Social work with families at social risk promoting gender equality
Mykolas Romeris University, Vilnius, Lithuania
The article is based on the research whose aim is to find out the attitudes of social workers toward gender equality. The qualitative research was carried out in 2014 in order to find out social workers' attitudes to gender equality in families and families at social risk, as well as obstacles and possibilities for implementation of gender equality in families at social risk. Eight social workers working with families at social risk were interviewed using semi-structured interview and content analysis for research data analysis. The research data reveals that gender equality in the family can be reached by mutual agreement, when the division of duties and responsibilities is in accordance with needs and abilities of family members. Good family relations are emphasized as a prerequisite for gender equality. Families at social risk with unbalanced social functioning and relationships are affected by stereotyped thinking about gender roles. As informants point out, this makes gender equality impossible in families at social risk. Social workers reveal that they do not directly relate the gender dimension with social work practice, and as a result it becomes problematic to promote gender equality in families at social risk. The main obstacles for implementation of gender equality are clients' resistance to change, too much responsibilities put on women-mother by social workers and other institutions that deal with social risk families, lack of information on gender equality and tools for promoting gender equality in the family. However, the informants provide solutions for promotion of gender equality in micro, mezzo and macro practice that correspond to the guidelines presented in the documents and strategies on gender equality at national and EU level.
© The Authors, published by EDP Sciences 2016
This is an Open Access article distributed under the terms of the Creative Commons Attribution License 4.0 (http://creativecommons.org/licenses/by/4.0/).