Maria Kefalas, PhD
Assistant Professor of Sociology
St. Joseph’s University
Baker-Nord Center (206 Clark Hall)
It is common to ask why poor young women have children when childbearing seems only to reinforce the disadvantages they already face. Kefalas instead asks what it is that motherhood provides. Through first-hand interviews with low-income Latina, white, and African-American women in Philadelphia and Camden, Kefalas finds an answer: that motherhood and children are powerful sources of validation, purpose, love, and order for women who otherwise have few outlets for achieving social status and self-esteem. Kefalas discusses how these young women come to think of themselves as “good mothers,” despite the middle-class messages they receive about being too young and too poor to have children.
This is the final event of a three-part public lecture series on “Girls and Girlhood” sponsored by the Schubert Center for Child Studies, the Baker-Nord Center for the Humanities, and the Case Center for Women. Click here for a list of all three topics and speakers in this series.
For more information, contact the Schubert Center.