Are you a working mom, putting yourself through school? If so, you might be interested in a recent study conducted by researchers from the Center for Women and Work at Rutgers University. I would guess that your motivations for returning to school were similar to these women's--to improve their career and to serve as role models for their children. However, once these women started back to school, there were some surprising outcomes:
· Mothers identify themselves as lifelong students and learners, when originally they did not.
· Mothers want to succeed in their programs for themselves and for their children.
· Mothers feel that they become better parents because they can assist their children with homework and serve as role models.
· Mothers gain the confidence to consider additional education.
· Mothers feel they become more self-disciplined and have greater self-direction.
I'll bet you resemble these remarks!
In case you are wondering about the value of continuing your education, the Project Working Mom report, available at firstname.lastname@example.org reports the following:
The Importance of an Educated Mother
· Thirty-nine percent of mothers are primary breadwinners earning the majority of their family's income; 62.8 percent are breadwinners or co-breadwinners earning at least a quarter of their family's income.
Source: The Center for American Progress, "The Shriver Report," October 2009.
· Seventy-one percent of women with children younger than 18 years of age are in the labor force; 76 percent work full-time. Seventy-six percent of single mothers with children younger than 18 years of age are in the labor force; 82 percent work full-time.
Source: U.S. Department of Labor, Bureau of Labor Statistics and the National Women's Law Center, "The Reality of the Workforce: Mothers are Working Outside the Home," February, 2008.
· Thirteen percent of working single mothers and their families live in poverty.
Source: U.S. Census Bureau, Current Population Survey, 2007 Annual Social and Economic Supplement, 2006 Detailed Poverty Tables, POV15.
· Americans with only a high school diploma are twice as likely to be unemployed compared to those with at least a bachelor's degree. The December unemployment rate for Americans 25 years or older with at least a bachelor's degree was 5.0 percent, while the unemployment rate for people with only a high school diploma was 10.5 percent.
Source: U.S. Department of Labor, Bureau of Labor Statistics
· In 2008, more than 70 percent of Americans aged 25 and older did not have a bachelor's degree.
Source: U.S. Census Bureau Report, Educational Attainment in the United States, 2008.
· Over the span of their working lives, on average, college graduates earn about 60 percent more than high school graduates, and graduates with advanced degrees earn two to three times more than those with only a high school diploma.
Source: College Board's Education Pays: The Benefits of Higher Education for Individuals and Society, 2007.
Keep up the hard but good work of balancing home, family, school and everything else--it will pay off in the end.
Best regards, Carol
Carol J. Williams, Ph.D.
School of Continuing Education