In every EC country the number of lone mothers is increasing and this is one of the most significant social changes.
Current debates around the issue of lone motherhood are incorporated into the framework of welfare state theories. These theories are being criticised because they either ignore gender, are not differentiating enough between EC member states, are too behaviouristic or measure only quantifiable characteristics.
I propose to overcome the gaps in these theories by taking a gendered and ethnographic approach by studying Ireland's lone mothers who have most distinguishing characteristics. Lone mother's own negotiating process in relation to motherhood and paid employment will be researched. By comparing the outcomes with my previous research into lone motherhood in Germany and Britain interrelations between different social policies and lone mothers attitudes and behaviour will be found.
The aim of the research is to form a more differentiated, interactive and gendered welfare state theory which can assist social policy makers.