On the Home Front

AnyaRupert at aol.com AnyaRupert at aol.com
Mon Jul 29 02:22:13 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.

 [27]Feminist.org: Your daily source for the feminist perspective on
   national and global events. Media Resources: Washington Post, 4/5/02;
       Feminist Majority; NOW Legal Defense and Education Fund

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