GENDER STEREOTYPES IN THE PROFESSIONAL APPROACH OF SOCIAL WORKERS IN SLOVAKIA, THE CZECH REPUBLIC AND LITHUANIA
Keywords:Gender, Social Worker, Social Work, Social Role, Stereotype
Background and Objectives: Gender stereotypes and the conventionalization of terms like motherhood and fatherhood have, of lately, been a subject of heated debated and have been a dichotomizing theme for the society. A fraction of the population recognizes the allotment of the model role of a mother, as the caregiver and homemaker, and that of a father, as the caretaker and breadwinner, while the other segment of people oppose this allocation of functions and responsibilities. These circumstances, in turn, influence diverse domains of the society’s operations, in addition to social workers whose clientele merely consists of fathers and mothers.
Main Goal: The central purpose of the study is to juxtapose and discern the prevalence of stereotyped gender depictions, representing the ideal role expected and presumped from men and women, within families of social workers in Slovakia, the Czech Republic and Lithuania.
Methods: The primary method used for producing this research was that of pragmatic analysis and detailed evaluation of derivative secondary data which aided in the formulation of conclusions for the study regarding the topic in concern. Investigative results of the three studies, were obtained and refined by charatceristic and subjective approaches – such as interviews and content analysis. The total number of participants were 28 (13 Slovak, 7 Czech, 8 Lithuanian).
Results: The results of the experiment display that social workers are considered to have sexual discriminations, which reflects in their preference for usually choosing to involve women to work with, while confronting family matters, rather than men. However, according to them, this choice only seems natural, functional and habitual as per their practical experience in everyday life. Further revelations included a lack of knowledge, education and awareness on the part of social workers in context of gender equality.
Future Research: Presently, the concept of gender equality in the field of social work has not been adequately studied, and thus, as a matter of fact, the subject offers numerous possibilities and a wide scope for empirical research to be carried out. For future purposes, we suggest examining the issue in one of the advanced, post-industrial or ‘developed’ countries, the public of which does not identify itself with gender stereotypes, much unlike that of the traditional or ‘developing' countries. We believe that the rational and sensible way of reflection of ‘developed’ countries can contribute in the disintegration and breakdown of the deep-rooted stereotypical mindsets of social workers.
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