I have previously blogged about the demonization of single mothers but today a report comes from Australia that highlights just how institutionalised the discrimination was. Thousands of single mothers had their babies taken away from them between the 1950s and 1970s by the state. An 18 month enquiry by the Canberra State Government has concluded that a national apology is owed to these women by the Australian Government.
Reading the personal stories of the women involved is an anguishing experience in itself and I cannot even imagine just how much grief these mothers underwent and will still suffer from the lost years of not seeing their children grow up. Some girls were shackled to their beds to prevent resistance when their babies were taken away. Some were told that their babies had died, only to discover now that the babies were given up for adoption.
Marriage does not make a mother. While a loving and stable family relationship will provide sustenance to offsprings it is not the only family model that exists. The patriarchal system that dictates that a mother is of no value without a ring on her finger is a cruel one that seeks to diminish the value of mothers striving on their own. Just listen to the Republican candidates fighting for the Presidential nomination for further clarification of the patriarchal system being institutionalised and ingrained in national politics.