UBI: Good for women

Karl Widerquist

All or most of the arguments in part 8 apply to women as much as they do to men. Women make up about half of the workforce, and women are disproportionately subject to harassment, low-wages, poor working conditions, and disrespect on the job. The power UBI gives people will be very good for women in the workplace as well as women who are in potentially abusive personal relationships. 

         One criticism of UBI is that it could reinforce traditional gender roles. When people get a greater ability to provide fulltime unpaid care for children, the disabled, or the elderly, women will be more likely to do it, and as they do, they will reinforce the social expectation that it’s women’s work.

         Unfortunately, women are doing these things now while they and the people they care for are paying a terrible price for it. Single mothers and their children are the poorest group of people in the United States, and their position has gotten worse in recent decades. If we want to help women, the first thing we need to do is to stop punishing women who are doing this incredibly valuable work. UBI would instantly reverse the trend toward the feminization of poverty. 

         If we want to help women challenge traditional gender roles, we should do it in ways that empower women. There must be better ways to challenge gender roles than to condemn millions of caregivers and their dependents to years of poverty.

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