The focus of this article is the woman-fetus conflict of rights, subsumed in the abortion debate. The issue is first examined from the perspective of distributive justice in a liberal society. In the absence of universal criteria of the personhood of the fetus, the results of recent opinion polls are analyzed as proxies of "aggregate intuition" on this issue. The analysis leads to a reframing of the terms of the conflict of rights in the abortion debate and a reexamination of contemporary policies on the subject.
AIDS is now a disease primarily of disadvantaged people of color, and a particularly vulnerable group is poor women of color. This article presents a general view of HIV testing from the perspective of the contemporary surveillance and control of urban populations, using a proposed Illinois state neonatal-maternal testing policy targeted at high seroprevalence areas as an example to demonstrate that surveillance and the regulation of women's bodies as an AIDS-control strategy reproduce hegemonic relationships of power.
Through in-depth interviews, this study examined the relational context of sexual HIV risk for 10 Black women aged 18-30 who were defendants in a community court setting. A qualitative data analysis identified themes of actual and feared intimate partner violence (IPV) and the expectations of demonstrating trust in a relationship as obstacles to negotiating the use of condoms. The findings speak to the broader structural factors and consequences of IPV and drug use. The article discusses the implications for HIV prevention for Black women who are involved in the criminal justice system.
This study examined the gender differences in drug-offer situations of Native Hawaiian youths in rural communities. Youths from seven middle or intermediate schools (N 194) on the Big Island of Hawai'i completed a survey that focused on the drug offers they had received. Multivariate and bivariate analyses indicated that the girls received significantly more drug offers than did the boys in the sample and found it more difficult to refuse drugs in such situations. Qualitative data gathered from communities in the survey's sampling frame elucidated the quantitative findings. Limitations of the study and implications for prevention practice are discussed.
In this editorial, we provide two case examples from our research—one with Black–White biracial adoptees in White families and the other with Afghan refugee women—to illustrate the challenges that Morales, a feminist poet, posed and how we use intersectionality to analyze and understand women as multidimensional, yet uniquely whole. Theories of intersectionality emerged from the writings of women of color during the 1960s and 1970s. Intersectionality has also been used as a tool for gender and economic justice. In recognizing the limitations of theorizing gender as a unified collective transcending race and class, intersectionality calls on scholars to be more inclusive of a broader group of women in their analysis of gender and definitions of what is feminist. In an increasingly global world in which the challenges to our analysis of oppression and privilege grow geometrically, we must attend with the greatest care to the lenses through which we view the complexity of the lived experiences of those we would call sister and of all we would embrace within the family of humanity. (PsycINFO Database Record (c) 2012 APA, all rights reserved)
Intimate partner abuse (IPA) is a societal issue that continues to devastate individuals, families, and communities worldwide. Historical and current attempts to identify and eradicate IPA provide clues about what is working and what is not. Reflecting on written sources and more than 30 years of professional social service work, the author surveys the major causal theories of IPA and the continued devastating impact of IPA on women, men, and children throughout the world. The author’s practice examples provide a commentary on the implications of IPA for citizens, human service practitioners, and policy makers. Building on the concepts of positive peace building through education and training, the author then challenges and provides suggestions for concrete changes that are necessary to move beyond attitudes and intervention/prevention strategies that continue to send the message that IPA is a personal rather than a societal issue.
Research has paid little attention to survivors of childhood sexual abuse who do not exhibit long-term negative consequences or who manifest resilience. This study investigated resilient outcomes, that is, competence in the face of adversity, and the factors associated with these outcomes in 136 womenwho were sexually abused as children.
This article summarizes the findings of a larger study of factors that are associated with women's reoffending, particularly its link with substance abuse. Primary data were derived from semi-structured, in-depth interviews with 26 women who had been released from Christchurch Women's Prison, New Zealand, prior to 1999. These data were triangulated with interviews with informed experts and with secondary data from the participants' community probation records. The study found an association between substance abuse and women's reoffending, which varied according to the type and level of dependence on substances. The relationship among substance abuse, dependence, and victimization affected the women's entry into offending and ongoing recidivism. Desistance from substance abuse and offending was a process of relapse and recovery affected by different life stages.
The study reported in this article explored the perceptions of rural women on custody and visitation arrangements with abusive ex-partners. Data were collected from questionnaires and focus groups with 23 mothers who were recruited from domestic violence support groups. Most mothers reported experiencing ongoing abusive and controlling behavior by their ex-partners related to custody and visitation arrangements. Counseling and legal services were most frequently used, while visitation exchange sites and supervision visitation and support groups were considered the most helpful services. Recommendations for rural areas include improving methods for screening and monitoring custody cases within the court system and improving access to child visitation services.
