For Crying out Loud: Women's Poverty in the United States

By Diane Dujon; Ann Withorn | Go to book overview

FOR BETTER AND FOR WORSE

Women Asainst Women in the
Welfare State

Ann Withorn

I would rather have a man worker any day. They, at least, are more likely to listen to you and seem sympathetic. The women are meaner. They act like it's their money and you should work hard like they do.

-- Boston welfare recipient

Our office was all women, including the director, and I'll tell you, it was enough to make you hate women. Everybody fought among themselves and hated the director, who was horrible. Then they brought in this nice young man and now everything is much better.

-- Suburban service worker

What makes our clinic so wonderful is that it's for women, by women. There is none of that male medical bullshit. We all struggle together to work out better ways to do things. It's not easy, but it is so much nicer not to have men around, laying their ego trips on everything.

-- Feminist health center nurse

I just want to be treated like a person, like someone who you think you could be. It makes me so mad when you are supposed to be my ally and you won't look at me, or really talk to me like an equal. Or when you say you will take our "leadership," but only when we agree with you.

-- Welfare rights activist

MOST SOCIAL SERVICES TO POOR WOMEN ARE PROVIDED BY female service workers. Together these women most often discuss "problems" identified with women's traditional roles: family difficulties; childcare; "personal" problems with relatives or lovers or with the lack of health care, housing, and income. The help that women workers usually offer is traditional female "nurturing": listening, some

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