Women, Personal Identity and Self-esteem
A central concern on the Social Service Needs Of Women courses was with the poor self-image many of the women clients have of themselves. Women were described as lacking in self-esteem, depressed, lacking in confidence and motivation. These are commonly cited problems in working with women (Burden and Gottlieb, 1987; Gottlieb, 1980; Hilberman, 1980; Rieker and Carmen, 1986; Walker, 1983). Surrounded by the problems of bringing up children, caring for adults in poverty within a context of under-resourced support services, women clients can translate this experience into a view of themselves as failures. Women who are too ill, or too physically or mentally handicapped to be able to work, clean and care for men and children may feel guilty, as may those separated because of imprisonment or addiction to drugs or alcohol. They may think of themselves as failures because they cannot or do not care for others. A lack of care provided by others, which may be expressed through physical and sexual abuse in childhood or when an adult can also result in damaged self-esteem and identity.
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