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Who are we as single fathers?

I am writing this blog with the sun shining down in sunny Wales; I hope that you are getting a bit of sunshine too wherever you are! My son is adoring this weather and we agree that cycling in the sun is fantastic.

So, I have been doing what is called a literature review for an article that I am writing on social work practice with single fathers. Without getting too boring, this is basically looking around for what other people have written on this subject, which is very little.

As part of this, I have come across some research from the USA that I would like to briefly talk about. There is no equivalent research here in the UK. This research looks at demographic data about single fathers, so for example ethnicity, age, income etc. They found that the number of single father households in the USA has increased about ninefold since 1960, to more than 2.6 million in 2011.

I found one area really interesting and feel it would be great to have views on this. This is what a single father is and who describes this? Single fatherhood is not a straightforward term, rather its definition is used in different ways by different people in different contexts. The research article from the USA sees single fathers as fathers who are separated, divorced, widowed or never married and are living without a partner; or some fathers living with a partner they are not married to, or some fathers who are married but living apart from their wife. This all seems very complicated and a little confusing.

They found that about 60% of single fathers in the USA are not living with a partner, meaning that about 40% are. What do you think? Does this fit with your views of who single fathers are? What defines us as a group?

In the UK, official definitions of single/lone parents focus on parents who care for a child or children with no husband, wife or partner living with them. This is quite different as some 40% of single fathers counted in the USA research would not be counted under this definition. Again, rather confusing and unclear.

For me, this is all quite important. The point is that for single fathers to be recognised and supported there needs to be some agreement about who we are as a group, and our collective and individual strengths and needs. Until this happens, our unique identities and needs may be missed or not fully acknowledged. Please let me know what you think.I am writing this blog with the sun shining down in sunny Wales; I hope that you are getting a bit of sunshine too wherever you are! My son is adoring this weather and we agree that cycling in the sun is fantastic.

 

Take care all

Simon

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Written submission to House of Commons Women and Equalities Committee Inquiry on “Fathers and the Workplace”

We are submitting this evidence to this Inquiry, as we hear from and help a great deal of fathers who are either struggling to be recognised as ‘hands on’ fathers in the workplace – or as will be clear from this particular submission – are completely denied the opportunity, and thus enter unemployment reluctantly.

The issues, we believe, are a mixture of employers failing to recognise a shift in the structure of families in the modern age, as well as significant prejudice and discrimination towards fathers, who want to break away from the traditional stereotype of fathers and the workplace....

Read the full paper (PDF opens in a new window)

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