Letter: Single parents: ministers applauded and condemned

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The Independent Online
Sir: It is worrying that, in 1993, government ministers should display such glaring gender bias in their comments on single parents and the welfare system. Complaining that single parents claim welfare payments or housing, for which they are eligible, is rather like complaining that pregnant women expect to receive maternity services on the NHS] One might just as well say that single parents and expectant mothers are showing responsibility to themselves and their offspring by taking up the benefits which the state is, by law, obliged to provide.

Women still have to bear the bulk of childcaring responsibilities, which proves an insuperable obstacle to entry into the labour market for those mothers on very low incomes. It is not surprising that they seek state support. If the Government does not want mothers to depend on the state, it should provide national childcare facilities, so that they can go out to work. If it wants women to live in stable relationships with men, it should provide proper resources to tackle the appalling damage wrought by domestic violence and sexual abuse in our society.

Yours sincerely,

BARBARA HEWSON

London, WC1

5 July

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