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Care & Economics (see also Welfare & Women's Poverty)

An Economy That Puts Families First:
Expanding the social contract to include family care

Heidi Hartmann, Arian Hegewisch and Vicki Lovell, Economy Policy Institute/Agenda for Shared Prosperity, May 07. "All societies must balance public interest in well-functioning families that reproduce our species with the need for personal privacy in intimate space. Most advanced nations have recognized this by dedicating more of their public resources to help families with the tasks of child and elder care than we do in the United States." Briefing Paper, in HTML

Family Unfriendly
Nancy Folbre, The American Prospect (www.prospect.org). Aug 2000. “If care for others is never considered more than a personal choice, those who embrace it will be penalized by competitive forces that reward only personal performance. The costs of care have always been high; it's just that traditional patriarchal societies gave women little choice but to pay them. As we move toward an increasingly market-based economy and an increasingly individualistic ethos, this solution is no longer feasible.” Full article in HTML

Concerns of Women
Demos Around the Kitchen Table (www.demos-usa.org), Mar.05. Includes the articles “Who Pays for Today’s Families” by Heather Boushey, “The Wage Penalty of Our Earliest Educators” by Tamara Draut and Julia Busch, “Bankruptcy: The New Women’s Issue” by Elizabeth Warren, and “A Woman’s (Net) Worth” by Javier Silva.
11 pages, in .pdf

Taxing Motherhood
Anita Ilta Garey, The American Prospect (www.prospect.org), Apr 2001. A review of Ann Crittenden’s The Price of Motherhood and Nancy Folbre’s The Invisible Heart. Full review in HTML

The Mommy Tax
Karen Kornbluh, Director, Work and Family Program, New America Foundation (www.newamerica.net); for The Washington Post, Jan 2001. "More than two decades after Betty Friedan's equality revolution and the passage of Title VII, women remain second-class economic citizens. …Women make choices, but their options are severely constrained by the largely invisible choices made by employers, families and government.” Full article in HTML.

Mothers Pay Price for Nurturing Human Capital
Ann Crittenden, Women’s eNews (www.womensenews.org). 2001. "Despite cheerleading about "family values," our society and government give no economic recognition to mother's work. The author argues that the great unfinished business of the women's movement may well be winning respect for women's work at home." Full article in HTML

Marriage, Poverty, and Public Policy:
A Discussion Paper from the Council on Contemporary Families

Stephanie Coontz and Nancy Folbre, The American Prospect (www.prospect.org). Mar 2002. “Single parenthood does not inevitably lead to poverty. In countries with a more adequate social safety net than the United States, single parent families are much less likely to live in poverty.” Full article in HTML.

Women's Poverty Relative To Men's In Affluent Nations:
Single Motherhood And The State

Karen Christopher, Paula England, Katherin Ross, Tim Smeeding, Sara McLanahan, Joint Center on Poverty Research Journal, Volume 1, Number 1 (www.jcpr.org). " The United States has the highest poverty rate and the highest ratio of women's to men's poverty among eight modern nations reviewed in a Joint Center for Poverty Research paper… Results indicate that both the greater prevalence of single mothers in the U.S. and their higher poverty rates relative to other groups are causes of the relatively high sex gap in poverty found in the U.S." Summary in HTML

The Nanny Chain
Arlie Hochschild, The American Prospect, Nov 02. "A typical global care chain might work something like this: An older daughter from a poor family in a third world country cares for her siblings (the first link in the chain) while her mother works as a nanny caring for the children of a nanny migrating to a first world country (the second link) who, in turn, cares for the child of a family in a rich country (the final link). Each kind of chain expresses an invisible human ecology of care, one care worker depending on another and so on." Full text in HTML

What's a Working Mother Worth?
Judith Stadtman Tucker, The American Prospect Online, Jul 07. "The majority U.S. families depend on mothers' earnings to get by. So why do Americans remain deeply divided about the value of maternal employment?" Full text in HTML

It's the Economy, Stupid -- But Not Just the Current Slowdown
Robert B. Reich, The American Prospect, Dec 07. "Middle-class families have exhausted the coping mechanisms they've used for over three decades to get by on median wages that are barely higher than they were in 1970, adjusted for inflation." Full text in HTML

Establishing Foster Care Minimum Adequate Rates for Children
Children's Rights, 2007. A report developed through a collaboration of Children's Rights (a watchdog organization concerned with the welfare of children in foster care), the National Foster Parent Association, and researchers from the University of Maryland School of Social Work presents the first-ever calculation of the real expense of caring for a child in foster care in the United States. Findings indicate that rates of support for children in foster care are far below what is needed to provide basic care in nearly every state in the nation. Index to reports and fact sheets.

