Feminist journalist Jill Filipovic claimed “conservative policies” were responsible for unequal outcomes seen between married and unmarried families in this country.

In a CNN opinion piece, Filipovic responded to economist Melissa Kearney’s new book that argues married, two parent households, provide the best economic futures for children.

Filipovic claimed this “readily apparent but still provocative” message isn’t a result of a leftward shift in the culture’s views on marriage and family. Instead, she argued, these results are because Republican policies on abortion, the economy and health care have created a culture where many people are unable to get married or raise children in stable households. 

“A closer look at the facts on the ground, though, shows that the problem isn’t a cultural rejection of marriage, or a nationwide feminist rejection of the nuclear family (I wish),” she wrote. “The problem is that decades of largely conservative policy-making have fueled inequality, gutted the working class, left a generation of men isolated and under-employed and unmoored, impoverished families and made it harder for women to both control their own fertility and find suitable partners.”


The feminist writer made the case that attitudes toward marriage haven’t changed. Marriage is still a respected institution in this country, but people are waiting longer and seeking financial stability for themselves and their partners before entering into marriage.

“But for too many people — heterosexual women especially — that very basic standard isn’t being met by the men around them. And the GOP is at least partly to blame,” she claimed.

The writer pointed to conservative opposition to raising the minimum wage and universal childcare, abortion bans, and support for a stricter criminal justice system as policy positions that have led to lower levels of marriage and higher levels of children born out of wedlock among the less educated and racial minorities.

“The women who are living the feminist dream, on the other hand — who graduate from college, who wait to find love before getting married, who delay childbearing and focus on their careers and who largely vote for Democrats — have lower rates of single parenthood and higher rates of marriage (they also have fewer children and have them later, but their children wind up better off). In other words, this doesn’t seem to be about liberal or feminist ideals, but conservative policies,” she argued.


couple holding hands

The journalist pushed for the United States to adopt more liberal policies in these matters to “shrink this gap.”

She proposed making the increased child tax credit permanent; passing universal childcare; legalizing “easily accessible and affordable” abortion and contraception; and raising the minimum wage, as policies that would benefit all families.

“Lecturing women to get married before they have babies and then shaming single moms isn’t working. What does work to help kids and families: Giving women and men alike the ability to marry into mutually stable, supportive, and financially viable relationships, while also supporting all children, regardless of who their parents are. In America, we don’t do that — not because of liberals and feminists, but because of self-styled ‘pro-family’ conservatives and their home in the Republican Party,” she slammed.

Filipovic’s opinion piece comes on the heels of a new poll showing more Americans are pessimistic about marriage than optimistic.

According to the Pew Research Center, 40% of Americans are pessimistic about marriage and the family, while just 26% of those polled said they were “optimistic” about these institutions. 

Nearly half of adults polled, 49%, believed the trend of children being raised by unmarried parents will have a negative impact on the country’s future.

While the traditional nuclear family — a husband and wife raising children together — was the most “acceptable” type of family arrangement in the poll, a majority of Americans also said children being raised by a single parent, or by parents that were not married, was also acceptable.

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