A Sociology of Social Work and Feminist Sociological Social Work
Social work is a male-dominated profession with women workers managing front-line encounters with ‘clients’, the majority of whom are women. Any sociology of social work must engage with the gendered realities of social work if it is to make sense of them. Gendered relations permeate its working relations, organisational structures, decision-making procedures, service provision and service delivery. Yet, women’s needs, whether workers or ‘clients’, are poorly served (Dominelli, 1984; Marchant and Wearing, 1986). Paradoxically, male dominated and patriarchally structured as it is, social work fails to respond adequately to men’s needs if they are seeking liberation from the controlling confines of traditional social work responses to them. It is as if ‘women’s work’ is out of bounds to men ‘clients’ or suitable only for ‘dealing with’ women ‘clients’ who must be made to conform to stereotypical female behaviour.
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