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Women and Children in Poverty

As part of her evidence, she cites a New York City study by Columbia University researchers which found that the Reagan administration's policies had reduced or eliminated Aid to Families with Dependent Children (AFDC) to such an extent that the number of working mothers living below the poverty had more than doubled (Sidel:20). Similarly, the total number of poor families receiving AFDC (four out of five of which are headed by women) decreased from 88 percent on 1979 to 62.9 percent in 1983 and the amount of the entitlement had fallen from 63 percent of the poverty threshold in 1960 to a mere 43 percent of it in 1985 (Sidel:87).

The underlying causes Sidel blames for the feminization of poverty are numerous, but I feel that three have the broadest significance: the weakening of the nuclear family and subsequent increase in the number of female-headed families, the continuation of a segregated and discriminatory labor market, and the governmental cuts of social programs facilitated by outdated Protestant ethic attitudes.

There are many reasons why families headed by women are likely to be poor. Probably first among these is the fact that women are almost always the ones who bear the responsibility of childcare, whether they are working outside the home or not. Sidel contends that the lack of adequate and affordable day care has prevented many women from working or getting the training or education necessary t


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Women and Children in Poverty. (2000, January 01). In Retrieved 14:59, October 25, 2014, from
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