Shredding the Social Safety Net - Forced Marriage
GordThomps10 at netscape.net
GordThomps10 at netscape.net
Tue Apr 23 09:14:53 MDT 2002
Washington Post Criticizes Feminists for Challenging Bush Marriage Proposal
A Washington Post editorial today criticized the feminist left for not
embracing President Bushs welfare reauthorization plan that would
include $300 million for state programs promoting marriage as a means
of ending poverty. Specifically, the editorial blasts feminists for
not considering marriage as a method of decreasing the number of
children in single-parent homes living in poverty. The editorial asks,
Why not find out whether helping mothers and fathers tackle that
challenging task of getting and staying married could help families
find their way out of poverty? According to Feminist Majority
President Eleanor Smeal, The only way out of poverty is through
increasing incomes. The difference between poor and rich is money.
Smeal continued, The government can help poor people find and keep
better jobs and better wages through programs increasing minimum wage,
or better yet, by adopting a living wage standard, occupational
training and education, etc. The Bush program ignores the fact that
there are not enough high paying jobs for men and women, especially
minorities and the young.
The editorial also suggests that feminists are showing too much
concern for women who may be forced into abusive marriages as a result
of the proposed initiative. [I]t is wrong to suggest that any marriage
promotion is equivalent to pushing women into abusive marriages. The
Bush document specifically seeks to encourage healthy marriage. At
issue, however, are not healthy marriages. According to NOW Legal
Defense and Education Fund (NOW LDEF) as many as 60 percent of women
receiving welfare have been victims of domestic violence, versus 22
percent of women in the general population. In the last year alone, as
many as 30 percent of female welfare recipients reported abuse.
Domestic violence contributes to poverty. Up to 50 percent of women
who were victims of domestic violence lose their jobs because of the
abuse. The Bush Administration would do better if it would promote
programs to reduce domestic violence and living wages. Let Cupid take
care of marriage.
From the feminist perspective, when it comes to welfare, the Bush
Administration should focus solely on reducing poverty, not on
encouraging one particular lifestyle. Importantly, feminists are not
only people dissatisfied with the Bush proposal. According to a
recent poll, only 2 percent of the public set promoting marriage as a
current goal for the welfare system, and only 3 percent thought it
should be a future goal.
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