Wednesday, March 18, 2015

Women and Economics: Two book reviews

A study published 25 years ago (The feminization of poverty: Only in America? Goldberg, 1990) reported that women were disproportionately represented among the poor in the United States. 60% of poor families were lone mothers raising children. Elderly single women also were disproportionately represented among the poor. Several other countries were studied at the same time with varied results dependent on too many factors to draw very many unambiguous conclusions, but in my brief perusal of the book, it struck me with more force than ever before how simply being a woman--and especially a mother--is risky in ways I hadn't even thought about. I've experienced some fear about what my next job would be. I've had an employer that still gives me anxiety attacks when I think about him. I've known minor, but persistent financial worries, the inability to provide everything I would like to for my wife and children, and the necessity of saying no to friends in need because I would have to give up too much to help them out significantly. But I've never known the fear of my husband dying and leaving me dependent on others for charity, or the necessity of taking a low paying job because I raised children instead of entering the workforce or getting extra education. And that's just what it would be like to be my wife--a white, American woman with a large extended family and church community willing and able to help to a degree. Many women start out in much more precarious situations. There is no simple solution for removing those risks, but some recent reading and conversations have led me to two books that I just borrowed from my libraries. Over the next few weeks I plan to study these books and post excerpts and my thoughts on this blog. They are:

Poor Women in Rich Countries: The Feminization of Poverty over the Life Course, Gertrude Schaffner Goldberg, ed.; Oxford University Press, 2010

Men and Marriage, George F. Gilder, 1986

Both deal directly with issues of economics and family, one from the perspective of women and the other from the perspective of a normative family advocate. I'm hoping to learn some interesting and useful things.

No comments:

Post a Comment