Much work has focused on the interpersonal dynamics of violent relationships, but less is known about the specific turning points that prompt women at least to try to end them. Using a feminist standpoint method and phenomenological-based analysis of in-depth interviews with mothers in a domestic violence shelter, this article focuses on the role of children in women’s decisions to leave abusive partners. It discusses arriving at the decision, the logistics involved in leaving and planning for the future, and it presents policy and advocacy-based recommendations that are aimed at addressing the social welfare of women and children.
Although it is generally acknowledged that mentor relationships facilitate professional development and advance careers, little is known about the influence of gender on the nature and pattern of these relationships, especially for women in academe. On the basis of material in the literature and of their own and others' personal experiences, the authors discuss characteristics and stages of mentor relationships, resources exchanged by protegees and mentors, and strategies for handling problems that may arise. The need for creating new, more accurate metaphors or models for feminist-oriented patron relationships is explored, with the archetype, Artemis, presented as one alternative. The article concludes with an exploration of the implications of such relationships for education, practice, and research.
Theoretical work on feminist psychotherapy ethics has been useful in challenging conventional psychotherapy, but its narrative assumes that the therapeutic relationship is potentially benign. In contrast, feminists in public practice who work in settings that are closer to state power and social control must assume that therapy has the potential for malignancy, on the basis of the history of mental health and the state. Therefore, they require a conception of ethics that acknowledges the relationships of therapists and clients within a state apparatus. This article discusses the two types of ethics and stresses the need for ethics that are congruent with the locations in which therapists practice.
This article reports on a study of the lived experiences of 10 women who participated in feminist activism within a grassroots feminist organization. The study analyzed the women’s narratives to determine how power shapes their subjective experiences in feminist activism. Their narratives were categorized into two broad themes: the intrapersonal locus of power and the relational locus of power. The themes refer to how women mediate power in practice and how their experiences with power are interconnected with relationships in the collective. The women in the study elaborated on the role of power in their own agency and in tensions, such as privilege and oppression.
This article presents a longitudinal qualitative study of the strengths and struggles of a diverse group of 27 women organizers in 1989 and 2003. It highlights the resilience of their core biography, as well as individual and collective differences based on changing context, careers, and aging over 13 years. On the basis of these women’s perspectives, the article examines an analytic document, A Framework for Feminist Organizing, that was produced by a women organizers’ collective and reinforces and modifies its practice principles. The study builds on the growing literature on feminist theory and practice applied to the field of community organizing, activism, and progressive social change.
In-depth interviews with 60 repatriated Afghan refugee women on their experiences before and duringwar and exile revealed their significant roles and responsibilities. Thewomen were active in protection, safety, survival, and the reestablishment of their families during this time. Contrary to media presentations of Afghan women as helpless victims, they were social actors who used their networks to face the challenges of war, supported their families during exile, and participated in repatriation. Themes that emerged included the significance of cultural and religious norms and expectations, the social entitlement to receive support, and the obligation to provide support within the family and within their ethnic community. The women's stories reflect resilience in times of stress and optimism for the future that were based on their religious faith. Religion and culture are two important elements in developing social work practice with Afghan women in the aftermath of war and during repatriation.
Although uncommitted sexual relationships have become increasingly accepted by adolescents, the contexts and socioemotional consequences of these relationships are unknown, particularly among Mexican American youths. Using focus group methodology, we explored the dating experiences of Mexican and European American male and female middle adolescents and found that “hookups” are a salient dating experience that generally occurs in the context of substance use and parties. Females, particularly Mexican American, were more likely to hold mismatched expectations of their desire for a hookup to transition into a more committed type of relationship. A feminist developmental lens is invoked in the discussion of the findings.
This article reports on a qualitative study that examined first-person accounts of resilient women who, as children, were exposed to the battering of their mothers. The key finding was the roots of their resilient capacities that were forged in resistance to their childhood adversity and its consequences, particularly the violence perpetrated by their fathers against their mothers. The women used a variety of protective strategies to withstand and oppose their sense of powerlessness owing to the batterers' oppression of them and their mothers. Implications for social work practice include using resistance to oppression as part of a resilience-oriented helping paradigm in working with children who have been exposed to domestic violence.
Drawing from interviews with advocates that addressed disaster recovery issues after Hurricane Katrina, the authors highlight three groups of women—domestic violence/sexual assault workers, advocates of federal postdisaster policy, and members of public housing resident councils. Women's efforts to mobilize networks and resist unfair policies, particularly in the context of a disaster, are discussed.
