Single Mothers in Meghalaya have low Education says report

Shillong: Nearly 70 percent of single mothers (SM) in Meghalaya are less educated, states a ‘Report of the Exploratory Study on the Socio-Economic Status and Problems of Single Mothers in Meghalaya’.

The report was released during a programme organised by the Meghalaya State Commission for Women on December 6 on the occasion of the International Day for Elimination of Violence Against Women (VAW) at the Conference Hall, Directorate of Social Welfare, Shillong.

The study was conducted by Meghalaya State Commission for Women (MSCW) in collaboration with the Department of Anthropology, NEHU, and the Department of Social Welfare, Martin Luther Christian University (MLCU).

According to the report, there are a total of 3,078 single mothers (SM) in the seven districts of Meghalaya where the study was carried out. The seven districts are East Khasi Hills, West Khasi Hills, West Garo Hills, East Garo Hills, South Garo Hills, Ri Bhoi, and West Jaintia Hills. Out of the 3,078 single mothers, a total of 2,322 single mothers were interviewed.

Dr. Melari Nongrum, Associate Professor at the Indian Institute of Public Health, Shillong, said that as per the findings, 65.2 percent of single mothers (SM) are widows.

The other factor was desertion, which stood at 28.6 percent. Adultery was another reason for being single mothers, which stands at 14.8 percent, the report stated.

The socio-economic status of SM is relatively poor as 46.2 percent of single mothers are illiterate and only 28.4 percent had primary education.

As per the findings of the report, almost half of the single mothers are illiterate and one-third have primary education. As far as occupation is concerned, 36.1 of single mothers are daily wage earners, 24.5 percent are unemployed and 13.9 percent are engaged in farming.

According to the report, nearly half of single mothers are financially independent, which stands at 46.7 percent. It also stated that almost 50 percent of the single mothers had good physical health while the other half had health issues such as poor eyesight, diabetes, high blood pressure as well as psychological, and emotional problems.

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Single mothers (SM) face financial hardships as they work mostly in unorganised sectors, the report stated.

The report in its recommendation suggested that more awareness and sensitization are necessary regarding women’s rights. The report further highlighted that single mothers should also be made aware of various government schemes, and banking facilities, among others.

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