Rolph, Sheena; Walmsley, Jan and Atkinson, Dorothy
'A man's job?' Gender issues and the role of mental welfare officers, 1948-1970.
Oral History, 30(1-2) pp. 28–41.
It is now accepted that community care has a much longer history than has previously been acknowledged. The literature on the history of social work has not,however, explored in any depth the conribution of Mental Welfare Officers to community care. Drawing on the oral history testimony of ex-Mental Welfare Officers, as well as archive material, we therefore set out to examine their role in the community between 1948 and 1970 in East Anglia. Our research found that, though social work in general has traditionally been regarded as providing roles for women, in the field of learning disability and mental health, far more men than women became Mental Welfare Officers in this period. In particular, therefore, we examine the background to gender issues, and explore their implications for both women and men professionals in the context of the development of community care.
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