Revista Estudos Feministas
Print version ISSN 0104-026X
DIEBOLT, Évelyne. A history of social work: the birth and growth of the sanitary and social associative sector in France (1901-2001). Rev. Estud. Fem. [online]. 2005, vol.13, n.2, pp. 305-329. ISSN 0104-026X. http://dx.doi.org/10.1590/S0104-026X2005000200005.
Without civil rights, unable to vote, prevented from joining a labor union and hardly having a voice in political parties, women found in the July 1st, 1901 Law of Freedom of Association a space through which they could obtain citizenship at once. Since the law was promulgated in 1901, they have created innumerous social and sanitary associations, and pioneered the building of a concept of social work. They did all they could to create new jobs, which contributed to the exclusively feminine participation in the sector. Thanks to the progressive opening up of the professions, the feminine population, target of the activities of such associations, managed to enter the field of health and social work. In the 1970's, the sanitary and social sector experienced an unprecedented expansion, maintaining its associative structure. In these associations, women occupy the majority of positions, but they are low-qualified jobs. As the sector becomes increasingly institutionalized, women see their jobs being gradually taken over by men. This associative sector, nowadays, is widely employed by governments to implement social policies and to fight all forms of poverty and emergency situations.
Keywords : feminine associations; citizenship; social work.