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Poverty

Gertrude Himmelfarb

Gertrude Himmelfarb railed against the moral relativism and social-science-based work of the “New Historians” and argued for a return to the values of the Victorian era.

How Poverty Became a Women’s Issue

Fifty years ago, President Lyndon Johnson declared a War on Poverty, a government response to a national poverty rate around 19%. Back then, the face of poverty in the States was those living in inner-city projects or Appalachian shacks. Today the face of poverty is women.

According to Maria Shriver (on the Atlantic), of the more 100 million Americans living close to or under the poverty line, nearly 70% are women and children. Forget having it all; these women just want to be able to feed their kids and pay their electric bill.

Poverty and Hunger in the Face of the Government Shutdown

Last week we took a look at some of the aid programs that are being shut down due to the government standoff. As the shutdown stretches into its second week, families who rely on assistance are becoming more endangered—and there doesn’t seem to be an end in sight.

When media coverage focuses on our lack of a panda-cam in the National Zoo, I begin to question our priorities. It is, of course, upsetting that our National Parks, monuments and museums are closed; yet I wonder if these fluffier “human interest” stories detract from what our national conversation should really entail? Jokes from late night talk show hosts and the zeitgeist of the internet seem to hang on sardonic jabs at the government—which makes the shutdown appear to be a game.

In fact, the effects of the shutdown on food insecure families in America are life threatening.  The more I learn, the angrier I get. Just yesterday a friend of mine from Louisiana shared on her Facebook account that the school lunch program at the elementary school she teaches in was in danger of being discontinued. A large percentage of her students rely on this program for their one stable meal of the day. At the risk of putting it too simply, that just doesn’t seem right.

National Shutdown

The government shut down is on everyone’s mind—as it should be. Day two and we are all holding our collective breath. As of right now, I’m safe from the effects, but my family isn’t. My sister—a federal employee—is home, without pay, busy cleaning her basement when she should be out there making the world a better place.

My sister isn’t the only woman feeling the burn. Slate took a look at the ways the government shut down is impacting women in an article entitled Seven Ways the Government Shutdown Will Hit Women Hardest. Programs like the Special Supplemental Nutrition Program for Women, Infants and Children (WIC) and Temporary Assistance to Needy Families (TANF) are included on the list of "non-essential" government services shut down during the stand off.  

"We Have Found You Wanting:" Labor Activism and Communal Responsibility

A Jewish immigrant activist and a lifelong advocate for the rights of workers and of women, Rose Schneiderman shaped the American labor movement. Known as a powerful orator, Schneiderman used her speeches—such as the one she delivered in April, 1911 to protest the tragedy of the Triangle Shirtwaist Factory fire—to galvanize leaders and ordinary citizens to action on behalf of workers, immigrants, and other disadvantaged members of society. This Go & Learn guide uses Schneiderman's speech and life example to explore our communal and individual responsibilities for the well being of others in our midst.

Mollie Orshansky, 1915 - 2006

Mollie Orshansky was my good friend and esteemed colleague at the Social Security Administration where we both worked. Over the course of her long life – she lived until the age of 91 – Mollie was very smart, independent, and a hardworking government employee. She was called Miss Poverty because she developed the poverty index widely used by the Federal government as a basis for benefit programs involving low income individuals and families.

Nutrition and Social Welfare: What Would Frances Stern Do?

On August 23, 1914, pioneering nutritionist Frances Stern published an editorial that identified the connection between nutrition, socio-economics, and social welfare. 

Poverty: Jewish Women in Medieval Egypt

For lack of sources, it is normally almost impossible to say anything about women and poverty, especially as regards the Middle Ages. However, due to the fortunate preservation of the letters and other documents from everyday life discovered in the Cairo Genizah we are able to sketch a fairly detailed case-study of Jewish women and poverty in medieval Egypt, particularly in the eleventh to thirteenth centuries.

Rokhel Brokhes

Rokhel Brokhes was one of the earliest women writers to be published and a prodigious author whose name was linked to the romantic years of modern Yiddish literature.

How to cite this page

Jewish Women's Archive. "Poverty." (Viewed on October 24, 2014) <http://jwa.org/tags/poverty>.

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