Gendering the Welfare State Essay

1489 Words 6 Pages
Gendering the Welfare State

The impetus for the creation of welfare in the United States was children . Children are viewed as a social good— the good students (or the troubled youth) of tomorrow or the devoted worker (or the unemployed worker) of the future. However rampant the notion of the free-market, capitalist society, children, argued proponents, are not autonomous beings and should not be treated as so. Therefore, it was morally right and just to create a program providing for children who could not be provided for. Along the long road from New Deal policies, welfare shifted form many times, most notably to adjust to the growing sense that family is also a part of child development and well-being and parents must be included
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These mandates included that monthly TANF checks be consistent with federally determined standards and that a certain percentage of the entire budget (though usually an undershot) be spent on food stamps, child care, and WIC . Beyond these limitations, states were free to develop whichever sort of programs they saw fit. As a result, many states poured money into research, pet-projects, and savings rather than funneling the surplus to under-funded areas like child care. One wonders if the politicians ignored the voices of TANF recipients, who are disproportionately female, or if the voices themselves never emerged.

Five year time limits seem to promise to prove disastrous for women. The first wave of recipients were kicked off welfare only in 2001, causing numbers of women to leave its ranks . However, as there have been few increases of women in the labor force, women leaving welfare simply disappear. It may be a few years still before any conclusive report of what these women are doing and where they go can be compiled. Until then, the dual conclusions might be made that women are still needy after five years and that job training is not extensive or reliable enough to prepare women for the workplace.

Mandatory work placement and training has also proven a confining policy for women. As current regulation stands, all welfare recipients must undergo an assessment to determine potential for entering the labor

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