Session: Mainstreaming Gender in the Grand Challenges for Social Work and Society: Stronger Social Fabric (Society for Social Work and Research 27th Annual Conference - Social Work Science and Complex Problems: Battling Inequities + Building Solutions)

All in-person and virtual presentations are in Mountain Standard Time Zone (MST).

SSWR 2023 Poster Gallery: as a registered in-person and virtual attendee, you have access to the virtual Poster Gallery which includes only the posters that elected to present virtually. The rest of the posters are presented in-person in the Poster/Exhibit Hall located in Phoenix A/B, 3rd floor. The access to the Poster Gallery will be available via the virtual conference platform the week of January 9. You will receive an email with instructions how to access the virtual conference platform.

339 Mainstreaming Gender in the Grand Challenges for Social Work and Society: Stronger Social Fabric

Sunday, January 15, 2023: 11:30 AM-1:00 PM
Maryvale B, 2nd Level (Sheraton Phoenix Downtown)
Cluster: Gender
Jill Messing, MSW, PhD, Arizona State University
Kristy Kelly, Drexel University, Jama Shelton, PhD, City University of New York, Megan Brown, Arizona State University and Bonita Sharma, PhD, University of Texas at San Antonio
The thirteen Grand Challenges for Social Work and Society represent our profession’s effort to identify and focus attention on the most significant problems that society faces. Although the impact of social problems differs across the spectrum of gender identities, the Grand Challenges were imagined and constructed as gender neutral. This construction reveals a challenge for Social Work research, practice, and policy in acknowledging the ways that patriarchy and racism are systematically reproduced through and by the field. To remedy this oversight, the second edition of the Grand Challenges for Social Work and Society (Oxford, 2022) takes a gender mainstreaming approach across all of the Grand Challenges through the development of Gender Mainstreaming inserts within each of the chapters. Gender Mainstreaming was developed out of women’s movement organizing primarily in the global South and feminist activism in the United Nations. As an approach to gender equity, gender mainstreaming asks social workers to use an intersectional feminist analysis to identify inequities and promote mechanisms for social change, regardless of the focus of their particular social problem. In the Grand Challenges for Social Work, gender mainstreaming is approached as a nonbinary and fluid social construct that intersects with multiple marginalized identities that create and enforce social inequities.

This roundtable addresses Gender Mainstreaming in the Grand Challenges focused on building a Stronger Social Fabric. These include the Grand Challenges to: Eradicate Social Isolation, End Homelessness, Create Social Responses to a Changing Environment, and Harness Technology for Social Good. Across each of these Grand Challenges, imagining experiences, policies, and practices as gender neutral perpetuates racist, hetero-patriarchal systems of power and privilege. In this roundtable, the authors of the Gender Mainstreaming inserts in the second edition of Grand Challenges book will discuss the importance of an intersectional feminist analysis to identify inequities and promote mechanisms for social change. Specifically, we cannot End Homelessness without identifying housing as a human right and centering the experiences of transgender and nonbinary people. To end homelessness, systems and structures must be redesigned to dismantle gender binaries and create more inclusive services. Harnessing Technology for the Social Good requires going beyond gender-neutrality to actively incorporate the social work values of human dignity and social justice. To reshape technology for positive human benefit, social work must reckon with past harms, identify inequitable systems, and actively seek to reverse technology that serves to maintain and expand disproportionate power structures. To Create Social Responses to a Changing Environment, social work must develop a transformative, intersectional, and feminist response that recognizes that climate change policies imagined as gender-neutral risk exacerbating environmental exposure for women and marginalized communities. Moving social work research and practice beyond gender-neutrality is central to the transformation of inequitable social and institutional structures. Gender Mainstreaming and the Grand Challenges are both mechanisms for social change that can build upon and support one another to build more equitable social structures and stronger social fabric.

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