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Care & Politics

Say You Want a Revolution
Stephanie Wilkinson, Brain, Child Magazine (www.brainchildmag.com), Fall 2005. An investigative feature story surveying individuals and organizational leaders on the various motives and ideological perspectives driving the movement's formation, and the practical and political challenges to mobilizing an effective grass-roots base. The result is an accurate and well-balanced snapshot of where the mothers' movement is today, where it wants to go, and what it will take to get there. Full article, in HTML.

The Care Equation
Mona Harrington, The American Prospect (www.prospect.org). Jul 1998. “Our family care system is collapsing. When it worked well, it depended on the unpaid labor of women at home. Now that we've lost a great part of that labor force and only marginally replaced it, our society has no new philosophic consensus for an economic system that would support families as care providers. But there is a further element to the problem. As our care system has depended on the unpaid labor of women, it has depended on women's inequality, and it still does, although in new guises.” Full article in HTML.

Women, the Values Debate, and a New Liberal Politics
Mona Harrington, Dissent (www.dissentmagazine.org), Winter 2005
"But at the heart of what [conservatives] condemn and call immoral is a world in which the linchpin of security and comfort has been shaken loose -- and that linchpin is the role of women as the organizers of a predictable social and personal order. Liberal elites in the blue states have championed change in the old rules defining correct behavior for women, legitimizing personal and sexual freedom and thereby changing everything: the meaning of femininity and masculinity, the relations of women and men, the rules of marriage, and the solidity of the family. The social order seems broken. …This is the deep ground of the values debate that liberals are losing. To win, we need to create a space in American politics to debate the radical changes now taking place in the role of women in society, in the economy, in the national psyche, in the family, as caregivers, and as carriers of individual and social values. We need to add the issues of sex to the liberal political agenda." Full article i n HTML.

The Care Crisis
Ruth Rosen, The Nation, Feb 07. "For four decades, American women have entered the paid workforce--on men's terms, not their own--yet we have done precious little as a society to restructure the workplace or family life. The consequence of this "stalled revolution," a term coined by sociologist Arlie Hochschild, is a profound "care deficit." …Today the care crisis has replaced the feminine mystique as women's "problem that has no name." It is the elephant in the room--at home, at work and in national politics--gigantic but ignored." Full article.

Children as a Public Good
Myra H. Strober, Dissent, Fall 2004."Certainly, parents have primary responsibility for meeting the needs of their children; the argument here is that meeting children's needs should be a collective responsibility as well. Although parents reap the rewards of well-reared children (emotional rather than economic rewards in this day and age), children whose needs have been met confer benefits as well on society as a whole. We need to make a reality of the rhetoric that sees children as our most valuable asset."
Full article in HTML

Beyond Child Poverty: The Social Exclusion of Children
The Clearinghouse on International Developments in Child, Youth & Family Policies at Columbia University (www.childpolicyintl.org). Spring 2003. "Social exclusion" is often described as the process by which individuals and groups are wholly or partly closed out from participation in their society, as a consequence of low income and constricted access to employment, social benefits and services, and to various aspects of cultural and community life. … How does a mother's employment status relate to child social inclusion? …When thinking about disabled, vulnerable, children -- children with special needs -- what would help them to be included? Why is caring work not viewed as productive work or as facilitating social inclusion? Is paid work the only thing that gives identify, legitimacy, and social inclusion?” Issue brief in HTML

A Right to Care
Rebecca West, The Boston Review New Democracy Forum (www.bostonreview.net). Apr 2004. “Care is necessary to both the eventual independence and the moral development of healthy adults, on any definition of health or maturity. Dependency labor is also often a substantial part of, although by no means essential to, a decent adult life: for many, parenting is the central adventure of a lifetime, and for many more, whether it is enjoyed or not, it is immensely consuming and demanding labor. The provision of care to our dependents is as central to most of our lives as the enjoyment of culture, of nondiscrimination, freedom from state harassment, and of political and civic participation, now protected by liberal rights. Caretaker rights recognize as well as protect the fundamental value we place upon the provision of care to dependents.” Full article in HTML

