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Keywords:

  • family policy;
  • welfare reform;
  • women's work

The purpose of this article is to describe the work of welfare-reliant women and to reveal commitment to work in the experiences of 84 welfare-reliant, rural women interviewed for this study. Understanding the domains where welfare-reliant women exhibit commitment to work may help policy makers, trainers, and employers design and implement interventions that enhance chances of success for these women in the formal, paid workforce. Discussion focuses on the women's formal labor force participation in the past and desire for wage work in the future; barriers to labor force participation, both personal and in the rural job market; informal work and the work of care; support networks; survival strategies for making ends meet while receiving welfare; and the stigma of welfare receipt.