WQ event

Where Are All the "Welfare Queens?" Diversity and European Evidence on Single-Parent Families

The American social policy discourse is very much shaped by the image of the “welfare queen” – a never-married single mother who is dependent on public assistance and refuses to work. Professor Janet C. Gornick (CUNY), Dr Laurie C. Maldonado (Molloy College), Professor Ive Marx (University of Antwerp), Dr Rense Nieuwenhuis (Stockholm University), and Dr Amanda Sheely (LSE Social Policy) discussed how experiences of lone parents across Europe and other countries call this stereotype into question, and what this means for social policy.



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Janet C. Gornick (@JanetGornick) is the Director of the Stone Center on Socio-Economic Inequality, Professor of Political Science and Sociology at the Graduate Center, CUNY, and Director of the US Office of LIS. She has published widely on social welfare policies and their impact on gender disparities in the labor market and/or on income inequality. She has published widely in academic journals.



Laurie C. Maldonado (@LCMaldonado1) is Assistant Professor of Social Work at Molloy College, New York. Her research examines the consequences of social policy on the lives of single parent and their families. She has co-edited a book, titled The Triple Bind of Single-Parent Families. Previously, she has worked as a research associate for The Stone Center on Socio-Economic Inequality.



Ive Marx (@IveMarx) is a Professor at the University of Antwerp where he also services as the Director of the Centre for Social Policy Herman Deleeck. His main research interest is labour market and welfare state change in relation to the distribution of income, with a particular focus on poverty.



Rense Nieuwenhuis (@RNieuwenhuis) is Associate Professor at Stockholm University SOFI. He studies how family diversity and social policy affect poverty and economic inequality. His research is country-comparative and has a gender perspective. Dr Nieuwenhuis’s recent research is on single-parent families, how women’s earnings affect inequality between households, and family policy outcomes. 




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Amanda Sheely (@AmandaSheely3) is Assistant Professor in the Department of Social Policy at the London School of Economics and Political Science. She studies social assistance programs for lone mothers, with a primary focus on the United States.



Podcast and Video


This event was held on 20 May 2021 as part of the Phelan Family Lecture Series

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