This article presents the results of a study with providers of domestic violence and sexual assault services in Kansas. In recent years, the changing demographics of the U.S. Midwest have required community-based organizations to adapt their services quickly to “new” immigrant populations, many of whom are Spanish speaking and perceived as “illegal” and thus face numerous barriers to accessing services. We examine how intersecting and interlocking oppressions shape the delivery of services to immigrant women who are facing violence and discuss what strategies advocates use to support women’s safety and self-determination in an intense and at times hostile anti-immigrant environment.
This article reports on a 1996 prevalence study of domestic violence and other partne and family-related problems among 404 female aid to families with dependent children (AFDC) recipients in the Kansas City, Missouri, metropolitan area. Almost one third of the women had been abused sometime in their lives, and 10% had been abused in the past year. The women stated that abuse or lack of support reduced their ability to work, but not as often as did lack of child care and transportation. Thus, domestic violence may affect women's success in finding and keeping jobs.
This case study examines the journey of a pregnant, incarcerated woman and the advocacy efforts of helping professionals from a perinatal home visiting agency. The agency worked with the mother to help her understand her baby’s development, both prenatally and postpartum, and addressed many other parenting concerns, including guardianship rights. The agency found that it is rare for pregnant inmates to maintain custody of their infants in jail postpartum, despite certain legal rights that are afforded them. The agency worked with the inmate and her family to advocate for her right to mother her child.
This analysis of focus group dialogues about the intersection of race/ethnicity, HIV/AIDS, and alcohol use among HIV-positive Latinas and African American women explores consumers’ and providers’ perspectives on issues that influence the misuse of alcohol, the mechanisms of that influence, and factors that are critical to addressing the misuse of alcohol successfully in this population. The findings highlight the social structural influences of gender, race/ethnicity, and poverty and the interpersonal influences of family relationships, the disclosure of HIV, trauma and abuse, romantic partnerships, and motherhood on the misuse of alcohol. The discussion highlights suggestions for gender-specific and culturally responsive elements of alcohol treatment for HIV-positive Latinas and African American women.
The study reported here addressed the effect of gender on the academic status of social work faculty of color by comparing the academic status of 264 African-American women and men on social work faculty. It found that a greater percentage of women than men held lower academic ranks, were not tenured, and had not been members of editorial boards of professional journals. The implications of this pattern of inequality are discussed.
In order to examine the potential relationship between life satisfaction, spirituality and other demographic variables, 147 African American women from Alabama, Florida, Georgia, Kentucky, Michigan and Missouri were asked to complete the Adult Life Satisfaction Scale (ALSS) and the Black Women=s Spirituality/Religiosity Measure (BWSRM). In-depth interviews were also conducted with six African American women. Data obtained were subjected to correlated groups t test, Pearson r=s and regression analysis; content analysis was used to analyze the interview data. Although no significant difference was found among the ratings of life satisfaction and spirituality with respect to age or education level, the African American women did report higher levels of religiosity than spirituality which correlated significantly with life satisfaction. Analysis of a subscale of the BWSRM found that the women reported significantly higher levels of spirituality than religiosity. A moderate correlation was found between age and religiosity while spirituality was found to be a critical variable in contributing to life satisfaction in African American women at midlife, regardless of age, income or education.
This article presents a study that examined the relationship between involvement in multiple roles and psychological distress among 380 Caucasian and African American women aged 18—60, focusing on women’s roles as paid workers, wives, and mothers. The quality of the mother role was significantly associated with psychological distress, while role occupancy and role quantity were not. Furthermore, the African American and white women appeared to be affected similarly by the quality of their experience in the mother role.
The mixed-method study examined welfare-reliant, female heads of households and the multilayered and persistent barriers they face in their attempts to obtain employment to sustain their families. The 30 respondents, aged 25–34, were African Americans and Latinas receiving various forms of public assistance and were plagued by a host of serious problems. The African American respondents were native-born American citizens who spoke only English, and almost all the Latina respondents spoke only Spanish and were born in South or Central America, Cuba, or the West Indies. A higher level of interpersonal violence was reported among the African American cohort. There were other strong contrasts between the cohorts, including the mean number of children, educational level, work experience, and type of housing. The theoretical framework for the study was liberationist feminist social work practice. The results revealed an alarming array of simultaneously occurring “metastressors” that are complex, comprehensive, suffocating to many respondents, and more difficult to resolve over time. The study challenges the assumptions on which the Temporary Assistance for Need Families operates, including its political origins and its current regulations that mandate time limits on assistance in spite of persistent national economic problems. The issue of intersectionality is explored in relation to gender and racial oppression in the United States and in terms of promoting positive social change among oppressed groups.
