Explain what is meant by the term ‘Feminisation of Poverty thesis’! Illustrate this by including examples of social policy which have a negative impact on women. DRAFT ONE This essay will attempt to establish if politics introduced over the past decade have managed to eradicate the inequalities that women are faced with in a modern society.
Due to the word limit of this essay it will only give firstly a brief explanation of the meaning of the term feminine- proceeding to poverty before moving on to vows on primary evidence and the implications it has had on women’s choices when bringing up a family and entering the labour market and the significant impacts it has on their choices. It will then finish with concluding weather or not new labours politics have managed to create a fair and just society in giving women the equal opportunities that feminists have been campaigning for ever since the first women’s movement was established in 1911.
Feminists have evolved over the last century in campaigning and promoting for the same rights, as their male in areas such as benefits, equal pay opportunities. Throughout this era there have been three waves of feminism, however as previously stated limitations can only allow this essay to give a brief overview therefore although feminists can be categorised into socialist feminism, Marxist feminists and racial feminism.
They all have a conscious that social politics have been made by a patriarchy society in which the struggle for power relations between male and female is still a significant negative impact on who, how and when politics are made. However it could go deeper and argue that it is cultural and societal influences that have engineered the way in which men and women are seen differently even though both are citizens and should be given equal status and therefore should result in the outcomes of social policy to be equal and fair.
But as history shows us over time women have been the clients and purchasers of the welfare state and the redistribution of welfare has therefore resulted and as we shall see is still resulting in feminists arguing for reform as social politics are often too quick to assume women’s roles in society. DRAFT TWO To gain a deeper understanding of the term feminisation of poverty thesis this essay will begin by explaining the term feminism and poverty before concluding with an explanation of the term feminisation of poverty. Feminists have a long tradition for arguing for policy changes to make life better for women.
Since the first international women’s day in March 1911 the face of poverty remains distinctly female. (Taylor- New statesman pg 10) Early socialist feminists were concerned with what governments of the day takes in areas of social security taxation, health, education, housing, employment or anything that directly impacts on families and family life. ( Student’s Companion p166) All these areas are very important due to the impact it can have on the quality of life for the children which is therefore why social feminists continue to campaign to enhance the poverty gap felt by women, thus closing the social divisions of welfare distribution.
Marxist feminists see women’s roles from a capitalist economic system and that women should change to meet the demands of the economy which in turn saw the state as consolidating unequal relations of power. This is evident as the west state has not equalised opportunities it has instead served to each women into domestic housewife and carer roles and as the socialist feminists argue limits education and career horizons by keeping them out of the labour market. Ordering Lives p131) Finally looking at the radical feminists who would agree to all of the arguments above but go further by stating hierarchical power relations and structured outcomes and these inequalities faced by women is “power relations embedded in traditional family structures”. (Ordering Lives p64) Foucault’s theory of power is how male dominance becomes normalised in family life, formulated in the ordinary knowledge of everyday life (Ordering Lives p133) Feminists have played a vital role by increasing awareness in modern social politics and in seen as a step in the right direction for greater equality or all family members. (Ordering Lives p65) Nevertheless although their campaigning over the years has not eradication the divide between politics introduced for women by men The Feminisation of poverty thesis is the term used to describe how politics that have had and as will be discussed continue to have a negative impact on women in terms of the west state and labour market politics, which increase the risk of poverty faced by women. (Lister 2004 p141) So how can women win equality when social, cultural and environmental influences hinder their prospects and lift them out of poverty?
Equal opportunities can only be delivered though a combination of legislation and cultural change. Women face numerous elements of venerable groups as they are margaliszed by the fact first and foremost they are women, who may also be single, may be a teenage mother, have a disability or a child who is disabled therefore they take on the caring role or may be elderly all these factors in poverty giving greater risks, worse life chances and less choice. Maclunhosh and Mooney 2002 show that income is still very unevenly distributed and inequality faced by women are increasing. Ordering Lives p145) Feminists argue that it is the state organisation of domestic life attracters the family as the main source of female oppression and sees the west state for up-holding traditional ideas about the roles of men and women within the family. (Student’s Companion p100) DRAFT THREE “One in 3 children lives in poverty in the UK. Families, trapped in dept, struggle to provide the basic essentials for their children. Poverty in the UK is a hidden crisis; poor families feel unable to talk openly and honestly about the conditions in which they live. ”
The above statement was recently published by the charity ‘Save the Children’ about how the other hay lives in October of this year. This statement shows that although we hear how the government has been introducing new politics to eradicate poverty by 2020 it highlights the work that feminists have been campaigning for, for decades. Hence the term feminisation of poverty thesis which emanates a harsh but realistic description of how politics in the UK has had on introducing politics that have a negative impact on women and subsequently their family members (Lister 2004 p141)
Feminists have argued and campaigned for the introduction of politics that create fair and equal opportunities for women. This is evident ever since the first women’s movement in 1911 where they stated then that poverty remains distingusly a problem faced by women. (Taylor- New statesmen p10) It begs the question as to how and why these realities are still top of the political and social agenda in modern society and for families living in the 21st century. Evidence would argue that not much if any progress has been made to eradicate the social divisions faced by women through politics relating to the family and labour market.
Throughout the century feminists argue for greater social control and social mobility for women and their family members. Although feminism has evolved through three distinguished waves of feminism their underlying cause all equal to the fact that social polices have been made by a patriarchy society in which they struggle for power relations. Which is evident as the west state has not equalised opportunities, instead it has served to lock women into domestic housewife and caring roles; therefore limiting their educational achievement and career horizons by keeping them out of the labour market. Ordering Lives p131) For example women are more often than not the ones who either have to leave the labour market to care for their children or care for an elderly relative which therefore results in them leaving paid work to engage in unpaid work. These challenges surrounding work and family are key to the problem of gender equality. In relation to government policies to introduce assistance for women who have had to take on caring roles has seen some improvement with flexible working hours.
However it is women again who are “more likely to trade some of their pay for greater in working patterns. ” (Progress Magazine p17) One is led to believe that the state has an important role to play in helping a work-life balance and yes parental leave has changed since 1946 when maternity allowance was first introduced. However labours plans to extend flexible and restrictive to the benefit system itself in not assessing and realising individual family needs in conjunction with the inequalities in employment law.
Thus imposing that feminization of poverty is deep rooted according to Miller and Glen during 1987. Marxist feminists would argue that under a capitalist society poverty is an unfortunate necessity in a capitalist economy This was argued going back to the poor laws when representatives of the social democratic federation argued that poverty will affect vast numbers of the working class as land and the wealth are privately owned and industry is carried on for the profit (Social problems and the family p211).
The issue discussed above still seems to prove politics surrounding women are still taken for granted in the willingness of women’s altruism, and women’s sense of obligation to provide domestic services for their family members. (Student’s Companion p54)