Women and Poverty in 21st Century America

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About the Book

Despite an overhaul in the 1990s, the American welfare system remains with a business model focused on the bottom line. Crafted by male-dominated legislative bodies whose members most likely never had to choose between paying the rent or feeding their kids, established policies primarily protect the popular programs that ensure politicians’ re-election. This book offers a feminist perspective on the 21st century attitude toward poverty, illustrated by the words of women forced to live every day with social policies they had no voice in developing. Topics include the struggles of daily life, crime, health care, education, employment, and a discussion of capitalism, inequality, greed, and moral obligation in a free society. In the unrestrained pursuit of wealth, this work shows that America has created a vast poverty problem, making the rich richer and forcing the poor into a forgotten class.

About the Author(s)

Paula vW. Dáil is an emerita research professor in social welfare and public policy. Widely published in the social sciences, she is a political activist, former journalist, and award-winning non-fiction writer. She lives in the Lower Wisconsin River Valley of Southwestern Wisconsin.

Bibliographic Details

Paula vW. Dáil
Format: softcover (6 x 9)
Pages: 273
Bibliographic Info: appendix, notes, bibliography, index
Copyright Date: 2012
pISBN: 978-0-7864-4903-3
eISBN: 978-0-7864-8814-8
Imprint: McFarland

Table of Contents

Acknowledgments ix

Preface      1

Introduction—Hustling Backwards: 21st Century Poverty as It Affects American Women      9

The Voices of Women in Poverty      33

1. How Hard Hard Gets: The Struggles of Daily Life on the Bottom Rung of the Economic Ladder      39

2. A Man Is Not the Answer: Women and Crime      84

3. The Poor Get Sicker—and the Sick Get Poor      117

4. Arithmetic or Ovaries: Poverty and Women’s Educational Achievement      161

5. Last Stop on the Bus Line: The Working Life of Poor Women      187

6. She Ain’t Heavy—She’s My Sister: Political Will, Greed and Moral Obligation in a Free Society      209

Appendix—Methodology and Interview      233

Notes      241

Bibliography      253

Index      257

Book Reviews & Awards

Council for Wisconsin Writers Kingery-Derleth book award
“a great addition to the poverty literature. Highly recommended”—Choice; “Dáil explores the uniquely difficult lives that poor American women lead”—Reference & Research Book News.