To see the welfare state as a creation of women’s suffrage beginning in the 1920s is to miss the larger picture. Men created the ideological systems known as Socialism, Communism, and Progressivism. Men built the first bureaucratic structures that administered the early welfare state. And men advocated for giving women the vote.
Among the men who pushed for female suffrage there were undoubtedly ambitious Socialists who wanted to tap all that estrogen-driven empathy in a cynical move to put themselves in power. Men cynically exploited the female vote, and they are still cynically exploiting it today. When exploited, the votes of women tend to put Socialists in power and help keep them there. So Socialists — most of them men — design their strategies and propaganda with an eye on female voters.
It’s not only factually wrong to blame women for the welfare state, it’s counterproductive. It won’t get us (men, I mean) anywhere to point fingers at the fair sex and thus further inflame the Gender Wars.
Men and women got themselves into this mess together. And — given that it’s no longer possible to take the franchise away from women — the only way to get ourselves out of it is for men and women to work together.