Feminist Approaches to Social Work Essay

Feminist Approaches to Social Work Essay

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This work is going to set out to investigate the relevance of feminist approaches to social work in today’s society. It will first look at the different types of feminism that are present in society. It will then trace and highlight the emergence of feminism in society. This essay will then delve deeper into the different types of approaches that were taken on by feminists within the field of social work. It will discuss what effect these approaches had on society especially women.

According to Hooks (2000) as cited in Considine and Dukelow (2009:141) “Feminism is a movement to end sexism, sexist exploitation, and oppression”. It is necessary to explain the different types of feminism that are present in society first. Freedman (2001:5) states that there are many different strands of feminism present in society, but the three most commonly recognised are liberal feminism, Marxist feminism and radical feminism, her explanation of these are as follows. Liberal feminism is based on the idea that everyone within a state should have the same rights and women should be treated equally to men. Marxist feminism is based on the belief that women’s maltreatment is linked back to capitalism. Radical feminists believe that men’s authority over women has a connection with patriarchy. The above explanation has been a brief introduction to the different types of feminism present in society. At a later stage within in this work, it will be examined what effect feminism has had on social work and society as a whole.

Now that the meaning of feminism has been ascertained and the different types of feminism present in society today highlighted it is necessary to examine the emergence of feminism. Considine and Dukelow (2009:141) argue that f...


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...uding marriage, employment and social work agencies, to give up power (ibid: 257). It quite evident that unless there is a reduction in the power that men still hold over women in society today that feminist theory will not be accepted and recognised. Millet (1971) as cited in Slattery (2003:157) states “Patriarchy’s chief institution is the family”. For many decades the Catholic Church in Ireland held a tight reign over people in society. Both men and women conformed to what they preached. Women in society were denied their rights by the establishment of reformatories and institutions by the Catholic Church. When a woman fell pregnant and was not married she would be sent to one of these institutions. Society was only informed recently of the terrible ordeals that these women had to succumb to through the publication of many reports that were carried out.




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