National Partnership for Women & Families

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October 30, 2012

FEATURED BLOG

"Is Motherhood the Most Important Job? It Depends on Whether You're Poor," Bryce Covert, The Nation: The recent debate over stay-at-home mothers has given the "impression that this country has put motherhood on a gold-plated pedestal," Covert writes, adding, "But it turns out that pedestal is contingent on certain factors -- class being chief among them." She references a Pennsylvania bill (HB 2718) that would have limited welfare benefits to women based on the number of children they have while enrolled in the program. While lawmakers revoked support for the bill, the "bad news is that Pennsylvania was simply following a trend": 17 states have a "family cap" on welfare benefits, Covert writes. Of further concern, Covert notes that many states also require women "to cooperate with child support enforcement to receive childcare assistance, often to establish paternity and provide accurate information." Some states have provided an exemption only for women who experienced "forcible rape," Covert writes. She concludes, "In the motherhood hierarchy, then, women who don't need welfare support rank highest, followed by mothers who can 'prove' that their rape is rape rape. Tough luck for low-income women who were date raped, raped when drugged or simply had a wanted child. Our message to them is that they're not really mothers. They're just moochers" (Covert, The Nation, 10/29).