University of Chicago
Type of paper: Thesis/Dissertation Chapter
Feminism of Poverty
The feminism of poverty can be described as a movement in political, economic and social equality for women, and is closely related to Liberalism. Feminism sees discrimination as a distinction of unequal treatment from all social, political and economic access for women. Feminism of poverty reaches all women, Black, White, Asian or English. It has been around since the beginning of time. Women have taken the role of mother, maid, cook and lover.
They did not have the right to vote, own property nor work. It was not until 1848, when women demanded the enfranchisement for the ballot (vote), became vociferous. In 1869 2when Black men were given the vote in the 15th Amendment, Susan B. Anthony and Elizabeth Cady Stanton refused to endorse the amendment, because it did not give women the vote and to become equal to their counter parts. http://teacher.scholastic.com/activities/suffrage/history.htm Even back then women were reduced to mere servants and those that did not have a family or husband lived in poverty both black and white. Women suffrage and poverty did not only exist here in the United States, these social political and economic inequalities were felt around the world; Such as in Great Britain, Europe, Finland and Africa, other third world countries also had social issues pertaining to poverty. Those most likely to live in poverty in the U.S. are women and children.
This is referred to as the feminization of poverty; increasingly the poor included unwed mothers, separated and divorced mothers, serving as the head of households (Basirico, et al, 2010). It is Known that women are much more likely to be poor than men, and that the impact of fiscal policy on the distribution of income is the main reason that women in the U.S. are more likely to be poor than women in other countries www.questia.com/search/feminization-poverty In the United States, in many communities there are individuals who live in poverty and cannot take care of themselves and their children especially women. So they become homeless living in shelters, cars, cardboard boxes, live on the streets, sleep on park benches, doorways or in major cities they may sleep in subways, because they have no income to support themselves.
For example women have become prostitutes and shoplifters in order to feed themselves and their family/families. Of the adult poor who do not, about forty percent work at jobs that pay so little that they fall below the poverty line and one-third of their children are poor also. Because they do not have viable jobs they cannot support their children or themselves, so they are still under the umbrella of the feminism of poverty. From 1951-2008 of the women who worked in the U.S. their pay gap was 64-71 cents for every dollar earned by men http://www.infoplease.com Women have fought for equal pay & rights since 1848, and as of 2009, 30 percent of women who are heads of families with no husband present have income below the poverty line. Demographics have shown that these individuals are the most likely group to be chronically poor. The U.S. Census, Labor and the Economics Statistics of the Department of commerce shows in a study that the trends and conditions of women( two to three times)are still lower than men and the feminism of poverty is still a growing concern today as of March 2011 (Basirico, et al, 2010).
With these continued disparities we will continue to be faced with the Feminism of poverty, because society has turned a deaf ear on the issues of women and children, they look the other way when it comes to providing for those within their own country, but they are quick to jump on the band wagon in the plight for other countries. We as a society have our priorities mixed up; if we are rich the attitude is according to Newt Gingrich “I don’t care about the poor”. If we are middle class we have the mentality that I’m just surviving myself. And if we are already poor we have the tendency to share. The same can be said about the church every Sunday we go to church and take up a benevolence offering to help the poor and when they need help in most cases they are turned away. The church is supposed to help those in need through the giving of food, shelter, clothes and money. But we have become so modernized and have forgotten to obey God’s laws that we have lost sight of the word give. From the many issues that involve the feminism of poverty the best theory that applies to this particular issue is the conflict theory a social theory that views conflict as inevitable and natural and as a significant cause of social change (Basirico, et al, 2012).
The feminism of poverty relates to the two classes that Marx saw those who own the means of product (rich) and those who provide the labor (poor), in an economic system that supports inequality, the exploited eventually revolt. Women were submissive for so long that they began to demand equal rights just as their counter part and black’s had. They had a need to become their own person, but throughout history even though they made progress they still were under played, poor and were listed as most likely to remain that way as they are today. In the scope of feminism of poverty it can be said that society is ion a state of constant change.
Male against female and workers against employer, those that have power, wealth and prestige will always be in conflict with others (poor) that do not. Because there are limited commodities and demand exceeds the supply, those that are in control of those desirable goods, services and resources will defend and protect their interest. Those who are poor and living in poverty especially (women & children) are a threat to the rich and middle class. So they are suppressed through the lack of jobs, education, money, welfare and healthcare. Women social status of wages disparities, ownership (men) and motherhood result from degradation and exploitation by men and eventually is/was a cause of the feminism of poverty. If our society (government) do not put in place laws that will protect, serve and help our women and children who live in poverty. Though more workforce programs, jobs, healthcare and education we will eventually become as other third world countries. If Canada can do this why can’t we the riches country in the world do so? Reference
Basirico, L.A., Cashion, B.J. & Eshleman, J.R. (2012). Introduction to Sociology. (5th ed). Redding, CA