New book discusses invisible women

August 06, 2002

ANN ARBOR---Many women, including the poor, elderly and imprisoned, are to some extent invisible in mainstream American society. And many institutions are designed to keep them that way, a University of Michigan professor says.

A book edited by Rosemary Sarri, a professor in the School of Social Work and Women's Studies program at the University of Michigan, and Josefina Figueira-McDonough of Arizona State University, presents a comprehensive collection of essays that examines the plight of poor women in detail. The book, "Women at the Margins," was published by the Haworth Press.

"Welfare and correctional systems rob poor women of their citizenship status and treat them as expendable," Sarri says. The policies of these systems force women to make decisions that are often contrary to their best interests." Her book documents how current policies have resulted in devastating life conditions for poor women and also presents a call for action to address the problem. "Women are now the majority in the U.S. in terms of numbers and family responsibilities, but not in terms of resources and opportunities," Sarri says.

The book discusses the poor, older women, pregnant teenagers, the failure of the welfare system and policies that are placing women in further jeopardy. There is an emphasis on women in prison and their children. Seventy percent of incarcerated women have minor children; since many are single mothers, this adds another dimension to their already difficult struggle, the book says.

"The feminist movement has often ignored this victimized and shunned population," Sarri says. "We hope that this book will give women in many careers, statuses and situations information that can be used to promote the well-being of all women and the society."
For more information, contact Rosemary Sarri at (734) 763-5611, or email

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University of Michigan

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