California Forum

The Conversation: Responses to discussion of women in poverty

Last Sunday’s Conversation about how to help women in poverty drew a variety of responses. The article focused on Maria Shriver’s report “A Woman’s Nation Pushes Back from the Brink,” which touched on hurdles and offered solutions to the challenge of lifting women and their children from poverty. We asked: Do you see women within the next generation attaining the sorts of rights that Maria Shriver’s report highlights, including equal pay for equal work and the right to earn paid sick leave? If so, why? And if not, why?


Men in poverty a problem

Re “Shriver crusades for women” (Forum, Jan. 12): The report says the reason for this is the decline of American males and their social and economic abilities to support families. Men today need feminists’ activists for them, especially considering that men are more likely to drop out of school or post-secondary education, as well as end up incarcerated in the criminal justice system far more than women.

There shouldn’t be so many women struggling to support their children in America if the men who fathered the children supported them with earning a salary. How ironic that the government’s war on poverty has apparently resulted in a severe increase of fatherless homes living in poverty.

– Michelle Kunert, Sacramento

Let’s give polygamy a go

Re “Shriver crusades for women” (Forum; Jan. 12); “What really works to close the wage gap” (Viewpoints); “To fight poverty, we need new energy and new ideas” (Editorials): Sunday’s Forum had three articles on income inequality and its effect on single women and their children, all essentially looking to the government for solutions. It’s time for some creative solutions: now that we have legalized homosexual marriage, why not remove all marriage restrictions? Let’s sanction polygamy based on income levels: the more income or wealth you have, the more wives or husbands you are allowed. This will reduce the divorce rate, the problem of single mothers, and certainly the income gap and the wealth of the top income earners.

– Brian Smyth, Gold River


Richard Lavallee – Women’s economic status, like men’s is a consequence of the decisions they make. Women should not have children they can’t afford. The most important thing a woman can do to improve her economic status is to get married and stay married, or not have children. It’s not up to the taxpayer to subsidize single motherhood or any other stupid decision. “Equal pay for equal work” is a lie comparable to “global warming.” Any woman who feels she is not being paid enough can choose to quit and find a better paying job, just like any man. It’s not the taxpayers’ responsibility to juice up her paycheck to make her feel “comfortable.” The best thing a woman could do to improve her take-home pay would be to keep the government from stealing so much of it.

Jeanne Dansby – Actually, our friend, Richard Lavallee has a point. We shouldn’t be having babies. We also shouldn’t be giving ourselves to men until such a time as they realize just how important our gender is to the survival of the species.

We should also all take up arms and become a well-regulated militia, patrolling the streets on behalf of women everywhere, applying the same tactics that men have used to control women throughout time.

We should acknowledge our true power, and take the power from those who have decided that our skills and talents are somehow worth less because we have two X chromosomes instead of a Y.

We should cast off our roles as victims and take the world into our own hands. The boys have made a royal mess of things; it’s time to let the girls have a go.

Rick Leibold – The profession that I was employed in for nearly four decades was male dominated when I started. The transition of women into it was at the very start difficult because there were some who wanted the same pay but wanted to choose the assignments. By the time I retired things had improved significantly. When I look back I can only imagine what it was like to be the first.