Exploring Social Work Students’ Attitudes to Feminism: Opening up Conversations

Viviene Cree, J.S. Dean

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review


This paper reports on findings from a 2013 study of UK social work students’ attitudes towards feminism and the perceived relevance of feminist theory to social work practice. Building on an earlier, single-university exploration of students’ views, the study made use of social media (Twitter) to access opinions of students from seven universities across the UK using an online survey tool. Whilst it is not possible to make generalising claims based on ‘opt in’ research of this nature, the findings are nevertheless suggestive of some important issues for those working with social work students today. Principally, they showed that understandings of feminism in the student cohort were diverse and may be very different to the feminism that an older generation of academic and fieldwork educators may have grown up with. The article argues that it is important, in the light of this, to interrogate what we mean by feminism in our work with students. This will then allow us to open up wider conversations about power, agency and structure, thus bringing greater criticality and reflexivity to our teaching and learning
Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)903-920
Number of pages17
JournalSocial Work Education
Issue number8
Early online date27 Oct 2015
Publication statusPublished - 2015


  • feminism
  • social work students
  • twitter
  • social media
  • survey


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