Working Mothers Hardest Hit By Recession

Women with children are more likely to report budget cuts and longer work hours.

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A new study from Citi found that the recession is taking a big toll on working moms: Over half of the 1,000-plus women surveyed reported working longer hours, while just one in four women without children and one in three men reported doing so. Meanwhile, working moms have also adjusted their spending more than other groups: Three in four said their habits are forever changed, compared to six in 10 women without children. In fact, more than half of women with children said they've put off buying a car or other big-ticket item and 52 percent said they've tapped into savings to make ends meet. One in three said they're headed back to school in order to ultimately improve their job prospects.

Lisa Caputo, chief executive of Women & Co., the arm of Citi that focuses on women, puts a positive spin on the findings: "It is heartening to also see positive developments emerge, such as more women with children returning to school in order to improve their long-term opportunities," she says.

Another interesting discovery is that high-earning women have also scaled back their spending: Seven in 10 women who earn more than $100,000 said they've cut back on daily expenses. Three in 10 women in that same demographic said they're worse off compared to a year ago.

So what explains working mothers' challenges? This survey doesn't get at the "why" behind these numbers, but there are many possible reasons: Working moms may earn less money to begin with, face higher expenses for their families, and already have faced tight budgets, even before the recession began, leaving them more vulnerable to the ups and downs of the economy.

Are you a working mom? How has the recession affected you?