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The meaning of the F-word: Protecting welfare

Selma James, co-ordinator, Global Women’s Strike

I'd campaign to repeal the Welfare Reform Act. Welfare could be cut because the vital caring work that women do reproducing the human race (and the whole labour force) is recognised as little by establishment feminists as by political parties.

Eleanor Rathbone and millions of others fought for child benefit and other money for women. But feminists in government and boardrooms have ignored unwaged work and concentrated on women getting a second job – for second-class wages. They didn't feel attacked when Tony Blair called single mothers "workless", or when benefits previously considered a right became a vanishing charity.

Income support was the backbone of the women's liberation movement: of Greenham and other campaigns and of our ability to leave violent relationships. We're now losing both jobs and benefits. I would fight for the military budget to go to welfare and unemployment pay.

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This article first appeared in the 12 March 2012 issue of the New Statesman, The weaker sex