Relationship and Leadership: Sophonisba Breckinridge and Women in Social Work

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16 Scopus citations


This article explores the career of Sophonisba Preston Breckinridge (1866-1948), a pioneering social work educator and a key figure in the professionalization of social work, to suggest how contemporary female social workers may reclaim their historic leadership role in the profession. In particular, it contends that women's relationships were the key to female leadership in the formative decades of the social work profession. It thus suggests that contemporary women social workers may recapture a leadership role by reinvigorating a reform minded and social justice-oriented tradition and reviving a legacy of female mentorship and feminist collaboration.

Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)22-37
Number of pages16
JournalAffilia - Journal of Women and Social Work
Issue number1
StatePublished - Feb 2012


  • social welfare history
  • social work history and philosophy
  • women in social work education and administration


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