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Thu, Mar 08, 2001 - Page 2 News List

Single moms are doing OK

STARTING OVER Although they have few regrets at being divorced, that doesn't cancel out the distress inherent in being a single breadwinner with children


Though most of them face tremendous difficulties in life, divorce mothers in Taiwan feel much happier after becoming single again, according to a new poll released yesterday.

Women's service groups carried out the survey of 192 divorced mothers.

The results show that more than half of the respondents feel that they are living a happier life than when they were married.

And more than 80 percent of the respondents said that they in no way regret deciding to become single.

The findings are in stark contrast with mothers' complaints about other real life problems, such as the financial difficulties and the social stigma attached to single moms.

Lo Chung-yu (羅瓊玉), general-director of the Warm Life Association for Women (晚晴協會), expressed the view that even though the poll showed that more than 50 percent of single mothers feel happier than before, it does not mean that most of them like and choose to become single parents.

"The reactions very much depend upon their past experiences during their marital relationship," Lo said.

"In fact, discrimination against single mothers still prevails in this society and some women don't dare admit they're single moms."

According to the survey, taken between Feb. 26 and March 4, financial difficulties are the most serious problem facing single mothers, particularly among the 30- to 39-year-old age group.

Other issues that worry single mothers include the education of children, adjustment to a new life on their own and social discrimination against single moms, the poll showed.

Notably, most of the respondents think traditional mores on gender are a major reason for the difficulties they face.

Tina Pan (潘維剛), a KMT legislator and also chairwoman of the Modern Women's Foundation (現代婦女基金會), said four out of 100 families in Taiwan are single-parent families, and that there are more single mothers than single fathers.

Survey of single mothers

* Discrimination: 20.83 percent

* Financial constraints: 40.63 percent

* Education of children: 26.56 percent

* Adjustment to new life: 14.58 percent

* Others: 19.79 percent

Q2. What are the largest factors contributing to the difficulties?

* Traditional thinking: 51.04 percent

* Social structure: 41.67 percent

* Economic factors: 45.83 percent

* Personal factors: 29.69 percent

* Other factors: 4.69 percent

Source: women's service groups

She said that her foundation and others hope that the results of the survey will call public attention to the difficulties of single mothers, a segment of the population that is steadily growing.

The study also indicated that most single mothers are in financial distress, with nearly 50 percent of them looking for employment.

Funding for education and housing are also in noticeably short supply, and younger single mothers seek assistance from social welfare organizations more often than their older counterparts.

Surprisingly, the poll results also show that single moms get more help from neighbors and friends than they do from their own families and relatives.

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