Socialinis darbas

patirtis ir metodai

Gender stereotypes in social work with social risk families

Review

The aim of this article is to investigate gender stereotypes in social work with social risk families. Social workers working with social risk families have a possibility to solidify gender stereotypes between the sexes or can identify and challenge gender stereotypes in helping to achieve greater gender equality in family life. Gender stereotypes present a conventionally simplified and standardized conception or image concerning the typical social roles of male and female. As the product of social activity, gender stereotypes are beliefs held about characteristics, traits, and activity-domains that are "deemed" appropriate for men and women. A social risk family is defined in contrast to a strong cohesive family which is able to function well and secure wellbeing of all family members. While the social risk family interfere with such socio-demographic factors as poverty, unemployment, alcoholism, child neglect, and etc., it is not able to overcome these factors autonomous and can not guarantee family members' safety. Lithuanian state institutions are providing basic social services to social risk families. Social workers working with social risk families seek to meet their needs and help to improve their social functioning. A method of formalized quantitative content analysis was applied to investigate formal documents related to social work in Leipalingis eldership with 7 social risk families during the year 2007. Main results of the investigation reveal that while working with social risk families activities are divided into male and female areas. About 2/3 of resources while providing social services are intended to target women's efforts to maintain a safe and caring environment at home relevant to meet children's needs. Men are often neglected in this practice. Based on the findings of the investigation it is possible to assume that gender bias exists in social work with social risk families.

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