Exploring women’s multiple identities as they negotiate Welfare-to-Work
Kenna, Alexandra C. “Exploring women’s multiple identities as they negotiate Welfare-to-Work ”, Boston College, 2008. http://hdl.handle.net/2345/1352.
This qualitative study explored the experiences of women going through a welfare-to-work program in a northeastern setting. Specifically, the women's identities as mothers, women of color, and women living in poverty were examined. Feminist and critical theory informed the research questions and literature review. Qualitative description and content analysis were used to analyze the data from 10 interviews. The concepts that emerged described the women's experiences going through the program, their identity as mothers and caregivers, the negative psychological experiences and impact of going through the system, feeling labeled and misunderstood, obstacles and barriers to success, forms of resilience and resistance, and their relationship with work. Four major inferences were gleaned from the results: the need to integrate the experience of motherhood/caregiving more explicitly into WTW, the need for more attention to mental health concerns, an alarming level of corruption and corruption within the welfare system itself, and a dialectical struggle between the theoretical and practical experience of work and employment. Implications for practice, policy, and research are discussed.