Congresswoman on Gov't Handouts: 'I Mean Women Use These Resources a Lot More Than Men Do'

By Elizabeth Harrington | June 21, 2012 | 10:08 AM EDT

Rep. Gwen Moore (D-Wisc.) ( Starr)

( - Rep. Gwen Moore (D-Wis.) told a women’s empowerment conference in Washington on Wednesday that women need government programs more than men do.

“The relentless and unrelenting effort to minimize women’s needs, whether it’s fair health-care needs, reproductive needs, whether it’s things like Pell grants or Stafford loans, college scholarships--I mean women use these resources a lot more than men do,” she said.

“Food stamps--adult women use food stamps to a greater degree than do men, two-thirds of adult food stamp users are women,” Moore added. “Social Security, Medicare, Medicaid -- depending on how old women are, they use anywhere from two-thirds to 85 percent of these programs.”

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Moore also mentioned welfare programs such as WIC “that support our children and lactating women” as items that Republicans have targeted, even though such programs “would benefit women.”

“So, women, so no wonder when you look at these polls you see this gender gap.  Duh?”

Moore said entitlement programs “have come under attack” by Republican state and federal lawmakers, who are waging a “war on women” – or a “dance on women,” as she also called it.

“Yeah, this could really shape up to be another ‘year of the woman,’” Moore said. “It could be--because legislators, members of Congress and quite frankly state legislatures all across the country have really handed us the tool for organizing women.”

Moore was one of seven Democratic lawmakers addressing the kickoff of a “Leveraging Women’s Voices” conference organized by the National Council for Research and Women.  NCRW describes itself as a network of research, policy and advocacy centers dedicated to improving the lives of women and girls.

Another speaker, Rep. Donna Edwards (D-Md.), told the gathering that she takes a feminist approach to her job:

“I’m going to just tell you something," Edwards said. "I see almost everything that I do in Congress and almost everything that I do through the lens of being a woman, a mother, a single mom struggling in an economy and just trying to make it.  I see everything through that lens."

At Wednesday's event, the NCRW released a report recommending ways to make quality, affordable child care more accessible to working women.

"The report’s findings have national economic and policy implications that are particularly relevant in this election year," NCRW said in a news release. The group is calling on Congress to convene a hearing on the affordable child care issue.

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