Gendered policy analysis: The case of Lillian Wald and the Henry Street Settlement
Tuesday, November 5, 2013
: 3:10 p.m. - 3:30 p.m.
Background and Issues Historical assumptions about women's place in society defined her public presence as that of professional care-giver nurturing those in society who were unable to care for themselves The altruistic founders, administrators, and staff of the precursors to the modern non-profit organization (NPO), assumed the role of "moral mothers" to act as the conscience of society. Because of this clustering in one organizational form with limited power, women were underrepresented in the pluralistic process of policy-making. Description of the project A historical case study using a gendered analysis documents how Lillian Wald, the founder of the Henry Street settlement, in her socially defined role as nurturer was able to shape domestic social policy. To balance powerful constituencies- economic benefactors, the newly established medical profession and voluntary hospitals and maintain organizational legitimacy-Wald adopted a variety of passive and active strategic responses. Lessons Learned The Henry Street Settlement under the leadership of Lillian Wald faced significant discrepancies between the social policy environment and the organizational mission and goals of the Henry Street Settlement. When strategy warranted, this female organization and its leadership adopted a defiant posture by dismissing, challenging and attacking practices. As a result they influenced social change related to unregulated work hours, low wages for women and child labor. Recommendations Gender is embedded in social values and mixes with moral ideologies underpinning state policy development. Therefore, its addition to the process of policy analysis is essential particularly for predominantly female professions like nursing.
Public health or related nursing
Describe the strategies employed by Lillian Wald and Henry Street Settlement to influence social policy decisions
Analyze how the consideration of gender influenced choice of strategy and outcome.
Keyword(s): History, Public Health Nursing
Presenting author's disclosure statement:
Qualified on the content I am responsible for because: I wrote the dissertation from which this presentation is taken as a requirement for my PhD at Yale University. I am currently an Associate Professor in a school of nursing in which I teach courses in community health nursing at the undergraduate level and policy analysis a the graduate level. I have been a licensed practicing nurse for 40 years.
Any relevant financial relationships? No
I agree to comply with the American Public Health Association Conflict of Interest and Commercial Support Guidelines,
and to disclose to the participants any off-label or experimental uses of a commercial product or service discussed
in my presentation.