Women Economic Independence Research Report

In 2007-2009, SWIM undertook a three-phase research project to examine the issues facing single mothers in the London community. This research was sponsored by Status Women Of Canada.

Ten single mothers recruited from London, Ontario were asked to answer the following questions:

  • How did you become a single mother and how long were you one?
  • What issues affect single mothers in general?
  • Where did you find your resilience?
  • What do you think single mothers need in today’s world?

The women interviewed had similar experiences, yet viewed themselves very differently in their life goals. Self-esteem varied greatly among individuals. Most mothers were outwardly optimistic for the sake of their children, but had many reservations about their future. Being so busy earning a living for their children, many said the first time they reflected on their journeys was during the interview. Support in general was welcome to all, and desperately needed by some, in various forms highlighted below.

Employers

  • Flexible work schedule
  • Daily job start and end times to coincide with school hours
  • Human Resource Policies to include single parenting dimension
  • Day care centre at work or near-by subsidized by employer
  • Accommodation for emergencies such as phone calls from children’s school
  • Examples
    • single parent-sensitive employment contract
    • single parent-sensitive HR policy

Educational Institutions

  • Flexible degree completion schedule
  • Course professors amenable to bringing children to class on occasion
  • Course professors flexible with assignment deadlines and exam schedules due to childcare needs
  • Diversity and Equity Policies to include single parenting dimension
  • Day care centre at college or university or near-by subsidized by tuition payment
  • Accommodation for emergencies such as phone calls from children’s school
  • Examples
    • single parent-sensitive diversity policy

Government Legislation

  • The Child tax benefit is not enough – $100 per month does not compensate for $900 per month per child for day care
  • Affordable Day Care is needed
  • The tax bracket for single mothers should be revisited – the more they earn, they should not be penalized by higher taxes as the added money goes straight to the children.

General Public

  • Manage expectations of single mother labeling
  • Educate and build awareness of single mother issues
  • Support single mother sensitive workplace practices at place of employment
  • Support Human Resource Policies to include single parenting dimension
  • Support creation of day care centre at work or near-by subsidized by employer
  • Provide a accommodation for emergencies such as phone calls from children’s school
  • Support initiatives at place of employment and educational institutions
    • single parent-sensitive employment contract
    • single parent-sensitive HR policy
    • single parent-sensitive diversity policy
  • Support government initiatives
    • affordable day care
    • affordable housing
    • tax relief for single mothers moving up the income bracket