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From Marriage to the MarketThe Transformation of Women's Lives and Work$
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Susan Thistle

Print publication date: 2006

Print ISBN-13: 9780520245907

Published to California Scholarship Online: March 2012

DOI: 10.1525/california/9780520245907.001.0001

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PRINTED FROM CALIFORNIA SCHOLARSHIP ONLINE (www.california.universitypressscholarship.com). (c) Copyright University of California Press, 2020. All Rights Reserved. An individual user may print out a PDF of a single chapter of a monograph in CALSO for personal use.date: 06 June 2020

The Formation of a Female Underclass

The Formation of a Female Underclass

(p.79) 5 The Formation of a Female Underclass
From Marriage to the Market

Susan Thistle

University of California Press

This chapter provides a new explanation of the rise in female-headed families among the poor. It explains that the economic hardship faced by single mothers is generally perceived as changing little over time, stemming simply from the loss of marriage and burdens of single parenthood. This study instead views the “feminization of poverty” as a dynamic process, placing it in the context of women's historic transition from household to paid work. It explains that close examination of women's poverty from such a perspective reveals heretofore unseen changes in the causes and composition of such hardship over time. It demonstrates how marriage as a means of resolving such poverty is a solution better suited to the 1950s than today.

Keywords:   female-headed families, economic hardship, single mothers, marriage, feminization of poverty, paid work

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