Thursday, May 21, 2015

The Feminization of Poverty

Hello Mack Pack!

I just wanted to share a post with you from a discussion group in class that I'm taking in college. Let me know what you think!


Hello class! This week I chose to discuss option A: the feminization of poverty. The author did not specifically say what they meant by that phrase, so I can only infer what they meant based on on the phrase itself and the paragraphs that followed. Based on what I read, I think they meant that poverty is becoming more and more of a female issue. What I mean by that is the female population below the poverty line is growing at a rate faster than any other segment of the population. As a result, poverty is becoming feminized. According to our book: "over 55% of all people living in poverty in the United States were female" (Crapo, 2013, Ch. 9.4), which only proves the point that poverty is an issue that mostly affects women. 

The cause of this very likely due to the fact that mothers tend to get custody of children in divorces/separations resulting in a single parent household led by a woman. There are many other factors at play here, but as far as I can tell, this appears to be a major factor in the rate of poverty among women. Some other issues that may exacerbate the financial troubles of females is that women may choose to take time off of work to birth and raise children, which might stifle their income. Additionally, many single mothers become dependent on the public welfare system, causing them to avoid increasing their income from working because they may lose out on one or more social service programs if their income raises. This situation can cause individuals to become permanent impoverished and fearful that they will lose their benefits. 

These serious problems are, in my humble opinion, a result of our growing welfare state that continues to keep able bodied Americans in a perpetual state of poverty. I believe some people need help and we should help them; however, I have always liked a quote from Ben Franklin when discussing charity: 

"I am for doing good to the poor, but...I think the best way of doing good to the poor, is not making them easy in poverty, but leading or driving them out of it. I observed...that the more public provisions were made for the poor, the less they provided for themselves, and of course became poorer. And, on the contrary, the less was done for them, the more they did for themselves, and became richer." (Franklin, n.d.)

Crapo, R. H. (2013). Cultural anthropology[Electronic version]. Retrieved from
Franklin, B. (n.d.). A quote by Benjamin Franklin. Retrieved May 22, 2015, from

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