Women as a class, because of marriage and motherhood, can expect to have even more breaks than men have in their employment record and consequent reduction in benefits. Married women must lose time because of the birth and care of children. Moreover, they are apt to lose jobs in depression periods because of unfair discrimination against them on the part of many forces.
-- Mary Anderson, Director, Women's Bureau,
U.S. Department of Labor, December 1935
Although UI and ADC emerged from the policymaking process in 1935 on fairly equal ground, the status of the two programs diverged sharply during their subsequent development and early implementation. ADC declined in stature from the fairly respectable position held by mothers' pensions, and the originally precarious UI program was fortified and elevated. The coverage of each policy became more rigidly specified, and the experience of the recipients became increasingly distinct. Administrators lifted UI, which had begun with barely a foothold, to the secure status of "insurance," where it became regarded as an earned "right" for white men in particular. ADC became stigmatized as it grew to resemble the sort of "relief" programs its framers had tried to avoid, wherein "standards" had no meaning other than the restrictive criteria through which applicants for assistance were denied. In time, the two programs evolved to have distinct consequences for the citizenship of men and women.
During the early years of UI's implementation, national administrators, reform-minded intellectuals, and labor representatives sought to fortify the "first line of defense" for eligible beneficiaries of the program, mostly men.