Protect against Title IX and submit a comment by September 12, 2022.

The US Department of Education released their proposed changes to Title IX regulations that would dramatically change the future for women and girls in federally funded activities and programs. There are many negative impacts that will harm girls, women, and families.

A government portal has been set up for you to make a comment submission.  It is very straight-forward and easy to do.  In addition, this governmental body is required to read every submission, large and small – before they can finalize the new “Rule.”  So rest assured, your input will be read and considered.


September 23, 2022

by Alexis Goodman

It is unlikely that you have ever heard of Ashley Fisher. This may be due to the fact that she hasn’t done anything to have her name cross your dashboard in neon lights, but she did write an interesting article about growing up without a father. It took her 809 words to convey her key message: her father’s absence isn’t a bad thing at all. In fact, to her, the stereotypical negatives are just that, stereotypes. The absence of her father resulted in a strong, independent woman that can truthfully say, “I have grown up happy, without a man in my life. I’ve learned that a man is not a necessity for happiness, just an accessory.” (Fisher)

Her main point was that growing up without a father doesn’t determine anything, and it actually contributed to her success today. Despite this, her story is purely anecdotal evidence, and there is a surplus of research and studies to prove that father-absence is not a positive situation.

Does a Father’s Absence matter?

More than fifty years ago, the national percentage of children living with just their mother was at eight percent, and in the year 2016, that number was reported to have more than doubled to twenty-three percent. The Pew Research Center released data in 2019 showing that children in the U.S. were more likely to live in a single-parent home than anywhere else in the world, and eighty percent of non-intact homes are father-absent households. The minority groups seem to be hit the hardest by this social pandemic, as African American communities are seeing only 37% of children living with both biological parents, and a presumable number of 62% are living with only their mother (Wilcox).

As Isaac Newton so masterfully put it, “For every action, there is an equal and opposite reaction.” So, what is the opposite reaction to this pendulum?

The Results of a Fatherless Home

Through a series of studies and research, the father’s absence impacts children in numerous ways including education, sexual activity, emotional and behavioral issues, suicide, etc. The list could go on, but the primary focus will be on these four, starting with the first. Ashley Fisher, in her article, explained that because her father left, she saw the need for academics more clearly than she probably would have in the alternate situation. Although her accomplishments should be applauded, the same does not ring true for others. A study was conducted with almost 14,000 participants from ages twelve to eighteen, and most had lower grade point averages than those who were raised with both biological parents (Tillman, pg. 1). It was also found that black adolescents raised in a one-parent home were less likely to finish college (Curtis, pg. 603).

Fisher articulated, “I’ve also grown up watching my mom and sister date some good, and not so good, guys. Because of this, I learned standards.” (Fisher) Such self-awareness is prodigious when held up to other teenagers in similar circumstances. In a study with over 5,000 youth, it was reported that those without their fathers have their first sexual encounter at a much earlier age than youth whose parents have always been present (Ryan). If a young girl has a lower quality father-daughter relationship, then her chances of engaging in riskier sexual encounters are higher (Ellis).

In another study, it was found that fatherless teenage girls are 3.5 times more likely to become pregnant than their peers. The general adolescent rate for pregnancy is at 4%, but for adolescents experiencing a father’s absence, the numbers are looking at 17.4% (Lang, pg. 215). Interestingly enough, girls between the ages of six to eight are more likely to experience an earlier occurrence of puberty if they are growing up in a father-absent home (Deardorff, pg. 5).

On the emotional and behavioral level, a study showed that toddlers who regularly were around their fathers were found to be better at regulating their emotions (Bocknek). Data has also shown that children being raised by only their mothers have higher levels of aggressive behavior (Osborne). When fathers are not present, children display a greater number of attention/learning, or speech/language disorders (Jackson). This contrasts with Fisher’s argument that “We become mature and independent quicker than most people could even imagine.” (Fisher) Although this is probably a true result of being raised without a father, it shouldn’t necessarily be seen as a positive.

Another direct negative to growing up without your father is the link reported between it and suicide and suicide ideation. Ashley Fisher reported that in her experience, being without a father was not a sad thing, and said, “I’ve gone through the hardest parts of my life without leaning on a man to support me or make me feel better. Because I know I am the only person responsible for my happiness and success.” A study with 1,618 Latina high school students found that the lower the father’s support, the higher the suicidal ideation and likewise behavior (De Luca). It seems that growing up without a father in your life to wipe away your tears when you fall or to protect you from the bullies in the world doesn’t produce happiness as one might have thought when reading Fisher’s article.

