Sunday, January 12, 2014
Women and the WPA (part 3 of 10): Healthcare
Today, unemployed and low-income women are the victims of social exclusion. Like unemployed and low-income men, their jobless benefits are under constant threat of reduction or elimination, there are no public works jobs created for them, they are discriminated against by employers and, if they are childless, and reside in a Republican-managed state, they are likely not allowed to participate in the Medicaid expansion offered by the Affordable Care Act. But the ruthlessness of social exclusion, facilitated by our gruesome politics, is not the only alternative, as the following images from the New Deal era illustrate.
Above: Unemployed nurses were hired into the WPA to provide healthcare services to low-income Americans. The caption for this photo (taken in Minneapolis) reads, "Operated by WPA funds, the Home provides special diet and proper rest to correct abnormal hearts of these children. 59 employed." Photo courtesy of the National Archives and the New Deal Network.
Above: This WPA poster urges prompt healthcare treatment for women. Image courtesy of the Library of Congress Prints and Photographs Division.
Above: WPA nurses and nutrition workers made house calls, like this one in Louisiana. The woman on the right appears to be giving instruction on the proper mixing of baby formula. Photo courtesy of the FDR Presidential Library and Museum and the New Deal Network.
Above: This poster was created by WPA artist Erik Hans Krause (1899-1990), and was one of several he made related to women's health and health generally. Image courtesy of the Library of Congress Prints and Photographs Division.
Above: Men and women in the WPA school lunch program served over 1.2 billion school lunches to children. The work was tedious, but vital to improving the health of children from low-income families. The caption for this photo reads, "WPA Hot School Lunch Project--School lunches are prepared and distributed by trucks for undernourished children to schools in the District of Columbia. Photo shows troup of women in the Central Kitchen preparing 5,200 sandwiches for the Hot School Lunches." Photo courtesy of the National Archives and the New Deal Network.
Above: One of several WPA posters related to the health of mother and infant. Image courtesy of the Library of Congress Prints and Photographs Division.
What a shame that we don't have a WPA today, for unemployed and low-income women, and that we have, instead, embraced the mean-spirited art of social exclusion.