Lone Motherhood in South Africa: Some Methodological Challenges and Policy Imperatives

Abstract

In this paper a working definition of lone motherhood in the South African context is presented. Whilst rejecting any assumption that lone motherhood is necessarily experienced as an identity, it is argued that the category of lone motherhood has analytical value as it exposes the circumstances faced by women who care for children without a partner or spouse present. The working definition is operationalised using household survey data and certain methodological challenges are discussed. A profile of lone mothers is presented and it is demonstrated that lone mothers living with children are more deprived than women who additionally live with a partner or spouse. This raises several policy imperatives including the need for broader debates about valuing unpaid care work and achieving comprehensive social security, particularly within the hostile climate of widespread poverty and unemployment.

Citation

Ntshongwana, P.; Wright, G.; Barnes, H.; Noble, M. LONE MOTHERHOOD IN SOUTH AFRICA: SOME METHODOLOGICAL CHALLENGES AND POLICY IMPERATIVES. South African Review of Sociology (2015) 46 (4) 80-99. [DOI: 10.1080/21528586.2015.1100096]

Lone Motherhood in South Africa: Some Methodological Challenges and Policy Imperatives

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