Money in Their Own Name

Money in Their Own Name: The Feminist Voice in Poverty Debate in Canada, 1970-1995

Wendy McKeen
Copyright Date: 2004
Pages: 184
https://www.jstor.org/stable/10.3138/9781442677326
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    Money in Their Own Name
    Book Description:

    InMoney In Their Own Name, Wendy McKeen examines the relationship between gender and social policy in Canada from the 1970s to the 1990s. She provides a detailed historical account of the shaping of feminist politics within the field of federal child benefits programs in Canada, and explores the critical issue of why feminists' vision of the 'social individual' failed to flourish.

    Canadian social policy, as in most western welfare states, has established women's access to social benefits on the basis of their status as wives or mothers, not individuals in their own right. In her analysis, McKeen underscores this persistent familialism that has been written and rewritten into Canadian social policy thereby denying women's autonomy as independent claims-makers on the state. She further demonstrates the lack of contest by the women's movement toward this dependent status, and the consequent erasure of women from social policy.

    McKeen effectively weaves together sociological theory with substantive examples from political discourse. She uncovers overlooked aspects of Canadian social policy politics and subsequently extends our understanding of politics and political change. At the same time, by synthesizing the concepts of discourse, agency, and policy community, she offers a new analytical tool for approaching the shaping of political interests.

    eISBN: 978-1-4426-7732-6
    Subjects: Sociology

Table of Contents

  1. Front Matter
    (pp. i-iv)
  2. Table of Contents
    (pp. v-vi)
  3. Preface
    (pp. vii-2)
  4. Introduction
    (pp. 3-8)

    The second-wave women's movement emerged in Canada over three decades ago with a new, and potentially radical, vision for Canadian social policy. While participants in this movement recognized and valued the many positive aspects of the Canadian social policy system, especially as it compared with what existed in the United States, they strongly opposed the way it entrenched notions of women's dependency. Like most social policy systems in the advanced welfare states, Canadian policy tended to treat women as mere appendages to their husbands insofar as their entitlement to benefits was based primarily on their status as a wife or...

  5. CHAPTER ONE Solutions for Women-Friendly Social Policy: The Radical Potential of Individualized Entitlement
    (pp. 9-19)

    What should a woman-friendly, egalitarian form of citizenship and social policy look like, and what political demands will help to propel us towards such a vision? Feminist theorists of the welfare state have been engaged in this discussion for some time and have produced some important concepts. A key one, I believe, is that of the 'social individual/ or the idea that as individuals we all have social needs and responsibilities and that our ability to give or receive these are interdependent and intertwined (Winkler, 1998). The insights this presents allow us to critically assess the various kinds of demands...

  6. CHAPTER TWO Understanding How the Interests of New Political Actors Are Shaped: Discourse, Agency, and ʹPolicy Communityʹ
    (pp. 20-29)

    Post-structuralist, neo-Marxist theorists declare that political identities and interests are shaped by actors in the course of political struggle within historically specific material, institutional, and ideological and/ or discursive contexts which structure their political opportunities and closures. Starting with this position, this chapter asks what factors, forces, and/or processes matter most in shaping the political interests of aneworemergingpolitical identity? Important insights into this question are found, for example, in contemporary feminist analyses of the strength of the feminist movement in Canada. Suzanne Findlay's work offers one approach. She argues that women's concerns are transformed and depoliticized...

  7. CHAPTER THREE The Mainstream Poverty Debate in the 1960s and the Emergence of a Feminist Alternative
    (pp. 30-50)

    Two significant developments took place in the period of the 1960s to the early 1970s. First, the basic contours of the contemporary social policy community and social policy debate took shape in this period, as a range of actors came together under the rubric of addressing 'poverty/ Of particular interest is that established, nationally focused social policy and anti-poverty organizations, whose interests centred on poverty and redistribution, secured their place at this time as the 'progressive voice' in the debate. Second, was the emergence of a potentially important new participant in social policy debate, the institutionalized 'second-wave' women's movement. In...

  8. CHAPTER FOUR Feminism, Poverty Discourse, and the Child Benefits Debate of the Mid- to Late 1970s: ʹWriting Women Inʹ
    (pp. 51-66)

    Broad social and political forces, especially the declining interest in social reform and social spending, narrowed the scope for social policy debate in the mid- to late 1970s. At the same time ideological processes internal to the social policy community had an enormous influence on whether and how feminists participated in the debate. This was particularly evident in the case of child benefits policy, where two processes were important. First, poverty was constructed as a 'women's issue/ and this both gave feminists greater credibility as a voice on poverty and social security matters and encouraged a liberal turn within the...

  9. CHAPTER FIVE Feminism and the Tory Child Benefits Debate of the Early to Mid-1980s: Money in Their Own Name?
    (pp. 67-88)

    A second conjunctural moment in the shaping of feminist approaches to social policy occurred in the mid-1980s as the women's movement waged the battle to defend women's individual entitlement to benefits and to protect Family Allowance benefits. These related causes lost much of their momentum, however, in the mid-1980s. A key point in this process occurred as the institutionalized women's movement opted to support rather than challenge the Tory agenda on family and child benefits policy. In making this decision feminists were clearly taking into account major new influences of the day - most emphatically, an overarching neo-conservative agenda that...

  10. CHAPTER SIX Feminism and Child Poverty Discourse in the Late 1980s to Mid-1990s: ʹWriting Women Outʹ
    (pp. 89-107)

    The late 1980s to mid-1990s witnessed a further closure of a feminist politics of autonomy in social policy. Indeed, at this time feminists seemed to abandon altogether the more mainstream causes of promoting income security and targeting the poor. While broad social forces clearly drove feminists towards a more oppositional stance vis-a-vis the emerging neo-liberal agenda - an agenda that was truly destructive to women - the argument presented here is that they were also in many -waysforced to take their leaveof the debate on social policy, especially the child benefits debate. One can certainly trace these changes...

  11. CHAPTER SEVEN Conclusions: Implications for Current Struggles for Women-Friendly Social Policy
    (pp. 108-122)

    Despite the ambiguity of and debate surrounding the concept, dependency continues to be a central issue for women. Both the ideology and actuality of dependency continue to dictate a lesser citizenship status for women both within the family and wider society, consigning many women to a life of compulsory caring and economic vulnerability. The availability of and conditions of entitlement for income security benefits are key factors that have reinforced this status. Feminists have long been torn between pursuing the course of securing benefits for poor mothers and that of seeking entitlement for individuals qua individuals, ideally in the context...

  12. Appendix: List of Interviews
    (pp. 123-124)
  13. Notes
    (pp. 125-140)
  14. References
    (pp. 141-164)
  15. Index
    (pp. 165-168)
  16. Back Matter
    (pp. 169-170)