Lone Mother-led Families: Exemplifying the Structuring of Social Inequality



Almost 25% of Canadian families are headed by a lone parent (Jensen 2003) and over 90% of poor lone parents are women (National Council of Welfare 2002). In Canada lone mother-led families have been significantly impacted by two major and interrelated changes in Canada; welfare reforms that resulted in the elimination of a separate family benefit and includes the imposition of a work requirement combined with dramatic changes to the labor market. The reduction of welfare benefits and the increase in precarious or non-standard work have created a high level of social jeopardy for lone mothers and their children. This paper explores the different realms of life where lone-mothers are particularly disadvantaged and argues that governments need to clearly identify areas of policy intersection before the inequalities that lone mother-led families face can be ameliorated.