The aim of this article is to analyse and compare the experiences of self-labelled feminist and non-feminist women who have consciously chosen to be single mothers. This article contributes to the literature by providing a Spanish context to the experiences of single mothers by choice. Scant research currently exists on the specific characteristics of this type of family and on the influence of gender composition. Furthermore, no research has been conducted on the comparison between feminist and non-feminist single mothers by choice and how their different perspectives may affect their children’s education. The principal argument of this paper is based on four central themes developed from the data: a) The women participating in this study have opted to be single mothers by choice because they have not found a suitable partner; b) Being single mothers by choice has, for all of them, entailed a transgressive and empowering decision with regard to the traditional nuclear family; c) The feminist participants anchor their decision to be a single-mother family by choice in their feminism, which is also reflected in the critical pedagogy that they practise in their children´s education and in the choice of secular schooling; and d) For the non-feminist participants, the empowering and emancipatory aspect of being a single mother by choice, their educational level, professional success and economic independence do not have an impact on their patriarchal beliefs, and prefer Catholic schools for their children.


Single-Mothers-By-Choice, Children´s Education, (Non) Feminism, Spain, Ethnography

Author Bio(s)

Ana Bravo-Moreno (MSc, PhD) is currently a Marie S. Curie Research Fellow at the University College of London & Institute of Education (UK), on leave from her position as an associate professor at the Department of Social Anthropology at the University of Granada (Spain). She is now working on a research project entitled: “Alternative Families in the 21st Century: An Interdisciplinary and Cross-National Approach” financed by the European Commission. Previously her research interests were on: (a) issues of education inequity in local, global and transnational settings, (b) the effects of international migration on the shaping of national and gender identities, and (c) the inequalities in the reproductive health of immigrant women. Some of her work has been published in Health Care for Women International, Gazeta de Antropología, Comparative Education Journal, Migraciones Internacionales, in Springer and in Peter Lang. Correspondence regarding this article can be addressed directly to: bravo_ana@yahoo.co.uk.

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