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.
Paula vW. Dail —
Research professor emerita Paula vW. Dail spent more than 25 years researching poverty and for years wrote a newspaper column on women's issues. She lives in Spring Green, Wisconsin.
Dáil, Paula vW. Women and poverty in 21st century America. McFarland, 2012. 263p bibl index afp; ISBN 9780786449033 pbk. Reviewed in 2012jul CHOICE. • New from McFarland •
The recent abysmal slide of the global economy has many policy makers, social scientists, planners, and advocates examining the causes and consequences of and possible solutions to curtailing the crisis of the poor and the newly unemployed. This in-depth study exploring public policies and dominant ideologies toward women living in poverty from the perspectives of women who experience poverty is among a growing number of works examining the intersections of gender, class, and race in a deeply stratified US. The author's feminist approach eloquently demonstrates the contradictions, complexities, convergences, and divergences of life in poverty. Dáil moves well beyond seeing poverty solely as an economic issue by unraveling the political, structural, and cultural factors that shape poverty and individuals' behaviors in a capitalist profit-motive, free enterprise economic system. She relies on the work of feminists, sociologists, anthropologists, economists, psychologists, and political scientists to place the voices and experiences of a dozen African American and Caucasian women living in poverty into contexts leading to more compassionate and informed policymaking. Although there were several instances where a thorough proofreading would have enhanced the work (one glaring error named Oscar Lewis a sociologist), overall this is a great addition to the poverty literature.
Summing Up: Highly recommended. All levels/libraries. -- S. Lawson-Clark, Wake Forest University