The purpose of this paper is to focus attention on sex role deviance as a major contributive factor in negative attitudes toward women on welfare. Our position is that part of the stigma toward welfare recipients arises from the fact that they are sex role deviants, and that the differential treatment accorded to men and women on welfare has to do with the difference in sex role expectations from which they deviate. Although negative attitudes toward men on welfare are as evident as those toward women, this article sets aside the issue of men on welfare (though cognizant of its importance) to focus on the more numerous group of women on welfare.

The paper is intended to provide a new perspective on welfare and the sex related aspects of stigma toward women recipients, in which the very fact of a women seeking public support brands her not only with the taint of laziness but with the taint of sexual immorality.