NCPA - National Center for Policy Analysis

Radical Feminists are Wrong About the Value of Marriage

June 19, 2003

Marriage is good for men, women, children -- and society, according to a new report from the Heritage Foundation. Because of this simple fact, President George W. Bush has proposed a new pilot program to promote healthy marriage. Yet the President's initiative is opposed by radical feminists who seek to undermine what they call the "patriarchal family." As feminist leader Betty Friedan has warned, this anti-marriage agenda places radical feminists profoundly at odds with the family aspirations of mainstream feminists and most other American women.

Radical feminists view marriage as an oppressive institution that harms women and children. The facts, however, belie this view:

  • On average, a mother who gives birth and raises a child outside of marriage is seven times more likely to live in poverty than is a mother who raises her children within a stable married family.
  • Over 80 percent of long-term child poverty in the United States occurs in never-married or broken households.
  • Domestic violence is most common in the transitory, cohabitational relationships that feminists have long celebrated as replacements for traditional marriage.
  • Never-married mothers are more than twice as likely to suffer from domestic violence than mothers who are or have been married.

The multiple fields of research that have investigated the effects of marriage show that for men, women, children, and communities at large, marriage leads to greater health and longevity; more education; higher income; less abuse of women, boys, and girls; less poverty; less crime; less addiction; and less depression.

Source: Patrick F. Fagan, Robert E. Rector and Lauren R. Noyes, "Why Congress Should Ignore Radical Feminist Opposition to Marriage," Backgrounder No. 1662, June 16, 2003, Heritage Foundation.


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