UN New York - Our virtual #CSocD61 event, which took place on the margins of the 61st UN Commission on Social Development, brought together expert speakers from varied backgrounds to discuss the situation of single mothers in diverse contexts across the world. Their vulnerability to poverty and exclusion, the multiple challenges they face, and the solutions that are implemented to support them, notably in accessing decent work, were the key drivers of the discussion.
The event, titled ‘Leave no single mother behind‘, took place as a webinar on 15 February 2023.
Statistics show that globally, lone parents with children head up 8% of all households, with lone mothers the overwhelming majority (84.3 per cent). However, these statistics do not reveal the whole story: many lone mothers live in extended households, in particular those that need to balance unpaid care and paid care work. They are therefore not counted as such and remain invisible to policy makers.
Our event highlighted the different socio-economic and cultural contexts and the many possible reasons behind single motherhood: from abandonment or rape to divorce or separation, to fleeing a violent or abusive relationship, single motherhood is rarely a choice, and often puts these mothers and their children in extremely vulnerable situations.
We also looked at the many solutions in response to these varied contexts. Most combine practical aspects like sheltering, providing childcare services, and legal and emotional support, with training and counseling. They aim at rebuilding these mothers’ self esteem, equip them with both education on practical aspects of their life – like financial literacy, and professional skills – so they can regain their autonomy and take their place in the community.
Policies are another important lever for change and the focus of MMM’s advocacy work. The EU Child Guarantee, which was adopted in 2021 by EU member States, aims at reducing child poverty in Europe, and is therefore a first important step to support single mothers as many of those children living in poverty belong to single parents households. Still, this is not enough and MMM also provided some policy recommendations to specifically support single mothers.
Soon to come, a full report and key takeaways from the discussion
Setting the scene:
Solutions from the ground from MMM Network and beyond:
Solutions from governments
→ See also our pre-event article with background information and the speakers bios
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