Excerpted from breaking the silence. vol.1, no.1 (Spring 1982) – “Introducing the first issue…”
“Breaking the Silence is a project of the Feminist Caucus of the Carleton School of Social Work. The newsletter has twin aims: to raise the level of women’s awareness of social welfare issues, and to promote and strengthen a feminist perspective among those working in the field of social welfare.
We feel strongly that there is much work to be done to advance the cause of women throughout the social welfare system and social policy in general. We hope that this newsletter will provide information that will be of help to those working both within and outside the system.
At present, women constitute the vast majority of users of social services. Women also outnumber men as providers of direct services. In spite of this, the social service delivery system and the design of social programs and research often operate to the detriment of women. Not only do they fail to respond to women’s real and immediate needs and redress the existing disparities between women and men but they often succeed only in exacerbating already intolerable situations.
Social welfare issues cannot be considered in isolation. They reflect the inequality that pervades all aspects of women’s lives and are intimately connected to the structures and institutions that shape women’s reality. These include the legal system, the family, marriage and motherhood, paid work, etc. Consequently, work for change must proceed simultaneously on all fronts. And we must all work together.
The Feminist Caucus is aware that there are many women, individually and in groups, working actively in many settings in the community to alter sexist policies, programs, and services.
Publishing this newsletter will be a first step towards:
- finding support for those feminists working in isolation in agencies or bureaucracies
- establishing links between workers in different settings, with different job functions and interests but common goals
- providing more useful information about resources, feminist research, policy developments, events, and actions
- developing feminist analyses and strategies around key social issues of concern to women”