LONE PARENTING: A STUDY OF LONE MOTHERS IN THE ERA OF FISCAL AUSTERITY

I. Tshabangu1, T. Tshabangu2

1Leeds Trinity University (UNITED KINGDOM)
2University of Hull (UNITED KINGDOM)
There has been constant emergent shifts in the family structure and formation in England. Evidence indicates that there is a rise in lone parent households and that married couples living with their children are becoming the minority in some parts of the country. Coupled with a lot of stigma, lone parenthood has been at times referred to as “broken family”, yet it is a growing institution where millions of children are raised. The majority of these households are female-headed. It was noted that most mothers who raised children on their own, without a father, faced massive challenges as they under-took the double share of parenting under harsh economic and social circumstances, particularly in view of the austerity measures introduced by the government in 2010.

The study explored the lived experiences of 6 lone mothers in the Grimsby area in North Eastern England so as deepen understanding on their social world. The inquiry was located within an interpretive paradigm which helped to explore the studied phenomena in depth. Qualitative methods such as the interview and observation accounts were used to generate richer descriptions of studied phenomena. The results from the analysed data have highlighted lone parenthood challenges, which include loneliness, isolation, childcare issues, lack of social and financial support and the direct impact this has on their well-being and capacity to raise and educate their children. Further considerations were made as to the policy implications going into the future.