The University of Wisconsin Press

Women's Studies


Women, the State, and Welfare
Edited by Linda Gordon

Women, the State, and Welfare is the first collection of essays specifically about women and welfare in the United States. As an introduction to the effects of welfare programs, it is intended for general readers as well as specialists in sociology, history, political science, social work, and women's studies. The book begins with a review essay by Linda Gordon that outlines current scholarship about women and welfare. The chapters that follow explore discrimination against women inherent in many welfare programs; the ways in which welfare programs reinforce basic gender programs in society; the contribution of organized, activist women to the development of welfare programs; and differences of race and class in the welfare system. By giving readers access to a number of perspectives about women and welfare, this book helps position gender at the center of welfare scholarship and policy making and places welfare issues at the forefront of feminist thinking and action.

"When readers finish this collection of essays, they will have no doubt at all that the welfare state is deeply gendered and that explanations or interpretations of the American welfare state that relegate gender to the margins rather than the center are totally inadequate. Linda Gordon's introduction alone is practically worth the price of the whole book."—Susan Ware, New York University

"The collection moves beyond simplistic and ahistorical notions about the U.S. state's effect on women and women's effect on the state. Gordon's rich introductory essay, 'The New Feminist Scholarship on the Welfare State' is invaluable not only for relating the other essays to current social and feminist theory, but for its analysis which guides the reader through the rest of the book.... A welcome addition to the study of women, politics, and the welfare state."—Ann Withorn, The Women's Review of Books

"Gordon's book deserves serious consideration by scholars of social welfare in the U.S. because of its challenge to take the gendered nature of the welfare system more seriously."—Choice

Linda Gordon is the Florence Kelley Professor of History at the University of Wisconsin–Madison. Among her many publications are Woman's Body, Woman's Right: A Social History of Birth Control in America and Heroes of Their Own Lives: The Politics and History of Family Violence, Boston 1880–1960.

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December 1989

LC: 90-050089 HV
311 pp.

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Paper $19.95 x
ISBN 978-0-299-12664-3
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