By LM — Single parenthood is not uncommon in Singapore, and yet single parents, especially single mothers, still face discrimination and prejudice from society. Such prejudices can lead to negative social and economic consequences for single parents and their children.
These Singaporeans have to bear the responsibility of raising children alone without the emotional or financial support of a partner. They have to balance work and parenting, which can take a toll on their physical and mental health. Studies have shown that single mothers experience more stress and have higher rates of depression compared to their married counterparts.
Unfortunately, single parents in Singapore are often perceived as less capable of raising their children compared to married parents.
They are seen as poor role models for their children, lacking in moral values, or having a disrupted upbringing. These stereotypes are untrue, and research has shown that single parents are just as capable of raising happy and successful children as married parents.
Despite the government providing some help, society still refuses to acknowledge them. Single mothers often narrate their experiences of facing prejudice and discrimination when trying to secure public housing. Landlords and homeowners often reject their housing applications. Data presented in parliament indicates that single unwed parents face a higher rate of rental housing application rejections than approvals.
The discrimination that single parents face goes beyond just housing.
They often experience humiliation in the job market, as employers may view them as less committed or unreliable. Moreover, social isolation and discrimination is not uncommon. They usually find it difficult to make friends or participate in social events due to the fear of being judged on their marital status. Their children are ostracized by their peers, and they do not receive the same level of support from healthcare and community centers as traditional families do.
Singaporeans must change their attitude towards single parents. We should be more empathetic and provide them with appropriate support. We need to break down the prejudices and stereotypes that exist and recognize each individual’s valuable contributions to society. We should support single parents, not judge them. After all, the future of Singapore, our children, is at stake, and not individual interests. Let us work together to create a more inclusive and compassionate society for all.