Some of the news articles about single parents 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 email@example.com and I’ll send PDFs of them to you.
Father’s Day has been part of the cultural fabric of the United States for more than 100 years and of Europe since the Middle Ages. For Russia, this day was marked for the first time in 2021. To commemorate this day, the reporter did not reach out to fathers who are married or cohabitating; rather, she profiled two single dads and their challenges raising their children. Her approach spotlighted a concept of parenting that is not legally recognized in Russia where single fathers comprise less than 2 percent of all families in Russia, according to data from Rosstat, which is the Federal Service of State Statistics of the Russian Federation. Lawyer Yuri Kapshtyk stressed that single dads should be entitled to the same benefits as single mothers. The All-Russia Population Census added:
“Of course, for a child, living in a single-parent family is difficult and undesirable, but one could say that fathers are becoming more responsible, and society has become more likely to entrust children to them.”
Father’s Day in Russia falls on the third Sunday in October.
Denmark, one of more than 100 countries providing guaranteed parental leave worldwide, decided to expand it recently. Under its new rules, each parent is earmarked 11 weeks to spend with their newborn. If a parent does not use their 11 weeks, that time is gone and cannot be transferred to the other parent. The legal notion of earmarking is expected to benefit single mothers and single fathers, in particular, allowing them to share parenting responsibilities without financial stress or gaps in career growth. These statutory changes are expected to go into effect in August 2022.
Using feedback from single mothers, four community colleges launched various programs to ensure single mothers can reach their college degree goals, achieve higher wages and break from the multigenerational cycle of poverty so many of them have known. Education Design Lab, a nonprofit that tests college programs that help students who are underserved, selected these colleges to implement these programs in fall 2021: Central New Mexico Community College; Delgado Community College in New Orleans, Ivy Tech Community College in Indianapolis, and Monroe Community College in Rochester, N.Y. Each college developed parent-centered approaches based on the needs of their single-parent population from free career planning courses to optional in-person instruction to scholarships to Facebook groups to expanded child care for evenings and weekends to emergency aid grants.
Lawmakers in New Delhi debated legislation that seeks to regulate Assisted Reproductive Technology clinics and banks after responding to assertions that the bill doesn’t include single parents. The proposal would establish a registry and set standards and codes of conduct for fertility clinics and egg or sperm banks, in part, to prevent the illegal trafficking and selling of embryos. Some officials claimed that single parents as well as members of the LGBTQ community should not be deprived of having a child. The passage of this bill depends on a surrogacy bill that would prevent LGBTQ couples, single parents and others from accessing surrogates.
The Sisters in Islam want the government to help single parents seeking affordable housing rather than men with two or more wives in Malaysia. The group was concerned that such leniency in the program would promote polygamy over the actual needs of single mothers. In addition, the program conflicts with elements of Shariah law. For example, under Shariah law, the husband should be able to provide for his wives equally, but this program would only allow for one house to be purchased. Typically, each wife would have their own residence in keeping with the law. Instead, SIS said the focus should be on single parents who confront various obstacles when seeking financial assistance from the government.
Poverty rates for single parents in Estonia are rising as income inequality becomes steeper, according to Statistics Estonia, a government agency. Single parents tend to fall into the at-risk-of-poverty group, defined by Anet Müürsoo, leading analyst at Statistics Estonia, as individuals who “may earn a good income, but the inequality arises from the fact that other people have an even higher income.” Essentially, single parents are at the whim of the national median income that divides the population into those who earn above that amount and those below. As more people earn higher incomes, the median income rises, for example. Single parents in the at-risk-of-poverty group have an income of less than 60 percent of the national median.
Manitoba, a province in Canada, ranks among the highest in child poverty with nearly 90,000 children, the majority of whom are indigenous, lacking basic necessities, according to a report by the Campaign 2000, an anti-poverty advocacy group. Contributing to this poverty are the low-paying jobs in Manitoba, which has the second-lowest minimum wage in the country. For single parents, making ends meet is a constant struggle with families relying on food banks and school programs. The report found that single-parent households are “almost four times more likely to live in poverty than those in couple-led families. It found 62 percent of children in single-parent families lived in poverty in 2019.”
On Thursdays, I share a blog about a day in the actual life of a single parent.
Starting the summer of 2021, my son, Joseph, is writing a monthly column titled In My Son’s Words where he describes his experiences as a teenager and as a child of a single parent.
Twice a month, instead of a personal post, I put together one where I assemble news on and about single parents nationally and globally.