5 Social Work Figures Who Have Paved the Way

Quality of life is a concept that varies widely depending on where one lives, but it’s amazing how far the human race has come as a whole. A substantial amount of this advancement is the result of the continuous hard work by social workers, both men and women. Here are the contributions of five of the great social workers of the past.

1. Clara Barton

Charitable and aid organizations have a large role in the history of social work. This is why the work that Clara Barton did has impacted millions of lives since her lifetime. In 1881, this pioneer nurse created the American Red Cross. She also worked as a nurse in hospitals to help people during the war. Clara was a woman who gave up on marriage to have the freedom to spend her life helping other people. Not only was she influential, she is a great role model for anyone interested in becoming a social worker.

2. Brené Brown

Brown is currently a research professor working to improve how people handle difficult emotions like courage, shame, and worth. She completed her MSW degree as well as a Ph.D. She is one of the most well-known modern social workers, having published multiple bestselling and appeared in various noteworthy outlets like TED, CNN, and NPR. These accomplishments are paving the way for global attention of important social issues.

3. Amos Grisvold Warner

Warner wasn’t a typical social worker, but still had a profound effect on the field. He primarily studied economics, becoming an Applied Economics professor early on in his career. After moving into a position in the Charity Organization Society of Baltimore, he then published a classic textbook in the social welfare field called American Charities.

4. Frances Perkins

Good working conditions are a key component to quality of life. Frances Perkins dedicated her entire life to labor reform, who was a main champion of the following acts:

  • National labor relations act
  • Fair labor standards act
  • Social security act

She also was the Secretary of Labor, making her the first female presidential cabinet member. She influenced labor laws so much that the headquarters of the Department of Labor is named in her honor.

5. Jane Addams

A woman who all people should know about is Jane Addams, who did so much for the social welfare of people during her time. She founded the famous Hull House in Chicago, a settlement house and also received a Nobel Peace Prize in 1931. She voluntarily lived with the poor in order to understand their problems better and improve their lives. This allowed her to organize and build public services for the Hull House to offer like a library, educational classes and more. If all that weren’t enough, she then created the Chicago School of Civics and Philanthropy.

These are just some of the great social workers of the present and past. They’ve contributed immensely in different ways, including academics, community involvement, and lobbying to improve social welfare.


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