Falling Short
Eva Kittay, The Boston Review New Democracy Forum (www.bostonreview.net). Apr 2004. “Is ‘continuity of care’ the best justification for the social support of parenting? I have already suggested that gender equity should also have a role in justifying family support policy. As women become increasingly integrated in the work force the fact that care of dependents has largely been accomplished through the exploitative labor of women becomes apparent. Full article in HTML

Race, Class, and Care
Dorothy Roberts, The Boston Review New Democracy Forum (www.bostonreview.net). Apr 2004. “The question of whether welfare should aid mothers' caregiving or encourage mothers to transition to paid employment is also part of a larger debate within feminist thinking about women's economic welfare. Is the path to gender equality to be found in supporting women's work at home or work in the market?” Full article in HTML

Can Working Families Ever Win?
Helping parents succeed at work and caregiving

Jody Heymann, The Boston Review New Democracy Forum (www.bostonreview.net). Mar 2002. “The barriers many working poor parents currently face in the United States make it next to impossible for them to succeed at work while caring well for their children. Although our failure as a nation to provide essential supports affects all working parents, that failure has meant that parents living in poverty are less likely to succeed in the workplace and their preschool and school-age children are more likely to lack basic opportunities.” Full article in HTML

The Value of Care
Joan Tronto, The Boston Review New Democracy Forum (www.bostonreview.net). Mar 2002. Jody Heymann “argues that if time were organized more rationally around care, then more children would have better chances of success in school, more elderly relatives would receive adequate attention, work and productivity would improve, and society would be the better for it.2 There is a basic flaw in this argument: as long as caring remains a subordinate activity and value within the framework of a competitive, "winner-take-all" society, caring well within one's family will make one not a friend but an enemy of equal opportunity.” Full article in HTML

The Political Bind
Theda Skocpol, The Boston Review New Democracy Forum (www.bostonreview.net). Mar 2002. “Much as I admire and agree with Heymann's policy analysis, I am troubled by the absence of any attention to the cultural-political opposition that her proposals will provoke. Her concluding account of costs and benefits strikes me as politically naïve, for it fails to take into account fierce opposition from conservatives, who proclaim that individuals and families should ‘take responsibility’ for themselves and make their own way in unfettered markets. American social programs are not just out of adjustment with changing family patterns. They are caught in the vortex of a sharp rightward shift in national politics.” Full article in HTML

Adding Gender and Work
Lotte Bailyn for The Boston Review New Democracy Forum (www.bostonreview.net). Mar 2002. “Heymann rightly points to the need for workplace flexibility. But, though flexibility can clearly be useful, if it is superimposed on current ways of structuring work, it cannot achieve the dual imperatives of care taking and gender equity. What is needed is a deeper cultural change that would legitimate the needs of family care both in the design of work and in the assumptions about competence and success that surround it. Also needed is a new definition of an ideal worker who, by integrating paid work with family care, better meets both productivity and caring needs.” Full article in HTML
Find many more relevant articles and commentary in the full listing for The Boston Review New Democracy Forum

Does Women’s Representation in Elected Office
Lead to Women-Friendly Policy?

Amy Caiazza, Ph.D., Institute for Women’s Policy Research (www.iwpr.org), IWPR Publication #I910. May 2002. “How strong is the relationship between states’ scores for women’s representation and women-friendly policy? In a nutshell, very strong. In general, states with higher levels of women’s representation also have more women-friendly policy.” Issue brief in PDF

Taking Care
By Arlie Hochschild, The American Prospect (www.prospect.org). Apr 2002. “If we rehitch [the] links among government action, society, and the family, we begin to see what it would mean to have a government that really believes in family values.” Full article in HTML

Parents Fight Back
Ann Crittenden, The American Prospect, May 03. "Parental responsibility is a deeply rooted national value, and our public policies should uphold our values, not subvert them. The problem, of course, is that Americans are profoundly ambivalent when it comes to work and family obligations. We glorify an all-work, all-the-time lifestyle and then weep crocodile tears for kids whose parents are never home. In a culture that celebrates the 24-7 workweek, what are conscientious parents supposed to do?" Full article in HTML.

A National Security Gender Gap
Ann Crittenden, The American Prospect (www.prospect.org). Mar 2003. “Our current leaders seem to believe that sheer military might is all we need to be safe. The warriors have a blank check on our resources while mothers and children are being told the cupboard is bare.” In HTML

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