Male managers are the greatest ally of working mothers, according to a study on the advancement of women in the workforce.
Among all of the groups surveyed for the study What Moms Think: Career versus Paycheck, male managers - regardless of whether they have children - hold the most favourable perceptions of working mothers. Additionally, in a number of circumstances, male managers hold more positive perceptions than working mothers do.
According to the study, which surveyed more than 4,600 men and women, more male managers agree that working mums are likely to take on additional work (+6 per cent); will travel for work (+10 per cent); are committed to career advancement (+8 per cent) and would relocate if called on to do so (+15 per cent).
However, the expectations of male managers differ when it comes to family responsibilities.
"While male managers may be strong workplace advocates for working mothers, their social views stand in stark contrast," the report states. "For example, 51 per cent feel that one parent should stay at home to care for children. However, with today's economic realities and preferences, just one in five of today's families meets this mould."
Not surprisingly, working men who are fathers have favourable perceptions about the contributions of working mothers. However, working men who are not fathers have far less favourable perceptions.
"Compared to fathers, men without children rate working mothers as far less likely to be committed to career advancement; take on additional work; be committed to job responsibilities; be willing to do whatever it takes to get the job done; reliably deliver quality work and be prepared for a promotion," the report states.
Additionally, working women with no children share some of the men's harsher views of working mothers.
"These judgments are the kind working mums dread," the report states. "Our survey shows that career-orientated working mothers fear their colleagues and managers question their commitment."
The study also revealed that career-orientated working mothers feel more respected at home compared to women who work solely for financial reasons. The career-orientated women also said their spouses are more helpful in caring for children and managing the household.
"We learned that mums who view work as a career feel more satisfied, healthy and fulfilled on almost every measure - on both work and the home front - than mums who say they work for primarily financial reasons, regardless of their salary level," said the president of Working Mother Media, Carol Evans.