Jessica Gavora’s assumption in her May 20 commentary, “Benefits keep single mothers married to state,” that single women prefer to remain dependent on welfare and food stamps rather than support themselves, is demeaning and insulting. Her contention that marriage is the answer to the ills of “government dependency” are naive, at best.
As a woman with two kids who chose to remain single after a divorce, I am part of this “demographic.” And contrary to Ms. Gavora’s assumptions about marriage, the poorest and most dependent I have ever been were the years I was married to my children’s father.
It isn’t easy for a woman to juggle kids and school and a job — or, more often, multiple jobs — to become self-sufficient, as I did. As a Pell Grant recipient, I was able to get a degree and a living-wage job that provided security and a modest living for my family. As a result, I have been financially self-sufficient for almost 20 years, and I am happy to pay my fair share of taxes that might help other women do the same.
If Ms. Gavora wants to change the votes of single women, she might try convincing her Republican colleagues to support policies that would make a real difference in our lives: Affordable health care, accessible day care, equitable pay, greater protection from violence, and greater fiscal responsibility on the fathers who abandon their children. These are real solutions to reducing “dependence” on government programs.
My message to her and her Republican colleagues is this: Your rhetoric dishonors the hard work — and sometimes the hard circumstances — of all single American women and the children they raise. We are not a “demographic” to manipulate so we “vote Republican.” And with no action taken on your part to solve the real problems we face, the majority of us will still be voting Democratic this November.