News Release

Some Mother’s Day?

The following analysts, who note that some mothers are deprived of the honors of Mother’s Day, are available for interviews:

GWENDOLYN MINK
Author of The Wages of Motherhood and professor of politics at the University of California at Santa Cruz, Mink said today: “Mother’s Day is a small but powerful gesture of honor and respect for the caring work mothers do for their families. But not all mothers enjoy honor and respect, even on Mother’s Day. In public policy and public debate, we actually punish some mothers for doing caring work if we don’t approve of their class or marital circumstances. Just look at welfare policy: it forces poor single mothers to forsake caregiving and jeopardizes mothers’ custody of their own children. On Mother’s Day we should pay special respect to the millions of mothers who are dishonored by poverty inflicted on them.”

MIMI ABRAMOVITZ
Professor at the Hunter College School of Social Work in the City University of New York and author of Regulating the Lives of Women: Social Welfare Policy From Colonial Times to the Present, Abramovitz said today: “Instead of the candy, cards and flowers now given to mothers, we should honor mothers all year round with social policies that end poverty by rewarding caregiving as well as paid work. The 1996 welfare law penalizes caregiving by single mothers. It denies aid to children born to women on welfare and forces mothers to leave their children unattended to fulfill strict work rules. That law comes up for reauthorization in 2002. It should be replaced with a caregivers income and a living wage.”

RICKIE SOLIGER
Author of the forthcoming Beggars and Choosers: How the Politics of Choice Shapes Abortion, Adoption and Welfare in the U.S., Soliger said today: “In the old days, mother’s job was to raise virtuous children, virtuous citizens. Today, ‘public virtue’ is just about nonexistent as a cultural attribute or a goal of child-rearing…. Welfare policies — and the way many of us talk about who should be mothers — insist on what amounts to a financial test of consumer-readiness for motherhood…. The contemporary language of ‘choice’ promises dignity and reproductive autonomy to women with resources. For women without, the language of choice is a taunt and a threat.”

ELLEN BARRY
Founding director of Legal Services for Prisoners with Children and a 1998 MacArthur Fellow recipient, Barry said today: “This Mother’s Day, hundreds of thousands of mothers will be separated from their children by prison bars. Most of these mothers are poor, women of color with histories of battering and survival from sexual abuse. Eighty percent are serving time for non-violent property and drug-related charges. Some are doing life for killing their abusers. But all face the agony of separation from their children.”
More Information

For more information, contact at the Institute for Public Accuracy: Sam Husseini, (202) 347-0020; David Zupan, (541) 484-9167