Talking Across the Tables
In spite of public censure, welfare mothers graduate from school, get decent jobs, watch their children achieve, make good lives for themselves, and marry men they love. I feel that I am now in a position to make that process a little bit less of an uphill struggle. But what I now give is small compared to what I receive in return. Welfare mothers continue to be my inspiration, not because they survive, but because they dare to dream. Because when you are a welfare recipient, laughter is an act of rebellion. . .
-- Janet Diamond,
former welfare recipient and welfare policy analyst
THIS IS A BOOK ABOUT WOMEN AND POVERTY IN THE United States, but it is not a book that considers the lives of all women who are poor. Older women's voices are not here, even though many women face poverty as they age. The voices of women without children are not present, even though, just as in days when they were feared as "witches," single women may be outcast in their communities if they are too openly "deviant." It is a book about women who are mothers vulnerable to poverty, but it does not include the voices of women who are living with husbands who earn low wages, even though more poor women are married and not on welfare than are single mothers on welfare.
How, then, can this be a book about "women's poverty in the United States?" Our answer is that to "cry out loud" about all women's poverty means to understand that no woman is any more secure than a single mother is secure. We, and all the authors in this volume,