When should mothers run for Congress? Here’s what voters say

Men more like to say women should have children early in their careers

Florida’s Debbie Mucarsel-Powell, center, with her daughter, Siena, at a campaign event in Miami last November. Also pictured are fellow Democrats Donna E. Shalala, left, and Mary Barzee Flores. (Tom Williams/CQ Roll Call file photo)

For the first time in history, the slate of candidates vying for the Democratic presidential nomination includes six women — five of them mothers. The groundbreaking freshman class of the 116th Congress also contains a record number of women, many with young children.

At a time when more mothers are going into politics, a recent Pew study asked Americans about the best time for a female politician to have children during her career.

[This Father’s Day, the presidential candidates with babies are men]

The results were mixed: 51 percent of the 4,587 U.S. adults surveyed last summer thought women should have children early in their careers, before entering politics, while 26 percent said women should wait until they are established in their careers, and another 19 percent advised not having children at all.

Male respondents were more likely to say women should have children early in their careers. The study did not find a significant partisan divide in views between respondents who were Democrats or leaned Democratic, and respondents who were Republican or leaned Republican.

The study did find a notable generational difference among women: 60 percent of women 65 or older said women should have children before entering politics, while only 30 percent of women ages 18-29 said the same.

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