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.
Sample Social Work Personal Statement
I would like to study Social Work at degree level as it is an area of great interest and personal significance to me. Having gained experience in this sphere and a strong desire to learn more about it, I feel I would be well suited to such a course.
For some time, my aim has been to become a social worker, and I have worked hard returning to education to make it a possibility. I would very much like to work in a field that involves helping and caring for others, a wish that has partly been shaped by a number of events in my life. motivation stems from bringing up a son with dyslexia and learning difficulties. At first the help provided by school was inadequate and led me to undertake research of my own into child development and the various forms of social assistance available. Experiences in life have undoubtedly increased my empathetic qualities, invaluable to becoming a good social worker.
However, my interest in social care is not merely personal. I take an academic curiosity in the theoretical foundations of the discipline, and find my current Access to Higher Education studies extremely rewarding. Psychology is particularly stimulating, whilst I have enjoyed learning about research methods in Sociology and the Victorian Era in History, especially regarding the origins of social welfare. I also like to keep up to date with current issues affecting social work through reading newspapers. With a mind that is open to different opinions, lively debates and discussions are enthusiastically anticipated in university seminars. Specific topics I look forward to studying include child protection, drug dependency and the role of communication in social work.
My experience gained from voluntary social work is considerable. I am currently involved in Parent Partnership – this consists of working alongside parents and carers of children with special educational needs and encouraging partnership with other agencies that support children. It has taught me about the values of cooperation and good organisation, and given me a taste of being in a position of responsibility. Previously, I have also raised money for Cancer Research and volunteered for Meals on Wheels. These activities have led to me coming into contact with numerous people in the social profession and enhanced my knowledge and understanding of social work.
Previous jobs have honed important skills that make me suitable for this course; in particular, my work as a sales manager required perseverance, the use of diplomacy during team quarrels and the ability to work under pressure towards deadlines, all assets I can put to use at university – for example, working towards group presentations – and beyond. The combination of my maturity developed through work, and discipline and determination through studying at NVQ and Access to Higher Education level, would allow me to become a well-rounded student.
I hold a wide range of interests and hobbies. Although one of my preferred past-times is reading novels, I am also a sociable, outgoing person and would like to contribute to university life through involvement in extra-curricular volunteering activities. I aim to actively integrate myself into the student community, and look forward to entering a new environment from which I can learn substantially.
I hope the preceding points illustrate my capabilities. I am aptly motivated and strongly committed to both the subject and the level of study. With a variety of relevant experience, a well-balanced personality and work ethic, and, most importantly, the drive to pursue a career in helping others, I have the potential to be an excellent student of Social Work.
We hope you found this Social Work personal statement valuable.