This paper explores the social work considerations about women and sexism. Particularly focusing on the aspects that a social worker needs to know when interacting with women. The paper is split into three parts (i) Introduction and Background (ii) Cultural issues influencing psychological functioning of women (iii) Summary and Conclusions. The paper addresses the key question – why is it important for the social worker to understand the psychological and social needs of this population group?
Introduction : Historically Social Workers, when dealing with women, have tended to think that all women share a common value set of beliefs, ideology and concerns. As we have become a much more integrated and globalized society this has changed. We now have an integrated society that draws in women from many nations with different cultural backgrounds. Social workers now need to adopt a new understanding and outlook in order to deal with this population group. As the Social Worker was largely viewed as a woman’s job it was held in low esteem and afforded low pay. Equally this made this group of workers strong of character and conviction, hence it would unite around topics of a feminist agenda and provide special care and support in this area.
Cultural Issues: This needs exploring from a number of different perspectives. Social workers dealing with women who have been subjected to domestic violence ( battered wives). The Social worker will need to explore the ethnicity and cultural background of the victim. This to establish a basis for the behaviour and understand the rationale and treatment for the abuse. In any event this is now moving beyond the social workers realm into a legal jurisdiction ” domestic violence is viewed as not only a social problem, but a criminal justice problem. The criminalization of domestic violence (Fagan, 1996) refers to efforts to address the issue of domestic violence through the passage and enforcement of criminal and civil laws” (Danis, 2003). One of the early steps the Social Worker should do is help eliminate the fear of the woman(victim) and help her to focus on the immediate needs, the dangers presented and how help might best be administered. This should be placed in an immediate prioritization list ” A core feature of violence against women is the near certainty that as the victim attempts to liberate herself, the perpetrator will take ever escalating steps to pin the victim back under his control – and he will continue to do so until enough power of the system is marshalled to stop him” (Santis, 2010).
It is also important to make sure the Police become involved in the more serious cases of violence, rape or abuse. They need to be involved early hence.. ” consider calling the police yourself and having the police come to your office to take the report. The police report is going to be the most important document in your client’s case. Having the police take the report at your workplace is not only safer and more comfortable for the victim, it’s also good assurance that the officer won’t brush off your client’s case or give her short shrift.” (Santis, 2010).