A new decree by Argentina's female president is designed to help women abandoned by husbands who skip out after fathering a family. From now on, mothers will collect welfare payments instead of fathers. The measure by President Cristina Fernandez is a victory for the Argentine housewives union, underscoring the growing role of women in a patriarchal society while also trying to resolve the financial problems caused by profligate fathers.
"We have many complaints by women who are abandoned by their husbands, but the guys keep on collecting" payments, says Fernandez. "So we want the mother to always get the money." Unemployed Argentine families get $85 per child and $278 per disabled child through monthly payments. Adults receive 80% of the funds directly deposited into a bank account. The remaining 20% is paid to families once annually after they prove they got their children vaccinated and kept them in school. (Read more Argentina stories.)