Issues in Interdisciplinarity 2019-20/Power in single-parent families

From Wikibooks, open books for an open world
Jump to navigation Jump to search


Single parents are a vulnerable group that exist at the intersection of three main issues affecting their wellbeing and that of their children: Public Policy, Employment and Socioeconomic Resources. By considering individual disciplines, we well discuss how power dynamics in and between Health, Education, Economics influence them.


  • Education
  • Economics


In the ‘Global North’, governments have created funds specifically dedicated towards the single-parent families for education. In the ‘Global South’, such funds don’t exist. The role of education is crucial in the ‘Global South’ as it conditions the child for his future life. Indeed, children growing up in single-parent families have “a greater risk of dropping out of school, of leaving home early, of poorer health, of low skills and low pay”[1]. However, education is especially vital in single-parent families in the ‘Global South’ for three reasons. Firstly, “young single mothers are even less likely to have a good education or job experience, which relegates them to low paying jobs within the range of jobs available to women in general.”[2] As a result, the household’s income is immediately affected and so is the potential education of the children. Secondly, “schools with more children from single-parent families deal with less effective teaching and learning time”.[3] In the ‘Global South’, where schools are few, the number of single-parent families is a lot higher, culminating in an even more extreme disruption in the children’s education.[4] Finally, “children might be ashamed of the fact that their parents are no longer together.[…] These emotional problems are expected to reduce children’s concentration at school and impair their educational performance” [5].Without education, the child will probably be unable to pay for the education of his children, thus entering a vicious circle.


Power in Economics is the ability of an individual to improve their standard of living. It is more simply defined as the freedom one has to make decisions that benefit them, and the inability of (or inertia towards) external factors reducing that freedom. An important indicator of economic power is purchasing power and, by extension, employment.

Single parenthood is becoming increasing more common among lower socioeconomic groups - and thus, those posessing fewer socioeconomic resources such as education[..]. This is called the 'Diverging Destinies Thesis' and is important when discussing their wellbeing. These families, like any other, must support themselves via employment. Employment rates among single-parents tend to be quite high in several countries [..]. However, in addition to their lack of socioeconomic resources, there are 2 main reasons why we believe employment is less lucrative for single-parents than for other workers:

- Gendered inequality: We have established that signle parenthood is highly skewed towards women. Gender inequality in the employment sector has even harsher consequences for single mothers. Compounding their reduced likelihood of finding employment in the first place, the gender wage gap, pay penalties for part-time work and ...





  1. P. Adamson "Unicef's Child Wellbeing in Rich Countries"; 2013
  2. NancyE. Dowd "In Defense of Single-Parent Families"- NYU Press; 1997
  3. Pong; 1997
  4. Van Ewijk & Sleegers; 2010
  5. Marloes de Lange and Jaap Dronkers, "The triple bind of single-parent families" -Bristol University Press;2011