After studying this section, you should be able to understand: Kinship — a concept that refers to family connections between people based on blood, marriage or adoption.
Feminism s in Social Work Kirsty Wright: MA Social Work Feminism is a sociological approach, with the primary aim of exploring and explaining the impact of female experience and how this is affected by social systems such as power inequalities, social constructs and control over gender inequality in society Payne, It originated in the s as a progressive social and political movement, seeking equality rights such as voting rights for women Payne, The movement regained strength in the s and s, seeking to promote equality of human rights, particularly within social work practice, of which eradication of oppression has continued to underpin one of the primary aims of the profession Payne, The approach further developed into the s, focussing upon more specific female categorisations of grouping and has continued to have a significant influence upon political policy and social thinking to the modern day Teater, Examples of this can be noted through promoting change for women experiencing domestic violence such as refuge provision Walby, and legislative changes for maternity rights Kelly and Dobbin, Orme ; cited in Payne, suggests a number of principles are at the core of informing feminist theory and practice: Orme ; cited in Gray and Webb, goes on to explain that it is through the acquisition of this knowledge that appropriate frameworks can be constructed to understand and empower women.
The focus, therefore, shifts from viewing women as victims as epitomised through male societal perspectives and instead positively focuses upon the strengths Williams, ; cited in Parton ; Dominelli, As a result of the vast diverse nature of women and their individual experiences, feminism cannot provide one comprehensive approach and has instead incorporated a number of different perspectives including liberal, radical, socialist, black and postmodern feminism Dominelli, Liberal feminism is predominantly focused upon promoting equal opportunities between men and women and The social structures which promote the equality and maternity influenced legislative changes such as the introduction of the Equality Actto ensure provision is made to promote equality, particularly within the workplace.
Whilst this approach is theoretically viable, it has been suggested the implementation of such laws does not change inherent societal views of women Vogel, Legislation is in place to hold employers to account for discriminatory practice, but does not tackle the inherent nature of society viewing women from a predominantly male perspective Payne, Additionally, liberal feminism does not address the potential for men to dissolve their stronghold of power to allow holistic equal opportunities Exdell, In a similar thread, socialist feminism places importance upon potential correlations between economic climates and oppression, for example, wage inequality Mandel and Shalev, and lack of opportunity for female promotion into high level management roles MacKinnon, It has also been suggested social feminism fails to recognise specific role differences in relation to power and does not address the relationship between these roles and how these patriarchal views impact upon society Walby, It is this role of patriarchy that underpins radical feminism, the ideology of the male figure as leader of social structures, ensuring the continued oppression of women Ortner, This oppression can be noted through sexualised behaviour such as rape or sexual harassment Fitzgerald, and domestic violence Miller and Meloy, Again, this approach has been criticised for inadequate acknowledgement of female individual differences within experiences, viewing females as victims of male orientated circumstance rather than celebrating female strength Forcey and Nash, Dominelli also argues it groups all men as the same, failing to recognise diversity within the male population.
Underpinning all of these feminist perspectives are two conflicting explanations of women, existentialist and social constructionist views.
Existentialist ideas assume all women are culturally and historically the same because women share the same biological reproductive make up and therefore experience the same innate feelings Phillips, In an opposing view, social constructionist views suggest gender norms are a result of environmental influences happening at a particular point in time and therefore it is these influences that shape individual identity of each gender, with socialisation being the predominant factor Galbin, The shift into social constructionist thinking influenced the development of postmodern feminism, moving the focus upon individual differences in female identity Featherstone and Fawcett, ; cited in Fawcett et al, It suggests power inequality is a theoretical perspective as power does not actually exist, rather it is a perception that can alter between one person and the next Galbin, Power, therefore can be construed as a man made constraint to maintain control over social structures to formulate oppression on a mass scale Payne, However, Fawcett and Featherstone ; cited in Fawcett et al, have criticised postmodern feminism for its lack of focus upon power and oppression, suggesting this has had a detrimental impact upon the feminist movement as a whole.
Whilst differing feminist perspectives may appear disjointed, the feminist collective can be useful in understanding the experiences and behaviours of individuals who access services. One of the primary values of social work is to work in an anti-oppressive manner to promote empowerment of service users, which is one of the primary threads of feminism Collins, Parton suggests that women are often viewed as victims and may experience more negative feelings such as shame, as a result of their experience due to societal patriarchal views.
Parton goes on to suggest that these patriarchal views may also influence female obligation to commence caring roles as a consequence of stereotypical views that these are a female responsibility. Through knowledge of feminist perspectives, social workers can better understand and empathise with the service user experience and enable support to explore the diverse and complex nature of womanhood.
Interpretation of behaviour, feelings and experiences of families can enable understanding in a number of family settings such as work choice opportunities for mothers with disabled children Porterfield, ; domestic violence and the lack of focus upon male perpetrators Hester, ; mothers as primary caregivers and not acknowledging the role of the father Featherstone, and imbalances of power within families Owusu, It is also useful to note here cultural differences within family settings.
Black feminism argues that the family unit may be considered a safe place away from societal racism and a support in engagement of self development and identity that might differ from white family perspectives Few, Feminist perspectives have a particularly relevant role in understanding female experiences within domestic violence relationships.I argued previously on this blog that the law of gender equality should be understood as dismantling and replacing gender-unequal structures of social reproduction.
Legislative enforcement of the ERA should focus on public and collective solutions to the problem of gender-unequal social reproduction. In order to promote equality and diversity it is important that you understand the various pieces of legislation which relate to health and social care settings: The Equality Act – Safeguards against discrimination for people who .
Oct 09, · The movement regained strength in the s and s, seeking to promote equality of human rights, particularly within social work practice, of which eradication of oppression has continued to underpin one of the primary aims of the profession (Payne, ).
Promotion of Gender Equality, Empowerment of Women and Gender Mainstreaming in Trade Unions Training Manual. Promotion of gender equality, empowerment of women and gender mainstreaming in trade unions - Training manual Published by the LO/FTF . The issues paper begins by addressing why discriminatory social institutions and maternity leave matter for women’s employment.
The next section examines the relationship between family policies, discriminatory social institutions and women’s employment and concludes with policy recommendations.
Today the Equality, Local Government and Communities Committee publishes ‘Work it out: parenting and employment in Wales‘, following its inquiry into pregnancy, maternity, parenting and work.
The report concludes that inflexible workplace structures, gendered assumptions about childcare, and.