This article reports the findings of a qualitative study that examined the perceptions of depression and suicide risk and protection among 40 African American women. Seven focus groups were conducted. The thematic findings of the focus group discussions included perceptions of depression as a sense of “spiritual forsakenness” and a healthy alternative to suicide. Living in spirit as well as in community with others was viewed as protection against suicide. Having a strong sense of African American heritage, history, and identity was perceived as protection against suicide and depression. Womanist implications for social work research, practice, and education are discussed.
This article discusses the emergence and development of women’s fund-raising for charitable centenarian agencies in a southern city. These activities set the stage for the diversification of strategies that still have gender and racial overtones in the contemporary fund-raising activities of the city. The findings reveal that women did whatever they could legally do to raise funds and in-kind contributions. Women were active, visible agents, “pounding the pavement” to solicit or beg for funds. Gendered and racial roots of philanthropic activities in these centenary organizations still influence both the intentions and actions of these organizations today and have implications for women in fund-raising positions.
This quantitative and descriptive study investigated the quality of life (QOL) and attitudes toward aging of 270 older women in Sanliurfa Province, Turkey. The Turkish versions of the World Health Organization Quality of Life Instrument—Older Adults Module and the World Health Organization—Attitudes Toward Aging Questionnaire were administered to the participants. The results indicated that there was significant relationship between the women’s QOL and attitudes toward aging. Two dimensions of attitudes toward aging (physical change and psychological growth) were significant predictors of QOL in the women. It was also found that literacy and happiness affected some dimensions of the women’s QOL and some subscales of attitudes toward aging.
This report describes a study of 116 women alcoholics and examines the relationships between their alcoholism and their depression. Although over a one-year period, the depression of the majority diminished when they reduced or stopped their drinking, a substantial minority remained depressed. Implications of these findings for treatment are discussed.
Biographical research and the study of mutual-aid networks provide invaluable data to document the historical contributions of black women to American social welfare. The achievements of these black women role models can be an inspiration to contemporary social workers. The caregiving and community social welfare activities of one such woman, Fredericka Douglass Sprague Perry, are discussed in this article.
This article informs social workers about sexual violence against American Indian and Alaskan Native (AI/AN) women and the policy reforms in the 2010 Tribal Law and Order Act (TLOA). It describes the unmet needs of AI/AN survivors, reviews the TLOA reforms on sexual assault in relation to social work and public health principles, discusses the complementary roles for social workers and public health practitioners in reform efforts, and offers guidance for professional participation that emphasizes tribal sovereignty, indigenous capacity, and cultural competence.
The author's qualitative study of 18 rural low-status women highlighted three aspects of social process that contribute to an understanding of the women's construction of self. These aspects are the women's (1) expectations of their performance of their roles in their families, (2) behavioral expectations for interpersonal relationships outside their families, and (3) presentation of self through their positive characteristics and accomplishments. Knowledge of the perceived social reality of specific groups of clients, such as these women, is important for social work practice and education at all levels.
Gender inequality is magnified in situations ofwar, andwomen are disproportionately disadvantaged in terms of personal safety, access to resources, and human rights. This article summarizes the effects of armed conflict on women and women's greater vulnerability to health and mental health concerns because in war, women's bodies become a battleground. UN Security Council Resolution 1325 is introduced as an international framework to address women's participation in solutions to war, reconstruction, and nation building. The article also indicates ways in which socialworkers can be part of implementing this resolution to defend the human rights of women.
This article reports the findings of in-depth interviews with 50 South Asian newcomer women in Toronto regarding the role of social capital in obtaining employment. Two kinds of social capital emerged from the data: preexisting social capital and self-created social capital. Preexisting informal and formal social capital facilitated the newcomers’ settlement by providing information, orientation, resources, or actual employment. Self-created social capital offered opportunities for the newcomers to find more appropriate jobs that were in line with their areas of expertise.
Violence against women is a pervasive and widespread problem, but the understanding of how to prepare social workers best for working with survivors is inadequate. One area of focus is professional efficacy, which stems from the literature on self-efficacy. This article focuses on the confidence and comfort that social work students have in working with survivors of domestic violence and sexual assault and identifies the factors that affect professional efficacy among these students. The results indicate that age, professional experience, master of social work education, and training have a positive impact on professional efficacy.
