Mississippi ranks highest for babies born out of wedlock

Karen Madej

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Photo by Jessica Rockowitz on Unsplash

Babies born to unwed mothers total 54.9% in Mississippi, the highest of all American States.

At the other end of the spectrum, Utah’s percentage of babies born to unmarried mothers is 19.1. This could well have something to do with how popular polygamy is in the state.

Let’s focus on Mississippi though.

Liberal, easy going, robust women. Single moms have their work cut out for them. They may live with their partner or raise their child alone or with the help of family and friends. Some moms do not work, supported by the state or the father of the child. Some may work full or part time. Some might have three jobs.

Do people object to the unmarried status of these single moms?

Most of the women who end up raising their child alone started out in a relationship. A woman would have to be very brave and have her own means of support to carry, give birth, and raise a child on her own. 

For certain parties in the United States, the main issue regarding single mothers is their status. The danger for unmarried women is the lack of support in raising her child or children. Most mothers will do all they can to keep a marriage together or their partner in the home. They’d be reckless not to.

Sadly, relationships fail. For whatever reason, a partner or husband will leave or their partner will ask them to leave the marital or otherwise home.

Women have rights these days. Unlike a century ago when the Suffragettes won the right to vote on February 6, 2018.

Female stereotypes

During the fifties and sixties, television depicted women as homemakers, waiting diligently for their husband to return from a hard day in the office. Spotless kitchens with gleaming white goods and accessories bought for them by their thoughtful husbands.

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By Unknown author , Public Domain,

Advertisements portrayed women as secretaries, nurses or teachers. Acceptable roles for working women.

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By Mississippi Department of Archives and History - Nurse in front of refrigerator, immunizing seated woman, 1960s, No restrictions

Married men and women considered unmarried or widowed women a threat to their relationship, as though a single woman could steal a married man away from his wife and family. Those in smugly secure marriages might consider single moms as unattractive spinsters or nagging shrews if they spoke their minds.

Imagine Mad Men scenes

Fifties men wanted their women attractive, docile, and attentive to their every need. And right up to the introduction of Enovid, men had women exactly where and how they wanted them. Not exactly chained to the kitchen, barefoot and pregnant, but perfectly coiffed and attired, modelling their perfect homes. Because appearances spoke volumes.

The right marriage meant promotion and valued reputations of the men concerned in certain occupations. Those marriages required the man to work long hours, drink bourbon at their desk and have affairs with their secretaries. Meanwhile, the little woman plumped pillows, used her latest homemaker gadgets and cooked fashionable foods. Oh, and brought up the children.

A woman became a wife, a mother, a homemaker. Yet, there had to be more, didn’t there?

Female freedom

The sixties opened up new opportunities for women. Enovid birth control brought enormous changes to the lives of all American women.

“Chosen motherhood is the real liberation. The choice to have a child makes the whole experience of motherhood different, and the choice to be generative in other ways can at last be made, and is being made by many women now, without guilt.” ― Betty Friedan, The Feminine Mystique

A world of choices emerged for women. They could go to college and university.

They joined the workforce. No longer kept in check by their inability to choose when they had children, women flocked to work.

However, in the workplace, men and women earned very different rates. Add to lower wages inappropriate harassment of women by men you can imagine the disharmony.

Women became vocal politicians and activists for their rights, the rights of Blacks. Equal rights.

In 1964, the Civil Rights Bill President John F Kennedy proposed in 1963 finally passed. 

The Civil Rights Act of 1964 prohibits discrimination on the basis of race, color, religion, sex or national origin. Provisions of this civil rights act forbade discrimination on the basis of sex, as well as, race in hiring, promoting, and firing. Legal Highlight: The Civil Rights Act of 1964

Today

Women have achieved incredible feats in all fields imaginable. Yet Mississippi women earn 75 cents for every dollar a man earns. At this rate she will receive equal pay in 2088. Millennial women experience depression 26.8 more days per year than millennial men. Of employed women 31.6% work in low-paid jobs.

The women of Utah are worse off, earning 70 cents to every man’s dollar. She will receive equal pay by 2106. Perhaps polygamy makes Utah women happier in that they experience depression for only 16.3 days compared to their millennial husbands. Of employed women, 33.7% work in low-paid jobs.

Reproductive rights in Mississippi show a pitiful percentage of women who live in counties with abortion providers but adopted the Medicaid Expansion for Family Planning Services.

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Screenshot by author from Status of Women Mississippi

Reproductive rights in Utah, on the other hand, the majority of women live in counties where they have easy access to abortions. No doubt all those rich husbands have medical insurance to pay for any unintentional pregnancies.

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Screenshot by author from Status of Women Utah

Why is there still a gender pay gap?

This is by no means the full story. Just scratching the surface of why women, fifty-eight years after the Civil Rights Bill demanded equal rights, are still not considered equal enough to be paid the same as their male counterparts.

Women do three times the caring for the home and family compared to men. You can try calculating your or you partner's daily load with UN Women’s unpaid care calculator.

On average, working moms are paid less than non-mothers. The motherhood penalty worsens for each additional child a woman has. Does this make sense to you? Especially if the woman has the burden of bringing up her children as a single, unmarried, divorced, or widowed parent. These strong independent warriors should be rewarded for their efforts. Ten fold.

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Passionate about climate change and living a debt-free, sustainable life. Determined to learn how to and build an adobe house or Earthship. The goal is to live off-grid and off the land. Energy for heat and to power electrical devices and appliances will use solar, wind, and hydro-powered electricity. No trees will die to make my home.

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