The doomsayers may exaggerate, but the cheerleaders are misguided. It’s great news that more women are economically self-sufficient. But there are at least two major reasons the rise of single motherhood should not be hailed as a victory for female autonomy. One is children. The other is men.
Children born to single mothers do not always fare worse than children of married couples. But all else being equal, out-of-wedlock birth is a risk factor for economic hardship, psychological and behavioral problems, and lower educational attainment….
Fatherlessness is not only bad for children; it is also bad for men — and for gender equality…
Yet the trend toward more engaged fatherhood is being canceled out by the growing number of children with no father in the home. This redefinition of families as women and their children is a modern-day version of the old-fashioned, very non-feminist notion of family and child-rearing as a female domain in which men are only visitors. Sending men the signal that they are disposable is hardly a way to encourage them to be better fathers. The 1950s-style family is certainly not the only environment in which children can thrive. But glorifying single motherhood is no better and, in the end, no less sexist.