In neoliberal discourse, married women are assumed to be responsible for children and dependent on wage-earning husbands, and are often advised to stay at home during their children’s early years to build self-esteem and independence in the young. They are also encouraged to volunteer, as the bulwarks of civil society and « faith-based » social service provisions, with their unpaid labor underpinning the privatized social safety net. Single, divorced, and widowed women may « choose » to work in a gender and race-segmented labor market without affordable childcare or public assistance in order to build their self-esteem and independence—or, some welfare reformers suggest, they may « choose » to put their children up for adoption by married couples, or house them in orphanages. Lesbian and gay, bisexual or transgendered parents may choose only to take their chances amid the patchwork legal minefield of inadequate to hostile partnership provisions, custody rulings, adoptions laws, social services, employment and health insurance practices, and educational (in)visibility.
For men, neoliberal policy wonks and politicians have advocated « law and order » programs, including the « war on crime » and the « war on drugs, » « zero tolerance » policing, « quality of life » crackdowns on crimes against public order, and the mass incarceration of young poor men, especially black men.
Lisa Duggan, The Twilight of Equality : Neoliberalism, Cultural Politics, and the Attack on Democracy, p. 17-18