Vulnerability of lone mothers over the live course in Switzerland

Details

Serval ID
serval:BIB_380E048E1AF5
Type
Article: article from journal or magazin.
Collection
Publications
Title
Vulnerability of lone mothers over the live course in Switzerland
Journal
Working Paper LIVES
Author(s)
Struffolino Emanuela, Bernardi Laura
ISSN
2296-1658
Publication state
Published
Issued date
10/03/2017
Peer-reviewed
Oui
Volume
2017
Number
60
Pages
1-28
Language
english
Abstract
This paper contributes to the understanding of vulnerability of lone mothers in Switzerland.
Vulnerability is a dynamic process along which individuals may experience falls and losses of
resources, but through which they might also rise and gain empowerment as a consequence of
coping and adaptation mechanisms. Vulnerability that originates within one specific life domain
(e.g. family, employment, health) can then spill over to other life domains. Lone mothers and
their children are often identified as vulnerable populations because of their overrepresentation
among the poor and the less healthy compared to the general population. Yet, lone mothers are
increasingly heterogeneous in terms of social background and resources, so that durations into
and experiences of lone motherhood vary substantially. Such heterogeneity poses new challenges
for defining the relative disadvantage of lone mothers and their families which we argue should
have to be appraised through a multidimensional perspective. Drawing on a number of
quantitative and qualitative data sources we first discuss the transition to lone parenthood and in
which ways it is relevant to the analysis of multidimensional vulnerability for lone mothers in the
Swiss context. Second, we refer to original empirical results on lone mothers’ labour market
participation over the last two decades by focussing on differences by age and educational level.
Finally, we discuss various findings on the relationship between lone parenthood, employment,
and health from our research project on lone mothers to highlight the conjunctures of
disadvantages across life-course domains leading to vulnerability. Switzerland is an interesting
case study, because of a welfare shaped around a two-parent and one main earner family model
and a gendered unequal distribution of caring and financial responsibility within the family. Weak
work-family reconciliation policies discourage mothers’ full-time participation to the labour
market. In such context particularly, the transition to lone motherhood might represents
excessive strains for parents who have little choice but to take on alone both full care and
financial responsibilities.
Keywords
lone parenthood, Switzerland, family, work
Create date
13/03/2017 22:54
Last modification date
20/08/2019 14:26
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