American society has typically associated motherhood with biology. Assisted reproductive technologies (ART's) challenge this view by fragmenting motherhood into the social, the genetic, and the gestational. To ascertain the extent to which such a challenge has actually succeeded in changing societal understandings of motherhood, this study explored court cases involving four types of ART's. The findings suggest that although these ART's have the potential to re-create societal conceptions of motherhood, such a change has yet to occur in toto. Rather, certain aspects of biological motherhood continue to be seen as more permanent than social motherhood.
This article explores public attitudes toward work requirements for welfare mothers in one rural state— Wyoming—on the basis of a public opinion survey conducted in fall 1986. It investigates whether women who receive welfare should work, whether the age of children should be considered in determining who should work, what kinds of jobs women should be required to take, and whether the government should support poor mothers' pursuit of a college education. The article discusses results in terms of three values in rural culture: work, family, and education.
The state of New Jersey has recommended the widespread adoption of bystander intervention education as a way to engage communities in the prevention of sexual violence. The study reported here gathered baseline data from a random sample of New Jersey residents about their attitudes as bystanders, gender roles, and sexual violence. The analysis of the data revealed that the women reported less support for rigid gender roles and a greater willingness to become active bystanders than did the men. Age and race were also significant in some of the scales. Implications for the development of programs to prevent sexual violence are discussed.
The facade of idyllic rural life can be misleading, particularly with respect to persons who are representative of diverse groups, including lesbians, gays, bisexuals, and transgendered individuals. This article presents a cross section of practice with a rural, lesbian client who harbored resentment toward family members for the majority of her life. Her anecdotal experiences during a trip to a family member’s funeral resurrected painful memories. However, her encounters deviated from previous meetings with her abusers and induced newfound strength and self-esteem. Conjoint sessions with her mother increased understanding and bonds.
The study presented here explored the experiences of a Korean childless woman through self-reflection. The autoethnographic narrative describes the social encounters of the childless woman and how she constructs and presents her childlessness to others. It reveals her divided self experiencing ambivalence and inner conflict between her authentic self and her regard for cultural values. It shows her efforts to achieve the integration of the self and her struggle for destigmatization. The article focuses on a woman’s freedom of choice and highlights the need to empower childless women in a pronatalist society. Implications for social work professionals are discussed.
Through a study of the narratives and practices in a gender-balanced social worksite, this article identifies institutionalized gender normalization processes. In the tales, the social workers told of their work, they reiterated the value of a gender-balanced workforce, together with the ideal of a gender-neutral profession. This view made it hard for the workers to see the ways in which the gender order they were involved in reproduces a gendered hierarchy in which male social workers are accorded greater value and an increased space of action, while female social workers and femininity are characterized by shortcomings when compared to men.
Mary Church Terrell and Ida B. Wells-Barnett were outstanding black women reformers of the late nineteenth and early twentieth centuries. This article describes their contributions to the fight for human rights by reframing data from secondary sources and analyzing some of the women's original works.
More than two thirds of the female inmates of prisons in the United States are recidivists. This article presents recommendations for rein tegrating female inmates into the community on the basis of the findings of a 1993 study of female offenders in the Oklahoma correc tional system. The implementation of these recommendations is dis cussed in the context of five dimensions of an empowerment social work practice model.
In the 1970s, wife abuse became a concern of sociologists, feminists, and family theorists. The new perspectives they brought to the problem, which focused more on social factors than on individual pathology, challenged social workers to examine how their practice and assumptions perpetuated the problem. This article investigates how the social work literature has been affected by new theories of domestic violence and analyzes the impact that these theories have had on practice with battered women. Peer Reviewed http://deepblue.lib.umich.edu/bitstream/2027.42/67024/2/10.1177_088610998700200205.pdf
Four Native American women livingin the majority culture were interviewed in a qualitative study, usingsnowball sampling, to explore their experiences concerningthe meaningof being Native and of being Native women. A constant comparative qualitative analysis revealed four themes reflectingthe women's experiences: “otherness”: conflictingdominant and Native cultural messages; Native traditions as strengths, particularly as taught by female elders early in life; and the formation of positive gender and ethnic identities.
This article critically reviews the literature on racism (White and internalized Black) in the heterosexual relationships of Black women. In addition,it assesses the relevance of this literature to Canadian Black women,identifies the research gaps on the subject,and maps out an empirical agenda for research on Black Canadian heterosexual relationships,pr emised on an integrated feminist,antiracist,and classbased analytical perspective.
Despite the gains that women have made because of the women's liberation movement, black women have not embraced the move ment. This article reports on a pilot study of 94 black women and white women that examined the tensions between these two groups and their failure to unite to combat the oppressive patriarchal system. The variables that were studied included the women's liberation movement, the feud over black men, white women supervisors and black women workers, and the labeling of black women as matriarchs.