Term Paper: Social Work Is a Field That Requires

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Social work is a field that requires some special abilities from the one that chooses this profession. These abilities, like compassion, empathy, sensibility, are obviously the attributes of a woman; this being the base of the idea that social work is more suitable a job for women.

However, not only women choose to become social workers, men do too. I will try to clarify why some men choose to become social workers while others think this is a completely wrong profession for men.

For this matter, I will elaborate a qualitative study, based on a qualitative interview with an experienced male psychiatric social worker. I chose these methods because they are in my opinion the most relevant for dealing with this subject.

The results of my research were not totally according to my expectations. I found out more sides of the problem than I considered at first, but, in conclusion, it is shown that men as social workers, even if they are considered intruders into a women's territory, are not abnormal person, as some people believe, but persons who choose this job for the same reasons women do.

My personal point-of-view regarding this matter is that men are as valuable in their job as social workers as any woman working in this area is, the experiences and the willing to help the others being the most important thing in this job, not the gender.

The social work gender differences subject is interesting to research because of its deep touch to human differences that we meet every day and to the preconceptions we all have about the existing suitable jobs from nowadays for every gender.

The man as a social worker has been an object of study to feminist writers and not only. Referring to Christie, A.'s (2001) book, "Men and social work," which is approaching this subject, men's issue was inspected in the idea of integrating them into the social work area, to find them a specific location into this matter, to specify men's contribution to this profession's potential and to establish their particular problems in entering this "women only" territory.

The matter that I consider most interesting to treat is the process of a man becoming a social worker, the experiences that can contribute to the decision of becoming a future social worker and, on the other side, and the reasons that specifically keep many men away in choosing this profession.

A-based my study mainly on a qualitative interview with a social worker, Michael Greyly. Qualitative interview is representative for his power to unlock all the subject's believes and experiences regarding the proposed theme through well-chosen questions. This is what I tried to do, choosing to use the interview for my paper because of the direct ideas I could get from a method like that, being very content to find a subject for my interview that had a lot of experience behind as a social worker. I was sure I could find the answers to many of my questions from a person like him. I tried to follow, through my questions, all the line of his life that took him to the person who became today from the professional point-of-view, and the connection between his personal experiences starting with childhood and his decision to become a social worker. My subject was very open and treated the interview very seriously, which was another reason that convinced me that this was the most suitable method to adopt in writing my study. The interview took place in his office, which was a determinant factor in the subject's implication into the interview.

Of course, I had a literature base for the study too, not ignoring articles about this subject and a book, which I considered to treat best this issue. In looking for my resources, I took all my questions I had about this matter into consideration and I chose the ones that I thought would answer to my study demands the best.

For an effective interpretation, I considered that a narrative analysis is the best choice. This method of interpretation is following precisely the study's issue, having a chronological way to explain and to evaluate the experiences from the past and their influence on the present and future life perception and living statute.

Social work is a field where women dominate. Created by women, ruled by women, situation in which, logically thinking, men do not have so many chances to enter, and even fewer chances to succeed.

Throughout the history of social work, women, buttressing the profession through their talents and energy, have comprised the majority of workers (Trattner, 1989). In fact, many more women than men have sought graduate degrees in social work [...]. Apparently, opportunities for women to pursue both careers and advanced degrees have expanded especially in the last thirty years while men continue to avoid entering a field associated with women.

To legitimatize social work as a profession, early leaders in social work including Mary Richmond and Sophonisba Breckinridge, recruited men to augment the power, prestige, and status associated with social work (Williams, 1995). Men in social work, although few in number, still acquire a uniquely unearned prestige within the field and find themselves propelled to the traditional, high-profile administrative roles. Historically, they have been earmarked for these administrative roles to fulfil both macro systemic expectations and gender role definitions (Baines, 1991). Propagated in the inherent expectations within social work's "organizational culture" and its history, the field sustains segregation as men tend to enter administrative and policy-oriented tracts (Christie, 1998)." (Britton, J. & Stoller M., 1998).

Men, as it is well observed from the citation above, have in everyday life an already "born with" statute, that is imposing them to choose one special way in their carrier. Other options are automatically treated like a wrong turn and this is not an encouraging situation for the ones who really think about this profession as the one for them.

Men who have already chose this carrier, because of their condition as the opposed gender in this profession, had and still have their own questions regarding their choice. It is not a matter of having done something out of the ordinary in the negative sense of the phrase, but of their image reflected in the eyes of the others: "Working with children, I frequently found myself to be the only man at case reviews, planning or referral meetings. Sitting in a review in which I was the only man reminded me that I had chosen to work in a non-traditional occupation for men (Williams, 1993: Christie, 1998a). Research on men who do "women's work" has shown that they are far less likely to aspire to work in such fields in the first place, but if they do, then they may be suspected of not being a real man (Williams, 1993, pp.2-3)" (Christie, A., 2001). People are not used to see men as social workers, so their restrictive reactions when they deal with a situation like this is, from this point-of-view, normal.

Gender differences always existed and still do, even if the equality between genders is considered to be already a part of our life. However, we are not prepared yet to accept the other gender's tasks because of the preconception that this will change us in an unwanted way. Especially men are not ready yet to accept some of the feminine issues that they could do too, not even the familial one (and this is the base for everything). "While the concept of Gender Equality is not new, what is relatively new is the concerted effort to revisit men's roles and identities in order to significantly increase men's involvement in gender equal societies. [...] Because of gender stereotypes, men are also missing a whole range of emotions and experiences that are immensely rewarding and socially valued. For example, in most cultures men are not expected to play a significant role in caring for the children, or for sick parents, or to show affection and express their vulnerabilities in distress; since these qualities are typically assigned to women. Moving toward gender equality does not mean loss of masculinity. It does mean that men as a group will be able to share and be part of a broader, healthier, safer, and richer cultural experience" (Chattopadhay, T., 2004).

Because of these well-known preconceptions, a man who is trying to do something different in his carrier than the others are expecting from him as a male, automatically problems will have problems: "Male social workers must subvert traditionally defined and socially normed male roles. When a man chooses to enter female-dominated professions, he may still incur stigmas that differentiate him from other males. Those who choose to enter the field may experience a "discrepancy strain," a failure to live up to the standards, expectations, and norms of their traditional gender roles (Gilbert & Scher, 1999, p. 108). As one male student relates, "I can remember a conversation with my father before I made my decision to… [END OF PREVIEW]

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