Welfare's End by Gwendolyn Mink

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With her analysis of the thirty-year campaign to reform and ultimately to end welfare, Gwendolyn Mink levels a searing indictment of anti-welfare politicians' assault on poor mothers. She charges that the basic elements of the new welfare policy subordinate poor single mothers in a separate system of law. Mink points to the racial, class, and gender biases of both liberals and conservatives to explain the odd but sturdy consensus behind welfare reforms that force the poor single mother to relinquish basic rights and compel her to find economic security in work outside the home.

Mink explores how and why we should cure the unique inequality of poor single mothers by reorienting the emphasis of welfare policy away from regulating mothers to rewarding the work they do. Every mother is a working mother, the bumper sticker proclaims, but the work mothers do pays no wages. Mink argues that women's equality depends on economic support for caregivers' work.

Welfare's End challenges the ways in which policymakers define the problem they seek to cure. While legislators assume that something is wrong with poor single mothers, Mink insists that something is wrong with a system that invades their rights and negates their work. Showing how welfare reform harms women, Mink invites the design of policies to promote gender justice.


About Gwendolyn Mink

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Political scientist Gwendolyn Mink is the author of "The Wages of Motherhood: Inequality in the Welfare State, 1917-1942" and "Welfare's End", and the editor of "Whose Welfare?". She is also the co-editor of "The Reader's Companion to U.S. Women's History" and of the forthcoming "Encyclopedia of Poverty and Social Welfare in the U.S.
Published March 1, 1998 by Cornell University Press. 180 pages
Genres: Political & Social Sciences, Gay & Lesbian. Non-fiction

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Despite lip service given to traditional concerns and family values, welfare reform attracted approval not only from Republicans and opponents of women's issues, but also from more surprising constituencies, including some in the mainstream women's movement.

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