Let’s Lose the Labels
Since you’re visiting Supernanny.co.uk, chances are you’ll already appreciate how hard parenting is. Now try to imagine doing it on your own.
We all know someone bringing up a child alone – 1 in 4 families are now headed by a single parent. It’s a tough job, yet too often single parents are portrayed as ‘scroungers’, unemployed teenagers or even ‘bad mothers’. These quotes are actual public attitudes, confirmed by polling data but so out of touch with the reality of today’s single parent. In a recent survey, 83% of Gingerbread members say the media portrays them in a negative light.
”The media portray us as living from benefit payment to pub.”
Challenge stigma: get the facts
Being a single parent is tough enough, without having to deal with attitudes that are often just plain wrong: most single parents hold down a paid job, their average age is 36 and most have previously been married, never expecting to raise a child alone. Only 2% are teenagers.
Single parent employment has climbed steadily in recent years to 57%. 8% of single parents are dads. Over half of children in single parent families are poor, compared to a quarter in couple families.
I’m 42, I have a master’s degree. I’m strict with my son - he eats healthy food, has a regular routine, has restricted access to TV and computer games. I care about his education. But I do sometimes feel people expect my son to fail because his dad is not around."
Times are tough and the labels are wrong
There is no such thing as a typical single parent. But the myths and labels are very far from the reality of most single parents’ lives. Gingerbread know that most single parents are doing a good job of bringing up their kids, and most are either in paid work or looking for a job.
Gingerbread: campaigning for everyone to lose the labels
View Gingerbread’s powerful campaign video here www.gingerbread.org.uk
What do we want?
Gingerbread are asking the politicians and media editors to commit to challenging prejudice against single parent families. Over the course of our campaign, we'll be monitoring how the media portrays single parents. Plus, we’ll be highlighting the real issues that matter to families.
The campaign is already backed by Gordon Brown, David Cameron, Nick Clegg and a host of celebs. You can also sign the e-pledge, and ask your MP to do the same here.
”When it is viable for more single parents to be working more flexible hours we may be portrayed more positively in the media i.e. not just scroungers on benefits.”
What would losing the labels look like?
Gingerbread want people to stop labelling single parents, and using language that stigmatises them. The media can do this by avoiding unwarranted mentions of single parenthood, leaving out unnecessary references to ‘single’ or ‘lone’ parents. We challenge everyone to think about the language they use, and to get the whole story when writing, talking or reporting about single parents.
If you want to expose when single parents are being stereotyped in the newspapers, send your example to firstname.lastname@example.org and Gingerbread will put them on their wall of shame.
*The 30 MPs being targeted are: Gordon Brown, Alastair Darling, Yvette Cooper, Ed Balls, Andy Burnham, John Denham, Alan Johnson, Helen Goodman, Stephen Timms, Dawn Primarolo, David Cameron, George Osbourne, Theresa May, Michael Gove, Andrew Lansley, Caroline Spelman, Chris Grayling, Maria Miller, Andrew Selous, David Gauke, Nick Clegg, Vince Cable, Julia Goldsworthy, Chris Huhne, Norman Lamb, David Laws, Steve Webb, Annette Brooke, Paul Rowen, Colin Breed.