The dilemmas of lone motherhood: key issues for feminist economics

Albelda, Randy; Himmelweit, Susan and Humphries, Jane (2004). The dilemmas of lone motherhood: key issues for feminist economics. Feminist Economics, 10(2) pp. 1–7.



The acute dilemmas facing lone mothers in raising their children and earning a living form a common theme across the articles in this special issue of Feminist Economics on Lone Mothers. Like other parents, lone mothers face difficult decisions in allocating their time to caregiving and income generation, but in their families there is only one adult to do both. Further, that one adult is a woman, who will generally earn less than a man, compounding the difficulties. Lone mothers must rely on a range of support mechanisms (fathers, other family members, employers, and government policy) to manage; they can therefore rarely be economically independent. Policies that are ideologically reluctant to support unmarried mothers in their caregiving may divide unmarried mothers from other lone mothers, and lone mothers from other poor parents. Nevertheless, most lone mothers find creative strategies to manage that are as varied as lone mothers themselves.

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