Brightest Minds: Dr. Isabel Sawhill on Creating a New Ethic of Responsible Parenthood

Thursday, April 30, 2015
9:30am to 11:30am EDT
800 17th Street NW
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In the United States today, more than 40 percent of new mothers are unmarried. Sixty percent of these births are unplanned, as women, in the words of Dr. Isabel Sawhill, “drift” into motherhood. Since the 1970s, this rise in unwed and unplanned motherhood has resulted in an increase in child poverty. Children born into these circumstances are less likely to later attend college and earn a middle-class income.

According to Dr. Sawhill, author of the new book Generation Unbound: Drifting into Sex and Parenthood without Marriage, the solution to this challenge does not solely lie in either Republicans' calls for marriage promotion, or in Democrats’ efforts to increase safety net spending. Rather, she says, “What we need instead is a new ethic of responsible parenthood. If we combine an updated social norm with greater reliance on the most effective forms of birth control, we can transform drifters into planners and improve children’s life prospects.”

Join us as Dr. Sawhill explores these societal trends and their impact on child poverty and wellness, and explains how the social sector can effectively support efforts for change.

Members: Free 
Non-Members: $45.00

Please register online. If you do not have an account, contact Rebekah Seder.

Isabel V. Sawhill is a senior fellow in Economic Studies at the Brookings Institution. She serves as co-director of the Budgeting for National Priorities project and co-director of the Center on Children and Families. Prior to joining Brookings, Dr. Sawhill was a senior fellow at The Urban Institute. Her research has spanned a wide array of economic and social issues, including fiscal policy, economic growth, poverty and inequality, welfare reform, the well-being of children, and changes in the family. Dr. Sawhill helped to found The National Campaign to Prevent Teen and Unplanned Pregnancy and now serves as the President of its board. She received her Ph.D. from New York University in 1968.

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