Those who work in the (higher) civil service often act in the background and are far less visible than politicians. However, administrative expertise or a bureau’s mediating function can be decisive in developing programs to provide social security. As the welfare state expanded in the course of the 20th century, relative to private welfare organizations, government authorities and the offices which administer social security programs gained in influence and decision-making power. Professionals and experts – lawyers, economists, doctors, statisticians – staffed these offices; they are particularly influential when they hold senior positions. However, those in the higher civil service are not ‘neutral’ per se, for like politicians, they bring their own sociopolitical convictions and visions into their daily work. Until recently, few of the professionals and specialists who held important administrative positions were women.