Working with Women and Families

Women, and the families they care for make up social workers’ majority of focus. For women, discrimination produces dire effects that last from childhood to old age. As such, it’s essential to focus on eliminating the negative social impacts on women’s lives, through personal aid, spreading awareness, and affecting policy change. Here’s a few reasons why a career in social work and interacting with women and their families is necessary for improving all human rights.

Women’s Employment

Women continue to suffer due to unequal pay, and fewer incentives and work initiatives despite the fact that women make up a higher percentage than men in the world’s work force. Social workers focus on political action to increase awareness, and affect policy in order to end discrimination against women in and out of the workplace.

Despite the image that women continue to break into the higher ranks of the corporate world, the ”glass ceiling” still remains. Women often rise in non-operating areas of a business such as public relations or some finance specialities while shut out from CEO tracks and high leadership roles. Sexual discrimination keeps women out of top management roles in the executive sector, and if they do succeed to overthrow the usual discrimination in corporate careers, sexual harassment remains a dangerous and demeaning reality.

Outside of office jobs, caregivers often meet discrimination and are not seen as a true workers. However, social workers continually fight this perception, backing incentives to make unpaid caregiving part of the gross domestic product.

Women’s Health

Social workers advocate improved health services for women. These services include full-range reproductive healthcare that advocate reproductive freedom, like sex education, access to birth control, and access to reproductive health services during pregnancy.

Furthermore, many social workers fight to increase research and funding for health and behavioral health studies. This research pays particular attention to women’s specific needs, such as mood and anxiety disorders associated with the menstrual cycle, pregnancy, the postpartum period, and menopause.

Retirement security and increased resources for care in older age or during compromised health takes major focus in the field, as well. Specifically, clinical social workers provide support in the event of chronic illness. These specialists include oncology social workers, who work specifically with cancer patients and their families to offer expert therapy and guidance in medical proceedings. Since most facilities prove understaffed, patients often do not receive a social worker unless considered extremely high risk. As such, it’s an area of working with women that needs attention and growth.

Family Welfare

Nuclear families dissolve due to unfortunate and dangerous circumstances such as homelessness, poverty, alcohol or drug addiction, and domestic violence or child abuse. Some social workers dedicate their time completely to helping families mend and find security. In fact, according to the National Association of Social Workers, twelve percent of social workers in the United States specialize in family services, while sixteen percent work specifically in child services.

Social workers go well beyond counselors in family affairs. Their duties include supplying caring homes for abused children, finding employment and homes for the homeless, helping pregnant women navigate adoption, and helping impoverished families best utilize welfare systems.

As opposed to previous practices, social workers now work to facilitate families, utilizing foster care services only at the most extreme need. Social workers help to rekindle relationships in broken families by locating potential employment and counseling families on how to cope with issues. The goal is to intervene to defuse crises in families, ensuring a safer environment.

Why an MSW?

Social work brings human rights to the forefront. Social workers help individuals and families, especially women and their children, with everyday problems. On a broader scale, they also fill administrative roles. These roles range from creating systems which improve social services to developing local and global policies to defeat injustices.

Going for a master’s in social work, students without a bachelor’s in social work or those wishing to advance their career can take the courses necessary in obtaining licensing. A master’s education not only brings students up to date with the latest practices and techniques in social work, but opens up different practices for those wanting to go a new route or become a specialist. For those on a tight schedule, online programs like the University of New England’s Master of Social Work makes earning a degree flexible to your needs.

Social work is a high demand, high priority career. For women and families, social workers are often the one security factor in their lives. It’s not easy, and it’s a long battle, but it’s certainly a rewarding career that connects families and builds opportunities every day.

 

Sources:

https://www.socialworkers.org/advocacy/briefing/WomensIssuesBriefingPaper.pdf

http://www.feminist.org/research/business/ewb_glass.html

http://www.womensmedicine.org/womens-behavioral-medicine/

http://awomanshealth.com/meet-your-social-worker/

http://www.naswdc.org/pressroom/features/issue/children.asp

 

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