The Role of Female Leadership in Social Work Organizations

Dec 14, 2015

socialworkers2Women in the social work profession have historically been prominent in establishing the practice.

Between formal social work policy issues such as, Gender-Based Violence and the Health of Adolescent Girls, pay equity, and global women’s issues, the National Association of Social Workers (NASW) has continued to represent and advocate for women’s empowerment in the social work profession.

The field of social work was founded by strong female leaders such as, Jane Addams, Frances Perkins, Dorothy Height, and Jeanette Rankin. Aside from the impressive female trailblazers in women’s social work policy reform female leadership in social work organizations,  for example nonprofit organizations, has declined.

According to NASW’s publication, Social Work Speaks, “Women are still hitting the glass ceiling, which prevents advancement into higher positions within the corporate and nonprofit worlds,” (p. 333).

How can social work organizations improve the number of women in leadership positions?

NASW supports the ongoing and continuation of progressive workplace policies to address:

  • Reducing occupation segregation
  • Empowering and improving the quality of experience of women who are employed in female-majority, low-wage occupations in the domestic, home care, child care, retail, and hospitality sectors
  • Advocating for increased minimum wages for low-wage workers in female-majority professions and increasing workforce protections
  • Recruiting, cultivating, and retaining qualified female candidates for executive and other leadership positions in business and governmental initiatives

As females in social work organizations consider career advancement, they should not be held back from achieving their own success and striving for leadership positions.

Women should continue to be given the same career development resources in social work organizations. Instead of working against our most invaluable assets in social work organizations, women, employers should focus on updating their outdated workplace policies to promote female leadership in social work organizations.

This post was sponsored by the Social Work Career Center. Visit the center to learn to discover social work career opportunities or post a position if you are an employer.

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