The Plight of Single Mothers In Poverty

These challenges combined with the multiple complications due to poverty begin to paint a picture of the social problem for so many single mothers in many nations. A study of 18 affluent western democracies conducted by David Brady and Rebekah Burroway (2012) showed that single mothers across the board have a disproportionately higher risk of living in poverty. Single mothers have to contend with their povertys ontributing factors such as low-education and the effects of government social policy (Brady & Burroway, 2012; Gemelll, 2008).

Societal pressures and a struggle with time between the roles of caregiver and breadwinner also affect the well-beng and economic condition of these women (Gemelli, 2008). Wickrama, Lorenz, Conger, Elder, Abraham & Fang have shown that the kind of prolonged mental stress caused by poverty can have a negative effect on the physical health of these women (as cited in Broussard, 2010). Poverty for single mothers proves to be a constant truggle with providing for their family’s basic needs as well as their own health (Broussard, 2010).

Brady and Burroway (2012) suggest that uplifting all of those in poverty through a comprehensive universal welfare state can have a slgnlflcant impact against poverty for single mothers. There are already some views to consider concerning the place of single mothers in poverty. In the functionalist view, these women fall into the category of the poor who can be a benefit to greater society by maintaining Jobs for social workers and public health experts Their poor economic status also helps to ensure that underpaid nd often menial Jobs are filled by these women (Schaefer, 2012, p. 02).

The Instability found wlthln single mother households, such as struggling between making money and having time for their children, may be seen by functionalist as supporting evidence for the importance that distribution of labor roles needed between a traditional family that isnt met by female only headed households (Shaefer, 2012, p. 271). After considering points of the stabilizing effects and a functionalist form of deviance on society single mothers pose, there must be consideration of how their situation could be a reflection of conflict within society. flict theorist and feminist can see the continuation of the affluent male domination over these subservient poor females (Schaefer, 2012, p. 310).

Conflict theorist and feminist could also point to the value of men’s work compared to the work of these single mothers devalued as reflected in their low economic status (Shaefer, 2012, p. 310). Whichever perspective one uses, it becomes clear that collectively, single mothers do seem to have an influential place in a society, but further Investigation may prove that their bearing may be global.

Though the United tates has the most disparity among many western Industrialized nations, the inequality can be seen across the globe in countries such as the United Kingdom, Iwata, 2007; Moyo & Kawewe, 2009; Arguelles, 2010). Being a single mother has shown to be a significant provider of further poverty and inequality in our world (Brady & Burroway, 2012). In Zimbabwe, though they lack most of the social security nets of the west, they find themselves facing similar hardships such as gender inequality, low-wage income, and social stigma (Moyo & Kawewe, 2009; Brady & Burroway, 2012).

In Japan, social stigma against poverty is so strong, single mothers may not even acknowledge that they are living in poverty or dare mention that they collect aid from welfare as it detracts from what they see as their personal responsibility (Iwata, 2007). Women generally earn less than men, are underrepresented in government, and are face both institutional discrimination as well as sexism (Shaefer, 2012, p. 273-275).

Confronted with these obstacles throughout life can prove to be quite stressful and leave one to have doubts for future improvement. Sandra L. Barns’ case study (2008) found socioeconomic onditions that led one woman to regret having children in regards to her future saying: There have been times when I would cry. I mean, I dont know what else to do, you know? Why is my life this way, why did I make the choices that I made? I mean, of course if I had anything to do over, it would be the choices I made .

This woman like so many has had to deal with the daily stresses of day to day expenses, childcare, healthcare, transportation, and housing as a single mother in poverty. Subsidized childcare in the United States has caused one women in Barns’ ase study to refuse a raise in wages due to the fact that would make her no longer eligible for the service. These stresses can cause depression for the unmarried mothers who must endure them through their lives (Broussard, 2010).

Further, Aflfl, Cox, and Enns (2006) found single mothers who were never married compared to previously married mothers face an increased risk of substance abuse, post- traumatic stress disorder, and antisocial personality disorder (as cited in Broussard, 2010). The decreased mental health may cause physical health degradation such as diabetes (Balukonis, Mellcus, & Chyun, 2008), hypertension and obesity (Kaplan et al. , 2005), and hives, Joint pain, and psoriasis (Carney & Freedland, 2000)” (Broussard, 2010).

Some women may affect their health by reducing the amount of food they eat so that their children may have more (Broussard, 2010). One study found that food depravation may not always be so deliberate, but due to economic strains food insecurity among 76% of young mothers for the United States compared to for the national average suggest an increased risk for single young mothers (Stevens, 2010). How does one combat such adversity for these single mothers? The answer may lie in a universal welfare state that is more available in terms of attainment and public awareness.

In the study by Brady and Burroway (2012), it was suggested that by providing aid to the poor at large was more efficient in raising the standards of living for single mothers. Ideally, there would be universal programs for childcare to allow these women to have time for employment that may be less flexible for them to respond to family issues, but provide better wages. They may also use his time to further their education. Welfare such as education can be critical in Awareness of programs to help those wishing to go to college was shown in Wilson’s (2011) study of welfare and education for single mothers.

The limitations found in Wilson’s study also showed many restrictions proved to discourage women from pursuing educational advancement (2011). There are a multitude of restrictions that can put single mothers in yet another disadvantaged position between choosing one part of their life over another, such as childcare over work or work over education Barns, 2008; Wilson, 2011). By simplifying the paperwork and removing some of the restrictions there could be significant headway in improving the state of affairs for single mothers.

Universal healthcare could remove some of financial burden to those women in countries that do not offer such a public service as well as those that don’t meet the requirements of an established poverty line to get aid. Services like food stamps found in the United States could be expanded in a way that made sure compensation was enough to ensure adequate nutrition for all who need it, perhaps ith an emphasis on fruits and vegetables and other nutrient rich foods.

In Cuba, however many of these services are available and the country is consistently improving their social services, but cultural influences on socialization still show to create an increasing amount of poverty among single mothers (Arguelles, 2010). This suggests that along with a universal welfare state solution, there must be a cultural change to really eradicate the social problem of single mothers in poverty. As this study shows, the relationship between culture and social policy can have arked impact on the socioeconomic abilities of single mothers in poverty.

The interrelationship between health, childcare, and employment has also been presented to show how only one needs to be negatively affected to bring down all three. Many factors however were not discussed that could influence the study of the lives of single mothers such as substance abuse, which was only mentioned once. Support from local communities and the family members of the single mothers were also not discussed in this study. Outside of the term “young mothers” and a studys ountry of inquiry, there wasn’t detailed information describing the women, such as age, race, and/or ethnicity.

However, this generalization does show the issue as a multinational social problem of significant importance. The sources of this study were all used because of their ability to frame the issue of single mothers in poverty as a social problem in a sense of conflict theory rather than that of the functionalist perspective. To draw a more comprehensive understanding of this issue there must be more micro and macro level studies reviewed at both an international and ational platform.

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