November 30, 2009

What's the Big Deal About Single Mothers?

What's the big deal about single mothers, I was raised by one and I turned out okay! Were the words of a business leader running for a Prince George's County Council position.

There are many successful leaders and great people that were raised by single parents. VEINC is not presenting single mothers as damsels in distress or victims of society. However, due to the increased percentage of households being led by single mothers not only in Prince George's County, Maryland, but within our Nation, it's a big deal when single women-headed households have in some regard become the normal family structure.

According to Sociology for Families, single-parent families are normally female-headed and single women typically do not earn the same income as a single man; thus, there is a consequent economic struggle and burden not experienced in a single-father household. Single mothers often must work overtime shifts to compensate for the low salaries, thus taking time away from their children and other domestic chores. This results in a child that is home alone, without adult supervision, or placed in a daycare service for up to 8-10 hours per day. Government subsidized daycare is not yet a realized dream, and many single mothers pay large fees for this service.

The big deal about single parenting especially for Prince George's County, Maryland is, it has the highest concentration of low-income families headed by women in the Washington metro region. And, low-income families headed by women are vulnerable to the cycle of poverty. The impact of poverty puts a strain on the local, state, and the government by investing money in reactive services and programs to support low-income families (e.g., emergency housing, food stamp assistance, or crime and gang prevention) instead of proactive services and programs (e.g., workforce training and development, entrepreneurship programs; affordable housing, childcare, and health care, and accessible transportation).

There's an old saying, If you keep doing what you've always done, you will keep getting what you've always gotten. And, we can no longer afford to allow politics as usual if we want to experience a significant change in Prince George's County.

The Status of Women and Girls of Prince George's County needs to be a top priority on the platform for all politicians running for local and state government. Make your vote count to ensure Prince George's County, Maryland will live up to it's motto, A Livable Community for all Prince Georgians, especially for low-income women-led families where the weight of economic instability rides on their shoulders.

Following is VEINC's wish list to strengthen the economic status of women and girls of Prince George's County:
  • Bring more livable wage careers to Prince George's County that offer benefits in health and work-life balance. Prince George's County main career industries are retail and hospitality
  • Work harder to ensure funding for Individual Training Accounts under the Workforce Investment Act is adequately funneled from the State to Prince George's County to increase participation in local education and training programs
  • Change childcare voucher systems to ensure vouchers are honored in a timely manner
  • Make public transportation more accessible to transit around all localities of Prince George's County, Maryland
  • Add more women politicians that will advocate on behalf of the issues relating to women and girls
  • Increase local funding to proactively address barriers that prevent women and girls from achieving economic independence and stability.

Ladies, make your vote count! Don't sit on the sideline and assume your challenges will automatically be taken care of, or your vote won't count. All votes count and you have the power to make a change for yourself and other women like you in your community. Make your voice known. Make your voice heard. And, hold your local and state representatives accountable to making positive changes and impacts on behalf of underserved women and girls of Prince George's County, Maryland.

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