Date of Publication


Document Type


Degree Name

Master of Social Work (MSW)


Social Work




Women volunteers in social service



Physical Description

1 online resource (137 p.)


Volunteerism has been the subject of much controversy in the last few years inasmuch as it is so often identified as a women's issue. Many areas, previously considered the rightful domain of women, have come under scrutiny as women question the value of their participation in “feminine activities.” As stereotypes are examined, fictions are explored and facts determined so that these former stereotypes can be reviewed in a new light. Many persons are becoming familiar via the popular media with these stereotyped roles (i.e., woman as “Good Mother”) , and learn that, for example, “good mothering” is not a monolithic behavior, but that a complex set of attitudes and skills enter into the caregiving process. “Good Mother” Is no longer a term that really means anything, except as a stereotype. Just so, women have of late been looking at the stereotype of the volunteer. Who is she? Like the “Good Mother,” expected to attend selflessly to her young while foregoing personal achievement, the woman volunteer has often been pictured in limited ways as either a little old lady pouring coffee for blood donors or perhaps as a bored, well-to-do housewife aspiring to social status, raising funds for charity at a fashion show. Women like these undoubtedly appear in the ranks of volunteers, to be sure, just as there is some truth in all stereotypes. It is the intention of this study to examine the facts behind the myths, however, and to obtain a clearer description of the women who do so much of society’s caretaking work without pay. In doing so, it is important to know who these women volunteers are, what they do as volunteers, and how they feel about themselves as volunteers and about volunteerism in general. In exploring these three areas, this study will concentrate specifically on volunteers in agencies whose goals can be described as “altruistic” or public-service oriented.


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A practicum submitted in partial fulfillment of the requirements for the degree of Master of Social Work.

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