Radical women in social work: A historical prespective from North America

Therese Jennissen, Colleen Lundy

Abstract


INTRODUCTION: Many challenges that confront social workers today are similar to problems they have faced over the past century – inequality, poverty, unemployment, militarisation and armed conflict, and the challenges of refugee resettlement, to name a few. It is instructive for contemporary social workers to revisit this history and to determine if there are lessons to inform our current struggles.

METHOD: This paper explores the issues faced and strategies employed by radical, politically active social workers, most of them women. These social workers had visions of social justice and were not afraid to challenge the status quo, often at very high personal costs. The radical social workers were expressly interested in social change that centred on social justice, women’s rights, anti-racism, international peace, and they worked in close alliance and solidarity with other progressive groups.

CONCLUSIONS: This article highlights the work of five radical female social workers. Radical social workers were in the minority but they were extraordinarily active and made important contributions in the face of formidable challenges.


Keywords


radical;women;social work

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References


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DOI: http://dx.doi.org/10.11157/anzswj-vol30iss3id478

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