Work as a Solution? Livelihood Strategies of Lone Mothers in the Czech Republic Cover Image

Práce jako řešení? Strategie obživy osamělých matek v ČR
Work as a Solution? Livelihood Strategies of Lone Mothers in the Czech Republic

Author(s): Radka Dudová
Subject(s): Social Sciences
Published by: Sociologický ústav AV ČR, v.v.i.
Keywords: lone mothers; poverty; work; divorce; gender; Czech Republic

Summary/Abstract: When examining the gender of institutions of parenthood, lone motherhood is a key issue. In this article the author focuses on the economic implications of lone motherhood and on the strategies that women living with children without a partner develop in order to ensure their livelihood. The author begins by presenting the theoretical background and some results from European and North American research on lone motherhood. She then provides an overview of research on lone parenthood done in the Czech Republic since 1959. Finally, the author describes the qualitative study she conducted on divorced mothers. The results show how women deal economically with marital separation and which livelihood strategies they opt for. The research methodology was based on constructivist grounded theory and the technique of interviews. From the research results the author distinguishes five basic strategies that can be combined and that are based on the sources that women have at their disposal. Those strategies may differ in terms of their degree of success, dependence/independence on others, and their efficacy at different points in time. The results also indicate that the success of these working strategies depends mainly on the age of the youngest child in the family and the caring responsibilities required by that age. The author argues that while for some women heading one-parent families paid work is an option that allows them to obtain a certain degree of independence and self-confidence, its efficacy depends on the context and immediate conditions in which the women find themselves. Overstressing the employment of lone mothers as a universal solution may thus lead to new dependencies.

  • Issue Year: 45/2009
  • Issue No: 04
  • Page Range: 753-784
  • Page Count: 32
  • Language: Czech