The gendered nature of the social welfare system is seldom addressed in mainstream interpretations of social welfare policies. Mainstream social policy scholars generally agree that the theory of the liberal state and its concepts of individualism and laissez-faire, or free market, economics are a key to understanding the historical development of American social welfare policies. The Charity Organization Movement, considered the beginning of social casework, was founded upon the notion of the importance of the work ethic, moral virtue, individual achievement, and the concern for dependency. Society's treatment of women of color clearly indicated that their value as laborers took precedence over their domestic and reproductive roles. Traditional policy analysts generally approach the process from a "rational" perspective, using scientific principles and what are perceived to be objective data. The chapter concludes with recommendations for curricular revisions to integrate gender issues into social policy courses.