Single-Mother Families, Maternal Employment and Children's Literacy Achievement: A Study of 10 Countries

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Publication details

JournalEducation and Society
DatePublished - 2012
Issue number3
Pages (from-to)23-42
Original languageEnglish


Labour force participation maybe particularly problematic for single-mothers. By working, mothers increase their family’s financial capital and consequently make more money available for educational resources. However, employment often results in the parent having less time to interact with their child and participate in school activities. This is particularly problematic for single-mothers. While abundant research has been conducted on the impact of maternal employment on educational outcomes in the United States, very little international and cross-national research exists. This study draws upon the PISA 2000 data to examine the association between maternal employment, family structure, and reading literacy achievement. The results indicate that in some of the countries, students with full-time and part time working single mothers had an educational advantage over single mothers who did not work. In some countries, this was still the case after accounting for economic resources.

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