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Author Carlton, Nancy Bender
Title Women in poverty: An investigation of the prevalent factors that hinder and enhance the life career development process
book jacket
Descript 297 p
Note Source: Dissertation Abstracts International, Volume: 63-03, Section: A, page: 0868
Core Adviser: Barry Heermann
Thesis (Ph.D.)--The Union Institute, 2001
The 20th century's technological revolution has dramatically reshaped the socio-economic system of America. A country once boasting the largest middle class is now described as an "hour glass" society, depicting the growing disparity between the "haves" and "have nots." Concurrent with this trend is the "feminization" of poverty, as the major poverty group is families headed by women. In 1993, nearly 30 million Americans were poor, with women and children comprising 77.4 percent. Race continues to be a confounding variable that predisposes women toward poverty
Despite women's continuing vulnerability for sustaining economic stability, women in poverty is one of the most neglected groups in the career counseling and development literature. To address this gap, a qualitative phenomenological study was conducted with six women in poverty from diverse ethnic backgrounds who made significant strides toward economic self-sufficiency. The goal was to investigate salient factors that hindered and enhanced their "life career development" process, which was defined from a holistic, developmental, and dynamic systems perspective to provide a framework for examining multiple inner dimensions (intellectual, emotional, spiritual, and career development), and outer environments (school, family, community) over the lifespan. Depth interviewing and the use of "story" were the primary methods for gathering data
The data analysis revealed the following inhibitors: broken relationships and trust with childhood primary caregivers; lack of effective role-models; oppressive conditions, attitudes, and practices relating to gender, race, and class statuses; a system of negative self-concepts; symptoms associated with Post-Traumatic Stress Disorder (PTSD); a pattern of self-defeating behaviors; and low levels of career self-reliance and interdependence. Enhancers included: encouraging and sustaining relationships that served as a healing force; faith in a higher power; a developing system of positive self-concepts; organized structures of opportunities for new learning, and consistent work experience
The study concluded: (1) the life career development process of women in poverty is negatively affected by the social constructions of gender, race, and class; (2) they are inherently relational beings, and when nurturing relationships are denied, they fail to develop the skills essential for career self-reliance and interdependence; and (3) they possess the capacity for self-transformation. The counseling profession is encouraged to learn more about the needs of this growing population in America
School code: 1033
Host Item Dissertation Abstracts International 63-03A
Subject Education, Guidance and Counseling
Education, Vocational
Sociology, Ethnic and Racial Studies
Women's Studies
Sociology, Public and Social Welfare
Alt Author The Union Institute
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