Table of Contents

The International Handbook of Gender and Poverty

The International Handbook of Gender and Poverty

Concepts, Research, Policy

Elgar original reference

Edited by Sylvia Chant

In the interests of contextualising (and nuancing) the multiple interrelations between gender and poverty, Sylvia Chant has gathered writings on diverse aspects of the subject from a range of disciplinary and professional perspectives, achieving extensive thematic as well as geographical coverage. This benchmark volume presents women’s and men’s experiences of gendered poverty with respect to a vast spectrum of intersecting issues including local to global economic transformations, family, age, ‘race’, migration, assets, paid and unpaid work, health, sexuality, human rights, and conflict and violence.

Chapter 21: Lone Mothers, Poverty and Paid Work in the United Kingdom

Jane Millar

Subjects: development studies, development studies, family and gender policy, geography, human geography, research methods in geography, law - academic, human rights, politics and public policy, human rights, social policy and sociology, family and gender policy


Jane Millar The risk of income poverty for lone mothers remains high in the UK, despite much policy attention in recent years and a government commitment to end child poverty. This chapter briefly summarises the key evidence on poverty levels and trends for British lone mothers and their children. This is followed by a discussion of current policy and in particular the focus upon employment as the main route out of poverty. This ‘work as welfare’ agenda raises some particular issues for lone mothers, who not only have to combine paid work with their caring responsibilities but also face a gender-divided labour market in which many women with children work part-time in low-paid jobs. This is a challenge that also faces partnered mothers, but the difficulties are especially acute for lone mothers. The conclusion reflects on current and future policy issues. Lone mothers are a key group for understanding the gender dimensions of poverty in countries such as the UK, where there is substantial economic inequality in the context of generally high incomes and living standards and well-developed social welfare provisions and infrastructure. In these countries, to a greater or lesser extent, the social divisions of gender, social class, ethnicity, disability and citizenship status remain important determinants of advantage and disadvantage, and of opportunities. Gender inequality in the labour market and in the home means that women are more vulnerable to poverty than men. However, women’s poverty tends to be hidden in the family or household because income poverty is...

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