Government
5:20 pm
Fri January 20, 2012

Resignation of a Top Advisor Confuses Women's Rights Advocates

The resignation of a top advisor in the state Department of Public Welfare has women's rights advocates wondering why he was hired in the first place.

The Department of Public Welfare says Robert Patterson asked to keep editing the conservative The Family in America journal last fall, shortly after coming to work for the state.

The request was denied and he resigned shortly thereafter.

Carol Tracy, executive director of the Women's Law Project in Philadelphia, said she was stunned to read articles that seemed to promote public policy that would take women back in time.

"It just gives no recognition to the changing role of women in society and the oppressive conditions that existed 200 years ago," Tracy said.

Tracy is disturbed Patterson was hired at all. She noted that Patterson wrote in the journal that the sexual and feminist revolution has made the country less prosperous. He also has co-written articles encouraging women to shun birth control and stay at home.

In addition to that, Tracy said it's troubling to think Patterson would have any influence over policies affecting women, if the journal's views and his own are one and the same.

In one journal article from 2010, Patterson calls the social welfare state a "parasitic complex," singling out programs like food stamps, daycare, public housing, and Medicaid — the very issues DPW oversees.

DPW would not comment on the reason Patterson's request to keep editing the journal was denied, nor on the reason for his resignation.