the analysis of women's conditions provides convenient opportunities for politicians to target for intervention those women who are the least fiscally and politically costly. As a result, women may become divided because only some will benefit from the selective targeting of putatively limited resources.
A more complex understanding of old age poverty is needed by gerontology scholars and activists. Single-variable conceptualizations of political economic dynamics (whether based on gender, race, age or any other variable) may serve short-term consciousness-raising functions for select categories of people. But the detail necessary for the formulation of well-targeted social policies cannot be provided ( Whittington, 1986). And in the long run, the potential for broadbased political alliances among the heterogeneous people comprising the working poor, the underclass, and other economically vulnerable groups in the U.S. can be undermined. Gerontologists have realized the diversity contained within age groups; likewise they must recognize the diversity within gender groups and move beyond the feminization of poverty argument. To do so does not require abandoning concern over women's disproportionate impoverishment. But it does require abandoning appealing political rhetoric that is built on an incomplete model of the U.S. political economy.
Appreciation is expressed to Gerri Moreland and Frank Whittington for their contributions to the project.
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