Reflections on changing the world


Year-end is always a good time to think about what has happened in your life and what you’d like to have happen in the future. Was reading an article in Ode Magazine yesterday and found a story about a professor at Barnard College in New York who invites local Harlem residents to sit in for free in his philosophy classes. He got in trouble with the administration, but he told them these are his friends and they wouldn’t dare tell another professor his friends couldn’t sit in. Cool.

Anyway, he quoted Ghandi and I think it’s a perfect one for single working women, too. “Be the change you want to see in the world.”

Make the choices you really want to make–not those society would have you make. The single women of today who do work they love, who pursue successful careers of all kinds, and who build caring relationships with friends and family are demsontrating that women are in charge of their own happiness.

How many children are raised by a single parent because of divorce, desertion, or death? Why should a stigma be attached to single mothers by choice? The single women of today who choose to become mothers because they have not met the right mate are courageously living out their dream. They are showing the world that healthy, happy children can come from all types of homes–as they have always done.

The single women who face medical and financial challenges and find new ways to overcome those obstacles are showing resourcefulness and courage that is an inspiration to others in this profoundly down economy.

The single women of today who live alone or caring for an elderly relative yet find joy in work, play and friendships are embodiments of hope. They personify the energy, the creativity, and the courage that are helping to make the world a better place for all.

Merry Christmas to all. May we all continue to be the change we want to see in the world.

Research on cohabiting reaches questionable conclusion


Because I write a bioscience blog, I read a lot of medical and scientific topics. And I’ve learned to watch carefully for qualifying statements, extra information, study-size, and other limitations that can make conclusions tenuous or shaky.

Just found this article that’s headed: “Marriage may protect against dementia.” It makes it sound like living without a partner increases your risk of eventual cognitive impairment. But when you read the whole thing carefully, this report on a meeting of the Alzheimer’s Association, notes that those who developed Alzheimer’s were far more likely to have a certain gene marker than those who didn’t. And that having lost a partner through death or divorce increased that risk by a factor of about 8. So “other factors besides cohabitation were at work.” Yeah, for sure.

All the participants were Finnish citizens. I don’t know what it’s like to live alone in Finland. But the implication that people who don’t cohabit also don’t have social networks and close communication with other human beings seems totally out of line with my observations of many of today’s single women–and with those of our next guest on the SWWAN Dive show, Dr. Kay Trimberger.

Dr. Kay, herself an ever-single adoptive mother, has done the research. And she reports that what appeared to be true 20 or 30 years ago about, for example, single mothers by choice is now proven to be totally inaccurate–now that studies have been set up by investigators who are not so biased about the subject.

As the quantum laws say, nothing happens that is independent of the effect of the observer. How much truer even of scientific studies, which rely on the observer to choose what will be observed and set the conditions for observing. You can see how this approach would tend to reinforce whatever the experimenter already believes–consciously or unconsciously.

Don’t let the studies get you down! Listen live to our interview with sociologist Dr. Kay Trimberger, “The New Single Woman–Uncensored” on Friday August 15 at 11am CT/9am PT.

US not alone in rising number of single-parent households


Even though the tradition to have a regular family with lots of kids has been strong among Jews, times are changing in Israel as well as other countries. The number of single-parent families in Israel has doubled over last decade. At 7% of all families, the single-parent household is a growing minority (90% of those are women-headed).

Here are the rankings of countries in order of their number of single-headed households, according to an NII report:

  • United State ranked in first place with 16%
  • Canada followed with 11%
  • Finland, South Korea, New Zealand and Norway are ranked third with 9%
  • Australia, the UK, Austria and Portugal ranked fourth with 8%
  • Israel is fifth with 7%
  • Denmark, Spain and Switzerland came in at sixth place (6%), and
  • Germany, Greece, Japan and Luxembourg (5%).

The same forces seem to be at work in most countries–better pay and more opportunities for women are leading to fewer marriages and more women choosing to remain single after divorce or become moms on their own.