The purposes of this research are
- To develop an in-depth understanding of lone mothers’ transition to a sustainable livelihood using employment strategies in the aftermath of IPV and
- Provide a means for the lone mothers to participate in social change.
The overall aim of this inquiry is to explore and describe lone mothers' transition to sustainable livelihood using employment strategies after leaving an abusive partner. More specifically to identify:
- lone mothers’ goals for economic sustainability related to the workforce after leaving abusive partners,
- strengths and assets of the women as they transition to sustainable livelihoods,
- social factors that increase or decrease vulnerability during and after the transition,
- socio-cultural structures and processes that hinder or facilitate the transition,
- employment strategies used in the transition, and
- appropriate entry points to support sustainable livelihoods
Lone or single mothers are recognized as one of the most vulnerable groups in society, often living with much less income than partnered or single women without families. Income and related social status are accepted as key social determinants of health and this is reflected in statistics revealing lower quality of life and poorer health for lone mothers and their children in many areas, both physical and psychological.
Public policies do not always reflect or respond to the realities of women’s lives with assessment and interventions often done for, not with, communities, while health promotion emphasizes community participation for improved health outcomes. This program of research utilizes a participatory action research (PAR) process that involves lone mothers as co-researchers using the method of Photovoice.
Intimate partner violence (IPV) is one of the major health problems of our time; one in three women is affected worldwide. IPV, and the crisis of leaving, push many women into poverty. Poverty results from ongoing physical and mental health effects of IPV, further abuse, debt, and costs of moving away and staying safe. All these are combined with loss of material and fiscal assets. Lone mothers have the added challenge of the abuser’s intrusion through custody, access, and child support conflicts. Little is known about what mothers living with the after-effects of IPV need to find sustainable work and how they manage the transition.
This research is critical as we know very little about the livelihood goals of women who have left abusive partners, the assets they have and need, and work strategies they use to sustain their families over the long term. This knowledge is vital to develop more suitable entry points and interventions to support lone mother survivors of IPV to achieve a sustainable livelihood.