An article examined the social and demographic characteristics of mothers who played with/read to/told stories to their child, using data from the Millennium Cohort Study. Significant inequalities were found: Indian, Pakistani, Bangladeshi, and Black mothers were significantly less likely to play with their child at least weekly compared with white mothers; the same applied to lone mothers compared with those living with a partner; mothers with academic qualifications lower than degree level were less likely to read at least once weekly; compared with mothers who worked full-time, those who worked part-time, were 'on leave' or unemployed, were more likely to play with, and read to, their child at least weekly; and mothers with more than one child were significantly less likely to engage at least weekly in any of the three activities studied.
Source: Rachel Brocklebank, Helen Bedford, and Lucy Griffiths, 'Social determinants of parent-child interaction in the UK', Child: Care, Health and Development, Volume 40 Number 4
A report said that many single parent families were struggling to maintain an adequate household income and that existing labour market conditions made it difficult for single parents to remove themselves from poverty through paid work. The report made a range of recommendations, including: for government to encourage flexible working opportunities across a greater range and level of jobs (including jobs across the public sector and contracted-out services); for greater job security; for measures to address low pay; and for work incentives to be maximized through the benefits system.
Source: Sumi Rabindrakumar, Paying the Price: The long road to recovery, Gingerbread
A report examined the impacts of the United Kingdom Government's welfare reforms on lone parents moving into work, based on research in Glasgow, a city in Scotland.
Source: Helen Graham and Ronald McQuaid, Exploring the Impacts of the UK Government's Welfare Reforms on Lone Parents Moving into Work, Employment Research Institute/Edinburgh Napier University/University of Stirling
A report brought together the core findings from a series of six short statistical reports about the reconciliation of work, private, and family life in Europe. It said that the work had highlighted large gender disparities in employment situations between parents and non-parents, with lower employment levels, fewer work hours, and more underemployment among mothers in many western European countries, as compared with women without children and men with or without children. The work had also found persistent inequality among social groups, that certain groups such as single parents were more vulnerable to the challenges of work-life balance, and that long-standing social and cultural norms played a role in perpetuating gender inequality in employment. The report said that there were large differences between European Union member states in levels of, and support for, employment, and that, although the situation varied between countries, childcare and cultural norms regarding children were still important factors in employment decisions. The report concluded that there had not generally been a move away from the 'male breadwinner' model, and said that the findings illustrated the importance of recognizing the heterogeneity among groups (of women, men, parents, or non-parents), the importance of considering gender roles and cultural norms, and a need for work-life reconciliation policies targeting vulnerable groups. The supporting work was published as a series of annexes, alongside this report.
Source: Melinda Mills, Flavia Tsang, Patrick Prag, Kai Ruggeri, Celine Miani, and Stijn Hoorens, Gender Equality in the Workforce: Reconciling work, private and family life in Europe – final report, RAND Europe
Annex 1: Melinda Mills, Patrick Prag, Flavia Tsang, Katia Begall, James Derbyshire, Laura Kohle, Celine Miani, and Stijn Hoorens, Use of Childcare Services in the EU Member States and Progress Towards the Barcelona Targets: Short Statistical Report No. 1, RAND Europe
Annex 2: Celine Miani and Stijn Hoorens, Parents at Work: Men and women participating in the labour force – Short Statistical Report No. 2, RAND Europe
Annex 3: Kai Ruggeri and Chloe Bird, Single Parents and Employment in Europe: Short Statistical Report No. 3, RAND Europe
Annex 4: Melinda Mills and Patrick Prag, Gender Inequalities in the School-to-Work Transition in Europe: Short Statistical Report No. 4, RAND Europe
Annex 5: Flavia Tsang, Michael Rendall, Charlene Rohr, and Stijn Hoorens, Emerging Trends in Earnings Structures of Couples in Europe: Short Statistical Report No. 5, RAND Europe
Annex 6: Patrick Prag and Melinda Mills, Family-Related Working Schedule Flexibility across Europe: Short Statistical Report No. 6, RAND Europe
A paper examined trends in the number and characteristics of lone parents in the United Kingdom; in particular, the changing demographic processes associated with becoming a lone parent, and changing risk factors for poor health.
Source: Ann Berrington, The Changing Demography of Lone Parenthood in the UK, ESRC Centre for Population Change
A report examined the characteristics, circumstances, and experiences of first-time mothers in Scotland aged under 20, examining how they compared with those of older mothers. The report said that the data re-confirmed that this younger group faced significant socio-economic disadvantage in terms of lower educational qualifications, employment levels, and income, but that they were also affected in other ways, such as having less stable partner relationships, poorer health behaviours and health outcomes, and lower levels of engagement with formal parenting support. It said that these inequalities might be addressed through additional support, including wider access to affordable childcare, to help young parents (including those in their early 20s) to continue their education or training, or to enter employment.
Source: Paul Bradshaw, Lauren Schofield, and Linda Maynard, The Experiences of Mothers Aged Under 20: Analysis of data from the Growing Up in Scotland study, Scottish Government
A report provided a summary of findings on concealed families in England and Wales, from 2011 Census data. A concealed family was defined as one living in a multi-family household in addition to the primary family, such as a young couple living with parents. It said that there were 289,000 concealed families in 2011 (1.8 per cent of all families in households), compared with 170,000 (1.2 per cent) in 2001. Lone parent families with dependent children were the family type most frequently concealed (4.3 per cent of all lone parent families with dependent children).
Source: What Does the 2011 Census Tell Us About Concealed Families Living in Multi-Family Households in England and Wales?, Office for National Statistics
An article examined women's employment trajectories during and after lone motherhood in Britain and west Germany. Typical trajectories were spread unevenly. Overall there was higher labour market attachment in west Germany and a higher prevalence of volatile employment trajectories in Britain.
Source: Hannah Zagel, 'Are all single mothers the same? Evidence from British and west German women's employment trajectories', European Sociological Review, Volume 30 Number 1
A think-tank report examined levels of employment among lone parents in the United Kingdom and considered policy options. Recommendations included: that the government should pilot offering more intensive training support to lone parents when their youngest child reached the age of 3, with additional funding for Jobcentres to provide specialist advice and training; and for some lone parents in a range of circumstances to be paid a proportion of the benefits savings achieved by them starting paid work or achieving higher levels of pay.
Source: Matthew Tinsley, Parenting Alone: Work and welfare in single parent households, Policy Exchange