Social work is full of strong, capable, intelligent women with a great sense of purpose. Here are just a few of the women we admire from the field.
Medha Patkar is a social reformer who became a politician. Born in Mumbai, Patkar had a keen interest in public service at a very early age.
As the daughter of a trade union leader, Patkar started understanding the problems faced by the underprivileged and felt the need to serve them. Her father took active part in the Indian Independence Movement; her mother was a member of Swadar, an organization formed to assist and support women who are financially underprivileged get educated.
Patkar has an MA in Social Work from Tata Institute of Social Science. She left her position at the faculty as well as her unfinished PhD when she became involved in the tribal and peasant communities in Maharashtra, Madhya Pradesh, and Gujarat.
Patkar is best recognized as the founding member of the famous Narmada Bachao Andolan – a movement to save the rivers and people of Gujarat. As a candidate of Aam Aadmi Party in 2014, she received 8.9 percent of votes; she resigned from Aam Aadmi Party’s primary member on March 28, 2015.
Mother Teresa, as she was commonly known, was a Roman Catholic religious missionary and sister. She was born in Macedonia in 1910, and after living in Yugoslavia for about 30 years, she moved to India and devoted her entire life in social work.
Mother Teresa founded the Missionaries of Charity, a Roman Catholic congregation, which is active in 133 countries. The Missionaries of Charity still run homes and hospices for people with leprosy, tuberculosis and HIV/AIDS; mobile clinics and dispensaries; soup kitchens; orphanages; schools; and children and family counseling programs.
Mother Teresa devoted her life to provide: “wholehearted free service to the poorest of the poor”. She was honored with 1979 Nobel Peace Prize, and was also recognized as a saint by the Catholic Church.
Marie Woolfolk Taylor
Marie Woolfolk Taylor (December 18, 1893 - November 9, 1960) was one of the sixteen founders of Alpha Kappa Alpha Sorority, Incorporated: the first sorority founded by African-American women, ever.
The legacy Woolfolk Taylor created in establishing the sorority has continued to generate social capital for almost 100 years.
Woolfolk Taylor did post-graduate study in the new field of social work, and returned to Atlanta to start her career. She worked as a social worker and probation officer, and chaired numerous civic groups, readily handling financial responsibilities; she was on the board of directors of a range of charities, and considered herself mostly a social worker: but she also worked as an educator at night school.
With her commitment to community service and strong leadership in activities in a segregated city, Woolfolk Taylor demonstrated how sororities could help women “prepare to create spheres of influence, authority and power within institutions that traditionally have allowed African Americans and women little formal authority and real power”.
A graduate of what is now the Columbia School of Social Work, Jeannette Rankin, an advocate of women’s suffrage and a lifelong pacifist, was the first woman elected to the U.S. Congress. Her first act as a congresswoman was to introduce a suffrage amendment on the House floor. The amendment was passed about a year later. She was also the only member of Congress to vote against entering World Wars I and II.
These women are or were doing their thing regardless of their own circumstances, the political situation in their countries, or wherever they chose to go good and effect change. We’d love to support you if you’re headed in the same direction. Let us know how we can help you through our services.
In the middle of difficulty lies opportunity. This is a quote that has always meant so much to me, especially when I was faced with many problems in my life. I have always had a great interest in helping and working with others, as far back as I can remember. Facing my own personal problems at the tender age of six made me insightful beyond my years. My own mother had an alcohol problem and when my parents divorced my father gained custody of my siblings and me. As the eldest child I grew up fast, I helped care for my brother and sisters on a daily basis.
My childhood involved a lot of social workers and court interventions that helped me gain an understanding of how social workers can intervene and help. It helped me develop empathy and sensitivity towards others, essential skills that a social worker requires. My personal problems made me determined to become a social worker and use my own experiences to help others facing similar difficulties.
I am currently in my second year of my Access diploma in Social Sciences. I studied sociology as one of my subjects last year. I really enjoyed this subject and especially enjoyed carrying out my coursework research on family diversity. I also previously studied Health and social care and covered a wide range of topics that relate to social work. I have previously worked at a children’s indoor play centre, a nursing home and home help. I am currently on voluntary placement in a disability centre. This has allowed me to cover a wide range of social services areas and it has given me a taste of each field I will be covering in a Social Work Degree. Working in each of these fields has helped me understand how to show respect and integrity to every individual I work with. I am a non- judgemental person and realise that different people face different problems.
I have researched Social work to a great extent to allow me to fully understand how complex a job within this area will be. I accessed the NISC and read up on practice policies as well as speaking to my auntie who has 20years experience as a social worker. I found that Social work will require honesty, the ability to problem solve, determination as well as a lot of patience and perseverance. These are all qualities I gained through personal and work experience and that make me ideal for this degree. I am committed and work well under pressure, completing my first year in my access diploma while pregnant and returning to my second year four weeks after having my son is one example.
I enjoy spending my spare time with my children, this always helps me relax and unwind after a very stressful day as they always put a smile on my face. I am part of my local Sure Start parent and toddler group that provides brilliant opportunities for individuals in deprived areas. I recently completed the baby massage course with my youngest son and I will be completing a nurture course soon that will provide me with extra skills needed for working with children. I have also completed a course in suicide prevention, an area that has unfortunately torn many families apart. These have all given me experience of what social work entails.
I want to study Social work as I want to use my professional knowledge and skills to help people make the most of their own abilities and empower them to be the best they can be. I want to assist people in solving their own problems as well as empowering them to develop skills so that they can do it themselves. Working in Social Services will allow me to devote my time and skills to help people function to the best of their abilities. Becoming a Social worker would not be just a career to me, it would be a vocation.