Sunday, April 6, 2014

Black Women Opting out of early motherhood will help with stabilizing the Black Family

By Rachel Miller-Bradshaw
In the early 90s young black women would rush like it was their duty to birth children in their late teens or early twenties.   Many African American women were socialized to value the mothering role above anything else.  Times have changed and women of other cultures are focusing more on their careers and enjoying their lives.  However for black women the mindset of early motherhood still lingers. 

According to the National Fatherhood Initiative 60% of non marital births are to women in their twenties.  70% of African American women between the ages of 25-29 have never been married.  These two statistics indicates something quite telling, and reveals what could be one major solution to the high percentage of single parent, female-headed households, a rising epidemic in the Black community. If black women could engage in responsible and thoughtful dating, using contraception and practice abstinence till age 30 the number of out of wedlock black births will decrease.

The current economic instability and the many social issues affecting black males in particular, such as high unemployment, mass incarceration, and significant high school dropouts’ rates, have all affected the number of eligible mates available to black women. Most of the black males affected by the aforementioned issues don’t regain their footing until their thirties and forties.  Also men are socialized to believe that their primary role is to provide financially for their families and most will refrain from marrying until they feel they can support a family.  Research also proves that married fathers are more likely than unmarried fathers to parent their children. 

These aforementioned cause and their effects on black males suggests that black women may want to give their black male counterparts time to catch up.  There is also a maturity and psychological element to this discussion that must not be omitted.  Young women in their twenties are still trying to find themselves and figure out who they are and their purpose in life.  This is a journey one must figure out alone before marrying, which could arguably be the most important decision of one’s life.  People in their thirties are more stable emotionally and financially and are more mature in handling interacting with a spouse and children on a daily basis.  Other cultures seem to understand this and don’t subscribe to the “I still want to be young when my children are in their twenties” mentality that really has contributed to the black community’s issues, specifically high non marital births for women in their twenties.

In their 30s African American women are better equipped with a higher likelihood of marriage, financial stability, and youth now coupled with some experience will guarantee higher successes of accomplishing traditional family structures.   It’s a win-win situation. Black women can still continue to value the “mother” role while also valuing the “wife” role, and even the “career woman” role.

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