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.
Sears Roebuck brought affordable housing to the public more than 100 years ago, and apparently, Ikea is following in this former giant’s footsteps. In the United Kingdom a developer has received municipal approval to construct its factory-built houses sold through Ikea. BoKlok built more than 11,000 houses in Sweden, Finland and Norway before turning its attention to the housing crisis in the UK. Residents pay “only what they can afford after taxes and living expenses,” the amount of which chips away at a 25-year mortgage. “In this current market it’s extremely tough for local people who are in full-time work to get on the housing market. This proposal could change that, giving these hard-working individuals a genuine chance to buy their own home without having to move out of the town,” said Worthington Borough Councilor Kevin Jenkins.
Beginning in the 1960s, more mothers have been raising their children out of wedlock in the United States. This movement, resulting from a sea change in societal attitudes and legislation that protects families of all sorts, has recognized and enabled single fathers to participate in the upbringing of their children. Black men are more likely to head single-father households than white men by 10 percent, according to a Pew Research Center report. “Young black men have to be raised with a little more structure. There has to be a little more discipline, just in the matter of what they expect, because a lot of times we have to work twice as hard to levy up to our counterparts,” said Jay Hinson Sr., a single father in Milwaukee, WI. Unfortunately, the majority of children — more than 24 million in the US — do not have the attention of a single father, like Hinson. To address this problem on the grassroots level, organizations like the Made Men Worldwide and Milwaukee Fatherhood Initiative offer support to mobilize all fathers and build strong communities.
Connecticut is joining a number of other states in expanding family leave through its legislature. Beginning in 2021, workers there can receive up to 12 weeks of paid leave — two more for pregnancy-related health issues — through a 0.5 percent payroll tax that workers contribute to. For a person making $600 per week, the payout is $3 toward this fund — and the payout is generous. However, the advantage of this anticipated law is its broad definition of a loved one who could qualify for care. This individual can be a sibling, grandparent or anyone “equivalent of a family member,” making this leave more accessible to single parents and members of the LGBTQ community. Paid leave laws have been enacted in New Jersey, Rhode Island, New York, Washington state, Massachusetts, California and Washington, D.C.
Single mothers are the head of less than 5 percent of all Indian households, according to a United Nations’ report titled Progress of the World’s Women 2019-2020. These 13 million families are among the more than 101 million households in 89 countries led by single mothers. The increase in single-parent families has been linked to people holding off on getting married and investing in careers to ensure their financial stability. However, women experience tremendous inequities globally. Among the proposed solutions are “diverse and non-discriminatory family laws, accessible sexual and reproductive healthcare, guaranteed access to adequate income for women, and prevention and prompt response to domestic violence against women.”
Returning to society after serving time in prison is particularly challenging for women. Single-parenting responsibilities and lower wages than men encumber this transition, making it more stressful and difficult. A new program is expected to provide female prisoners with the training and education they need to succeed when they leave this jail in California. It plans to offer culinary classes and foster relationships with multiple restaurants and other employment partners to ensure the women are placed into positions before they are released.
Isolation and loneliness inspired the mothers in Mother Lode, CA, to create The Village, an actual physical location where parents and their children can hang out and experience a sense of community. While the children engage in creative activities, the parents can participate in support groups and network among their peers. “After you have kids, you lose yourself, your identity. It’s trying to make friends with people who are in the same stages of their life,” said Nhu Bergstrom, one of the founders. The Village offers monthly subscriptions and day passes.
Women, who are Iranian citizens, are prohibited from granting that citizenship to their children if they marry a foreigner. However, a new proposal lifting this ban is working its way through parliament. Despite Iran’s claims that these children are not stateless because they can inherit their father’s citizenship, this ban essentially robs these people of “basic rights such as education, health care, housing and employment, and leaving them vulnerable to exploitation.” If this proposal becomes law, it would also benefit the children of women regardless of their marital status. Birthright citizenship is prohibited in more than 25 countries, including Oman, Libya and Mauritania.
Children born in Nepal are not granted citizenship unless their father is a citizen of this landlocked country in Southern Asia. The mother’s nationality, unfortunately, is immaterial even if she is a Himalayan citizen, resulting in many people being deemed stateless. These discriminatory laws exist in more than 25 countries, including Oman, Kuwait, Saudi Arabia and Sudan. People who are stateless suffer what the reporter described as a “tsunami of injustices.” They are prevented from traveling, opening bank accounts and obtaining a cellphone SIM card, among other restrictions.
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 firstname.lastname@example.org. I am also on Twitter @parentsonurown and can be found by searching #singleparentandstrong.