Some of the news articles described and linked to in this post are clearly inspiring but others may surprise and alarm you. They aspire to broaden our perspective and understanding of single parents and their experiences worldwide.
If you have trouble getting to these links, feel free to email me at firstname.lastname@example.org and I’ll send PDFs of them to you.
The competitive labor market has driven an increase in employment among single mothers without college degrees since 2015 in the United States. Growth in nursing and order fulfillment in warehouses is offsetting the decline in retail and administrative opportunities. Many single mothers are joining the workforce because of concerns about federal program funding and minimum wage increases and mandated paid leave — or the movement toward them — on the state level. Other factors fueling their participation include Medicare expansion under the Affordable Care Act as well as increased funding in pre-kindergarten programs and childcare assistance.
The Delhi secretariat, the seat of government in India, plans to add a crèche, or nursery, for its government employees with young children. This initiative is expected to increase their productivity as it relieves married and single parents of anxiety surrounding their children’s care. The inclusion of crèches in work environments also occurred during the recent Cannes Film Festival in France. Women returning to the festival as mothers of young children expressed their support for such day care to the organizers, who responded by offering the children their own VIP experience.
This article does not refer specifically to single mothers, but it does explore the backlash women are suffering in their pursuit of education and employment. As women become empowered and financially independent, many husbands and boyfriends feel that they are losing power in their relationships, said Varalakshmi Vemuru, a lead social development specialist at the World Bank. This perceived power imbalance has resulted in violence toward women — sometimes murder. However, World Bank officials contend that these short-term problems are an unfortunate outcome of women’s economic empowerment programs that allow women and their children to leave abusive relationships and lead productive lives in the long term.
A group of single parents who opposed a cap to state benefits in the United Kingdom lost a recent challenge in the Supreme Court. They argued that this cap left families unable to pay for basic necessities, particularly housing, effectively breaching their human rights. As such, they requested that single parents be exempt from the cap because of the residual complication of securing employment and childcare. However, the court disagreed despite recognizing the challenges, debilitating at times, that single parents endure. It insisted that the cap had merit, which the article failed to expand upon, as part of an overall campaign and would not apply if the single parent found employment. The Catch 22 is glaringly evident. “While failing to achieve its aim of getting such lone parents into work because of those wider obstacles they face, the cap, in the words of the court, ‘push[es] a family well below the poverty line.’ We continue to believe that the cap is structurally flawed and that pushing families who can’t work deeper into poverty is totally unacceptable,” said Carla Clarke, head of strategic litigation for the Child Poverty Action Group.
Celebrities, such as Angelina Jolie, Madonna and Sandra Bullock, make it look so easy: Adopt a few children and poof! You have a family. Their experiences and society’s growing acceptance of nontraditional families are encouraging single parents to adopt children in “large” numbers. The writer’s fervor for this topic should not and cannot distract from the facts, however. The adoption rate for single parents in the United Kingdom hasn’t broken 1,000 — ever. And the increase expounded upon by the writer and her sources? About 60 adoptions from 2017 to 2018. Also, the openness and willingness of adoption agencies to consider all parents is definitely debatable despite claims to the contrary. Religious agencies have restrictions on adoptions as do organizations that arrange international adoptions. Preference is given to certain races, creeds, abilities and sexual orientations, among other forms of discrimination. And the anecdotal evidence alone deflates the optimistic tone of this article and its flimsy sourcing.
A city in the Philippines is expected to expand benefits to single parents, who must meet certain qualifications to receive the required identification card that opens their world to educational and financial opportunities. The ordinance offers an extensive definition of what the city considers a single parent to be from women who give birth because of rape to any person who is the sole provider of parental care and support. The benefits are certainly enviable. In addition to the medical and housing assistance commonly given to single parents, the ordinance would offer special privileges to solo parents, including the use of special traffic lanes, priority parking spaces and discounts at partner establishments.
The tiny house movement is offering this affordable version of the American dream to people who are homeless in North Carolina. It’s truly inspiring to read about individuals, their human dignity restored, claiming a small space as their own and sharing the bounty of a community garden with other tiny-home owners. The square footage between 400 and 500 could work for individuals or couples, but a single parent family? I’m not so sure a tiny house is a sustainable or even realistic option. Would a single parent want to cram their two, three or four children into a little house? Could you imagine living in such close quarters without any real privacy? I have a teenage son and I can assure you he demands privacy. I commend the organizers for their intentions, but their efforts as far as single parent families are concerned may be a bit misguided.
Since the mid-1970s, Warren Village in Denver, CO, has been working with single parents and their children to achieve self-sufficiency rather than collapse into homelessness. Single-parent families receive the stability of apartment living while they pursue educational opportunities at the Community College of Denver, which partnered with Warren Village in this endeavor. This nonprofit truly raises families in its urban village.
Careers in the skilled trades — construction, plumbing, highway maintenance and truck driving, among other blue-collar jobs — are steadily attracting women, particularly single mothers. Employers have positions to fill as baby boomers retire, creating a need where an employee’s gender is becoming irrelevant. In the not so distant past, men dominated these professions and many women endured harassment the likes of which inspired movies, books, movements and legislation. Many women avoided or never in thought to consider these blue-collar jobs, but now they are seeking training and opportunities in this work. Employers are working with single parents who are valued employees by creating flexible shifts and great benefits. “In order to support those families, women have to find a job that pays well, and those jobs that are open right now and paying well are the jobs that are in the truck driving industry, in the maintenance and skilled trades area,” said Amy Donahoe, director of workforce development at the Chamber of Greater Springfield in Ohio.
On Thursdays I share a blog about a day in the actual life of a single parent. Every fourth Thursday, instead of a personal post, I put together one where I assemble news on and about single parents nationally and globally.
I would love to hear from you! Feel free to send any comments and questions to me at email@example.com. I am also on Twitter @parentsonurown and can be found by searching #singleparentandstrong.