This week I will blog on a fine family sociology conference I am attending at Princeton.
Many programs aimed at preventing unmarried motherhood try to convince women, especially poor women with little education, that they could maximize their individual profits if they just prevented babies. This is an argument that works with many richer, more educated women and men, such as those who make up such policies.
Helen Alvare argues that such policies fail because they fail to understand what these women want. They are not trying to be individual profit maximizers. They are trying to be "gifted givers." The love and care they give to their children are a gift to the children themselves, and to the community as a whole. Giving that love is something these moms are good at. Being good mothers, according to the standards of their community, is something that any mother can understand. Facing up to the responsibilities of motherhood, even without a husband, is an honorable way to face their community.