Guadamour’s blog post
Jan. 29, 2008
There are millions of single mothers in the world. Percentage wise the number of unwed mothers has actually grown faster than the overall birth rate. The age of the women giving birth has steadily dropped over the last thirty-five years.
Two distinct types of single mothers exist with as many variations as there are single mothers. Single mothers who are unwed and most likely will never be married encompass one category of unwed mothers. The other type of unwed mother is one that was married (be it common law or legally) and who are now free of their husbands.
Traditionally tribal and more institutionalized societies set relatively rigid parameters on sexual behavior; therefore, there were fewer unwed mothers. However, with the population boom after World War II, the sexual revolution of the 1960’s and 70’s, and the mass media showing a new type of sexual freedom to the greater part of the world, the number of unwed mothers exploded. Additionally, unwed mothers have become much more acceptable in most societies.
This has placed a great strain on many societies. These younger and younger mothers living without adequate means to provide for their offspring have taxed the health care, educational and agriculture resources of countries throughout Asia, Africa, India, and Latin America.
No easy and simple solution exists to this problem, and many have been tried. The only one that seems to have worked is empowering women worldwide. When women are empowered they tend to spend more money on health care, educations and food for their children, than when men are in charge.
The question then becomes: How do you empower women? The only solution that seems to have worked is that taken by the Gramma Bank in Bangladesh. Recently the founder of the Gramma Bank was given the Nobel Peace prize for his pioneering work in empowering the poor and primarily women.
In the 1970’s Bangladesh was declared an “economic basket case” by Henry Kissinger. Today Bangladesh is economically viable. This was achieved because the founder of the Gramma Bank started making micro loans mostly to women, starting with $27.00 out of his own pocket.
Today Bangladesh has a robust garment manufacturing industry mostly employing women. The now economically independent women are delaying their child bearing, and having a significantly fewer number of offspring. Nevertheless, the children they have are receiving more and better care than when they were having a larger number of children at a younger age. The children are healthier and better educated, and are much more likely to become productive members of society.
Currently the United States of America and other countries are spending billions of dollars a month on wars. Wars that are breeding hate, poverty and more wars. This money could be much better spent on making micro loans to the poor of the world, and especially women. It not only makes good sense socially and culturally, but it also makes good business sense, because micro loans are paid back and with interest. And once someone has there foot on the bottom rung of the economic ladder, they almost inevitably climb to a higher rung.
Single mothers who were formerly married and who are now divorced or separated can also be helped with micro loans. These women have made a choice to be on their own, and normally it is a choice made because of their children. They cannot stand to see their children suffer and be abused while their father squanders their often very limited resources.
The lucky ones are those with professions that allow them to adequately care for their children. Unfortunately that is only one out of fifty or a hundred women.
I have interviewed prostitutes in Asia and Latin America, and though they certainly don’t like prostituting themselves, they find it preferable to living with the father of their children. This certainly doesn’t say much for the men of the world, but once you talk to these women, you realize that with only a little capital they would be doing something else–be it sewing, running a store, a small restaurant or whatever.
There is certainly enough capital in the world, a capital that is currently being useless spent on wars and armaments to give everyone in the world a chance at succeeding. The poor, uneducated and inadequately represented are certainly not without the desire, ability and drive to advance and pull themselves up when given the chance.