In what ways is “social work” a feminist endeavor?

women in social work

According to Marion Kaplan, social work in Jewish society is considered a feminist endeavor in various ways. Jewish traditions and social transformations determined the role of women in charitable and social welfare. Feminist roles in social work also results from the social welfare context. Furthermore, social service activism was practiced by women. This indicates that social work is a way in which women demonstrate their political involvement. Women demonstrated their own political structures through social work. Women also engage in social work due to the complex relationship that exists between the state and the private welfare and the Jewish minority. Being a minority group, women used social welfare as a way of self protection and self help.

Jews formed religious and social organisations whose members were mainly women. Initially, such organisations were mainly charity organisations. However, they later transformed into social welfare organisations for minority groups and women. Women were keen to visit and aid the sick through social welfare organisations.  Women social welfare organisations offered social services and social solidarity to small communities. Women groups maintained neighborliness among women, and enhanced useful cooperation in social welfare. Every woman in most Jewish communities is a member of at least one women group or social organisation. Women practiced the traditional Jewish customs by supporting the sick materially and being committed to friendship and love for the needy members of the society. With the experience in women’s welfare, Jewish women were able to organize a national movement and exclude men.


References list

Kaplan, M. (n.d.). Chapter 7 – Her Sister’s Keeper: Women’s organisations from the Chevra to     Feminism.

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