Other research and studies correlate to the previous statement, especially one that found women who were experiencing suicide ideation were more likely to have grown up without their biological father. In that study of 462 women, 70% of those that had ideas of suicide had at some point prior to age fifteen lived without their father for a period longer than six months. Whereas with the women who did not struggle with suicide ideation, only 50% reported similar circumstances (Vaszari, pg. 13)

Seeking the Ideal for Society

A professor of mine once explained that when we see an individual with one arm, we are in awe of all that they have accomplished. Nevertheless, we do not advocate for the cutting off of our own perfectly healthy arms, because we know that although one-armed individuals are impressive, they are not the ideal situation. In a similar way, this is how we should view a single-mother household when compared with a two-parent household; profess admiration for what she has accomplished but do not lead the masses to believe that this is the ideal environment for children because research shows this is not true.

Ashley Fisher, although a strong and capable woman, probably has no idea what is missed when growing up without a father. Fathers are important and they are needed, not just an accessory you can discard when it becomes cumbersome to do otherwise.


Bocknek, E. L., Brophy-Herb, H. E., Fitzgerald, H. E., Schiffman, R. F., & Vogel, C. (2014). Stability of biological father presence as a proxy for family stability: cross-racial associations with the longitudinal development of emotion regulation in toddlerhood. Infant Mental Health Journal, 35(4), 309-321

Bureau, US Census. “America’s Families and Living Arrangements: 2018.” Census.gov, 8 Oct. 2021, https://www.census.gov/data/tables/2018/demo/families/cps-2018.html.

Curtis, C.A., Grinnell-Davis, C., & Alleyne-Green, B. (2017). The effects of father figure involvement on educational outcomes in Black adolescents. Journal of Black Studies, 48(6), 591-609

Deardorff, Julianna et al. “Father absence, body mass index, and pubertal timing in girls: differential effects by family income and ethnicity.” The Journal of adolescent health : official publication of the Society for Adolescent Medicine vol. 48,5 (2011): 441-7. doi:10.1016/j.jadohealth.2010.07.032

De Luca, Susan M et al. “Latina adolescent suicide ideations and attempts: associations with connectedness to parents, peers, and teachers.” Suicide & life-threatening behavior vol. 42,6 (2012): 672-83. doi:10.1111/j.1943-278X.2012.00121.x

Ellis, Bruce J et al. “Impact of fathers on risky sexual behavior in daughters: a genetically and environmentally controlled sibling study.” Development and psychopathology vol. 24,1 (2012): 317-32. doi:10.1017/S095457941100085X

Fisher, Ashley. “Growing up without a Father Made Me the Strong Woman I Am Today.” She Rose Revolution, 8 July 2020, https://sheroserevolution.com/ashleyfisher/growing-up-without-a-father/.

Jackson, D.B., Newsome, J., & Beaver, K.M. (2016). Does early paternal involvement predict offspring developmental diagnoses? Early Human Development, 103, 9-16

Lang, D. L., Rieckmann, T., DiClemente, R. J., Crosby, R. A., Brown, L. K., & Donenberg, G. R. (2013). Multi-level factors associated with pregnancy among urban adolescent women seeking psychological services. Journal of Urban Health, 90, 212-223

Newton, I. (1687) Philosophiae Naturalis Principia Mathematica. Londini, Jussu Societatis Regiæ ac Typis Josephi Streater. Prostat apud plures Bibliopolas. Anno. [Pdf] Retrieved from the Library of Congress, https://www.loc.gov/item/28020872/.

Osborne, C., & McLanahan, S. (2007). Partnership instability and child well-being. Journal of Marriage and Family, 69, 1065-1083

Ryan, R. M. (2015). Nonresident fatherhood and adolescent sexual behavior: A comparison of siblings approach. Developmental Psychology, 51(2), 211

Wilcox, W Bradford. “Less Poverty, Less Prison, More College: What Two Parents Mean for Black and White Children.” Institute for Family Studies, 17 June 2021, https://ifstudies.org/blog/less-poverty-less-prison-more-college-what-two-parents-mean-for-black-and-white-children.

Tillman, K. H. (2007). Family structure pathways and academic disadvantage among adolescents in stepfamilies. Journal of Marriage and Family, 77, 383-424

Vaszari, John M et al. “Risk factors for suicidal ideation in a population of community-recruited female cocaine users.” Comprehensive psychiatry vol. 52,3 (2011): 238-46. doi:10.1016/j.comppsych.2010.07.003


Alexis Goodman was raised on a ranch in Dadeville, Missouri. She loves spending time with her husband, reading, hiking mountains, and learning new hobbies. She is currently a student at Brigham Young University-Idaho, where she is working to get a degree in Political Science with an emphasis on American Government.