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The Boss's Daughter and your work life balance

Dad_daughter(3) Most of us working mothers still hold out hope that our boss will be understanding of the pull between work and family and that they will pay us as well as our male counterparts. If you have a male boss, you are going to want to check out the family photos in his office, notes blogger Vivia Chen.

A new study found men's attitudes about working women are affected by the gender of their kids.

A report by the Columbia Business School (hat tip: The Juggle at The Wall Street Journal), about a study that looked at the salaries of over 700,000 workers at 6,230 firms in Denmark. It found  male CEOs with daughters tend to treat female employees more fairly. (The research was conducted by David Gaddis Ross of Columbia, Michael Dahl of Aalborg University in Denmark, and Cristian Dezsö of the University of Maryland.) Denmark is a gold mine for this type of study, because it maintains detailed demographic statistics about its workforce.

The study found a short time after male CEOs had daughters, women’s wages rose relative to men’s, shrinking the gender wage gap at their firms. The birth of a son, in contrast, had no effect on the wage gap. Researcher Ross says: "It follows that CEOs may be more apt to see their more educated women employees as resembling a possible future incarnation of their daughters."

Chen, whose blog, The Careerist ,runs on the lawjobs.com site, says several women lawyers she spoke with aren't convinced that men with daughters are more sympathetic to female employees. "It should be true in theory, but I don't see it in my experience,"  one New York associate told her, adding that partners who have adult daughters in the workforce might be a bit more sensitive toward female employees.

Another associate told Chen the real focus should be on the wives, not the daughters. "[Male partners] whose wives work [outside the home] make better supervisors than men whose wives don't," she says.

Personally, I've had male boss's with kids, without kids and I had a male boss with four daughters. I'm not convinced the daughter thing made a difference. But I do think the most fair and understanding male bosses are those whose wives work in demanding jobs.  

Readers, do you find that male bosses with daughters treat women more equitably? What's your experience?

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