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Wages for Housework

June 26, 1988

The article on wages for housework paints the government as an ogre under workfare because "It mandates mothers to leave their children when they are 3 years old--in some case as young as 6 weeks old--for training or for work . . . ." Most American women are already mandated to leave their young ones in order to maintain an adequate living standard because of reduced purchasing power of income.

It's true that every mother is a working mother, but it isn't true that most American women are demanding to be paid for motherhood. The authors do not represent the majority of women, nor even, in all likelihood, of welfare mothers, with statements such as "welfare mothers deserve an entitlement for the hard job of raising children in poverty." Most welfare mothers, if given a choice, would like to leave poverty behind and enter the skilled work force. This is what workfare is at least aiming at, under-funded and piecemeal though it may be.

The authors' attitude of shouting from the darkness to leave the lights off is not what is needed here. Prescod and Jones-Schellenberg would do better to head job-training organizations, which press for forward mobility, rather than wages-for-housework advocacy groups that seek to trap women in the status quo, while raising the tax burden of working women even higher.

LAURA BROWN

Los Angeles

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