Human societies have always provided help for the needy, and this provision has frequently been calibrated according to notions of deservingness and obligation. These notions have been shaped by gendered double standards, including measures of sexual morality, personal demeanor, housekeeping, and self-sacrifice, that are applied to women but not to men. Most fundamental, the fact that women are the primary child raisers has given many of them, in modern societies, two jobs--working for wages and working without wages to raise children. The modern welfare system arose from campaigns to help mothers who try to perform these two jobs without male help. Focusing first on deserted women, then on widows, and more recently on never-married mothers, U.S. welfare policy in the twentieth century was self-defeating because it tried to provide for poor children while avoiding giving aid or encouragement to lone mothers.
|Number of pages
|The Annals of the American Academy of Political and Social Science
|Published - Sep 2001
ASJC Scopus subject areas
- Sociology and Political Science
- General Social Sciences