A new study released reveals that one in four children is raised by a single parent. Reasons for this range as some people are pointing to the crumbling respect for marriage as a lifelong commitment and higher teen birthrates. But there are no two interpretations about the fact that single mothers are being slighted from efforts that only prioritize nuclear families.
The United States is the only developed country that doesn’t have a national paid parental leave policy; we’re officially behind 178 other countries that have managed to pull this off. Fifty of these countries, most of which are Western, also have paid parental leave for new fathers.
Some states have started offering parental leave for parents, but unwed mothers often can’t afford to take this time off. The majority of single parents are employed in the US, yet they are the most likely to be in poverty. How can that be? Because childcare costs are astronomical as any parent knows, and so very little money is actually earned.
It’s obvious that we don’t have a system that benefits any working parent, but unpartnered mothers are the ones truly at the bottom of the ladder.
Terry O’Neill, president of the National Organization for Women, had this to add to the findings:
…single moms in this country are systemically underpaid, and systematically under-resourced and systemically unrespected. It’s not the fact they are single moms that makes things difficult.