The British Government have faced calls to ensure that being a single parent from a BAME background is a protected characteristic under the Equality Act. The campaign group Single Parent Rights (SPR) have launched a study where over 1000 participants were surveyed. The results from this study showed that single parents from BAME backgrounds are 96% more likely to face discrimination compared 79% of white single parents. During the pandemic 51% of single parents have reported discrimination, from being turned away at shops to struggling to balance home schooling and working life. SPR has claimed that these are a ‘unprecedented number’ which shows that things have gotten worse since the Covid-19 pandemic.
Single parents are disadvantaged in daily life from being refused rental properties and single supplement charges for days out. SPR has reported that in terms of child benefits, two-parent families can earn up to £100,00 until their entitlement is affected whereas this number is doubled for single parents. In addition, single parents are excluded from receiving 30 hours of funded children for 3-4 years because this entitlement is dependent on having a partner in work.
A single parent commented that she dealt with many disapproving comments about being a black single mother. Another single parent has shared that he had to leave his job because his employer did not show any understanding or sympathy to the challenges he faces balancing work and the responsibilities of being a single parent.
Bell Ribeiro-Addy, who is the MP for Streatham and a Member of the Women and Equalities Select Committee has discussed the difficulties that single parents face in our society. She remarks that the pandemic has stressed how policy-making is directed towards nuclear families and excludes single parent families. Making single parents a protected characteristic in the Equality Act would go a long to addressing and correcting the inequalities that single parents face in various areas of life.