A report by the Centre for Appearance Research at the University of West of England says mums inadvertently pressurise their daughters into believing they can combine a successful career, motherhood and body image.
It says mothers 'transmit' fears to their daughters about their weight and appearance which can in turn affect their career prospects.
Hmmm....Do you recognise this mother? Most of the mums we know have a realistic and relaxed view about parenting and are nothing like the over-anxious tiny minority of super-pushy helicopter tiger mothers.
But the UWE report claims to have found differently – and has received the backing of Liberal Democrat Minister for Women Jo Swinson, who wrote in the foreword for the report that it 'shines a welcome light' on the pressures that young women face.
She said: "This report shines a welcome light on what happens to girls' aspirations and confidence when they are constantly distracted by how they appear to others.
"There is a lot of focus on the anxiety poor body image causes to young people, but much less attention on how its effects can spill out across all areas of life.
"This report forces us to consider how much creativity, energy and ambition would be unlocked if we could relieve girls from the unwavering, critical scrutiny of a society obsessed with a narrow and unrealistic ideal of beauty."
And according to the report, released today, it's mothers who are to blame.
It says they are trapping their daughters 'in a circle of appearance anxiety and body distress'.
And it suggests this 'distress' could be preventing about 200,000 girls from seeking a career in business.
The report says: "Today there is a cultural rhetoric of girls and women 'having it all'. These exhortations impinge on girls and on mothers in ways that create excitement and anxiety."They make it sound as though women can have it all. This is unrealistic and sets up expectations in complex ways within the mother daughter relationship and in women in general. It may include a mother's inadverten