Skip Navigation

Single women with children struggle with poverty, here’s what can help change their circumstances

  • Aniya Faulcon
As a single mother of four, Tiffani Szabara is finding virtual school challenging for her two oldest daughters. They are (from left) Brinley, 4, first grader Cadence, 6, Emmarie, 1, and 7th grader Jaedlyn, 12.

Emma Lee / WHYY

As a single mother of four, Tiffani Szabara is finding virtual school challenging for her two oldest daughters. They are (from left) Brinley, 4, first grader Cadence, 6, Emmarie, 1, and 7th grader Jaedlyn, 12.

Airdate: September 21, 2022

Single women with children experiencing poverty and homelessness are often burdened with obstacles and circumstances that make it hard to get on their feet.

According to finances online, the decline in two-married-parent households has led to the prevalence of single-mom and single-dad households.

It is estimated that there are one hundred million single mothers all over the world and about 19 million children below the age of 18 living with a single parent.

According to the Women’s Defense and Education Fund, single women are the head of 60% of households in poverty.

Christina Duncan, Executive Director at Milagro House and Stacie Blake, CEO of the YWCA Lancaster joined us on Tuesday’s Smart Talk to discuss the factors that are keeping women in these circumstances, resolutions to get them out of those circumstances, and an upcoming Milagro House event that addresses these issues.

The Milagro House event is called Evening of Miracles with Stephanie Land, at the Fulton Theatre on 12 N. Prince St. on October 25th. Land is a New York Times Bestselling Author of Maid: Hard Work, Low Pay and a Mother’s Will to Survive, that was adapted into the Emmy-nominated Netflix series, Maid. The series, displays the challenges of a mother navigating systems and services essential for those experiencing poverty and homelessness to survive.

Duncan said, some of the things that keep some women with children in situations like what was displayed in Maid are unhealthy relationships, the gender wage gap, access to affordable childcare and education, difficulty finding or being available for full time jobs, low pay, and inadequate health benefits.

“So we find that women in poverty often grew up in poverty,” said Duncan. “It’s not just breaking the cycle for the mom in that particular point of time in her life, it’s breaking the cycle for next generations. So as a community, as a society, we have a great responsibility to figure out how to do that, because it does not just stop with the woman that we may be working with,  the benefits of whatever resources she has need to fall over into the children that she’s raising so that they aren’t in poverty.”

Blake said, some of the ways we can change the circumstances that women with children in poverty deal with is by addressing income gaps and income equality, and end discrimination in hiring.

Both the YWCA Lancaster and Milagro House work to help women with children in poverty every day and Duncan said, the difference their work makes in the lives of families is what they call a miracle.

“We like to say that we offer women a chance to achieve dreams and along that journey, creating the miracle that perhaps she never felt she could ever achieve,” said Duncan. “She never felt she would be in a position where she could care for her children, live sustainably, have a job that she enjoyed, and also have the support of a community of people around her that will help her stay stable. They go from survival to thriving. It’s a beautiful thing to watch and we’re honored to be part of their journey.”

 

 

Support for WITF is provided by:

Become a WITF sponsor today »

Up Next
Smart Talk

Preventing suicide