that working mothers do severe harm to their children, and indeed one academic, University of Alberta chemist Gordon Freeman, claimed in a 1990 article in the Canadian Journal of Physics that they inflict "serious psychological damage" on their children, leading to teenage sex, drug use and other problems.

This is only a preview. Get the rest of this article now!

Select an option below:

Customer Sign In

*You must have purchased this issue or have a qualifying subscription to access this content


It has been identified that the institution you are trying to access this article from has institutional site license access to Scientific American on nature.com.
Click here to access this article in its entirety through site license access.

Share this Article:

Comments

You must sign in or register as a ScientificAmerican.com member to submit a comment.
Scientific American Holiday Sale

Black Friday/Cyber Monday Blow-Out Sale

Enter code:
HOLIDAY 2014
at checkout

Get 20% off now! >

X

Email this Article

X