The Stigma of Single Motherhood

The Stigma of Single Motherhood

By: Saipriya V

In our society being a single mother either a widow or divorced has to live with a huge stigma. “Single Mother”, just a thought about it raises a lot of questions in our society. A sudden death of the spouse or a broken relationship gives a deep rooted pain in the survivor. Our society does not give enough time for the woman to pick her up and to establish herself in order to raise her kids, instead it often batters woman psychologically by blaming her.Widowed women have been blamed for her horoscopes for the sudden death of her husband and a woman who are “ single mother’s” due to broken relationship will be criticized for her decisions. A woman who is divorced were often “judged”, they are often blamed for not being tolerant of an abusive relationship.

Stigma and discrimination of a “single mother “ often begins within her own family and relatives. She will be often ignored in the family meetings, weddings and rituals. A single mother who is widowed/divorced are often looked as a burden to the family, but on the other hand men who is a widower/divorced often looked up as a new “groom”.
In India, life of a woman becomes tougher after the demise of her husband or after divorce, because of the low recruitment of the woman employers and low paid jobs. The government policies also advocate divorced woman to remove her husband’s name from her government documents such as passport, Adhar card (identification card) and bank documents, which makes her life even harder. Similarly, in Canada the lack of workplace policies such as caregiver leave and lack of affordable childcare, often limits women’s career choices which severely limits her earning power. Childcare and domestic responsibilities make it harder for women to return to school or attend training sessions in order to advance their career. All these issues leaves women in poverty.
There is also an another stereotype that children raised in the “single mother ” household do not fare well. But it is often forgotten that not in all two parent family, the father takes enough attention on the kids. A recent study suggests that kids raised in a two parent family found to have more substance abuse problems than children raised by single mothers. Similarly, kids from ‘single mother’ household perform well at school than the kids live in a family with a high level of argument within parents.

Empowering “single mothers” is vital in order to break these kind of stereotypes. Flexibility in government policies, education, financial stability and support groups for ‘single mothers’ will enable them to establish themselves and to raise happy and successful kids.



Marissa Hicks (September 2012) .The Single Mother Battle on Stereotypes. Battered women support services.
Bella Depaullo. PhD (Jan 2009). Children of Single Mothers: How Do They Really Fare?.Psychology Today.
Blog : What is it like to be a single mom’s child in India? Quora
Canadian women’s foundation.The Facts About Women and Poverty.
Swati Despande (Apr 2013). Single mom braves an unfriendly system. Times of India.