Following by Example and Paving the Way for Single Parents.

| March 13, 2019

The second day of the Commission on the Status of Women Conference was full of knowledge, empowerment, and initiative from women all over the globe to implement policy. I attended events today hosted by the Population Council on the importance of evidence and data in providing women and girls emergency assistance and Lawyers Without Boarders on providing legal assistance on how to investigate and prosecute human trafficking. The final two seminars of my day were by far the most empowering and encouraging for me to be a part of as a woman. I had the pleasure of being a part of and assisting with a C-Fam sponsored event that tackles the issues of family planning and abortion organizations being brought into African Countries when those organizations do not have Africa and African women’s best interests. This is an event that I will be elaborating on later in the week, but another seminar that I attended today I felt especially moved by was titled “ Supporting Single Parents as a Means of Women Empowerment.

Wow. That is all I have to say about the discussion and the insight that was provided by these distinguished panelists. This event was hosted by the country of Hungary and focused on the efforts that have been made by Hungary to support single parents and discussion was provided by the floor to add comments or ask questions. Hungary as a country presents themselves as a Family Friendly country and has made many advancement towards supporting families as well as single parents. Of these advancements this includes governmental assistance towards daycare for working parents, up to 2 years of maternity/paternity leave, and 3 years of maternity/paternity leave. There is available funding available to help young families in the process of purchasing a home, vehicle, education, and many other things that go towards supporting a family. Within all of this it absolutely shines that the family unit, however that may look, is at the center. When discussing single parents and children raised in single parent families, it is imperative to continue to view this a family though less conventional.

I, myself, was raised in a single parent home where my mother attending school, worked, and raised my sister and me. We are from the United States and we got to witness the struggle that is presented to single parent families and the shortage of opportunities that are presented. It is this amazing phenomenon that shows that while single parents are the individuals that need work opportunities as well as flexibility to manage their families at home, they are deprived of such opportunities due to their situation and need for focus elsewhere. In this event presented by Hungary, it was shown that when supporting parents and families whether traditional, single parent homes, blended families, or otherwise are supported in all aspects including government agencies and the family unit becomes the sole focus of the community, these parents are able to feel empowered themselves as well as empower their children.

Ms. Shreyasi Jha, Senior Advisor of Gender and Rights with UNICEF stated in the seminar “No parent should have to choose between being a parent and their jobs.” This is such a powerful statement. These efforts have been put forth in Hungary to empower women through the support of single parents and the world has a lot to learn. We must not rely on the government to provide all of our funding for noble causes, but the government should be available for support and awareness for causes that truly matter.

Children are the future and we must invest in them like so. That begins with investing in parents and paving the way for single families gain empowerment. It is time that governments turn the focus to causes that will truly make a difference and truly help empower the next generation.