The Hijacking of Higher Education for Women in Postwelfare America

The Hijacking of Higher Education for Women in Postwelfare America

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This research addressed the problem of women in welfare accessing higher education. Gendered and entrenched patriarchal systems dominate institutional practice throughout those state and federal programs that serve women.The model and paradigm utilized in policy is that single mothers must operate as a masculine breadwinner. This assumption underlies policy, which is written in a gender-neutral fashion. The purpose of this study was to understand women’s experiences, struggles, and supports during their attempt to move from poverty by obtaining a college degree. Using qualitative methods and a phenomenological design, I employed a multicultural feminist lens to these women’s experiences, as they navigated school and welfare and juggled family responsibilities and classroom obligations. Women in welfare face various jeopardies of race, class, and have been stereotyped and maligned. As such the challenges they face are often uniquely different than the typical student.

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