Gender Studies Paper on Working in Women and Children Shelters

Shelters play integral roles in ensuring the safety of homeless individuals, violence victims and low income earners. Furthermore, people living in overcrowded or congested housing facilities can equally benefit when accommodated in shelters. In this regard, shelters ensure that these individuals are able to gain access to needs such as housing, food, clothing and medication among others. As such, it is important to understand the history behind shelters, sheltering process and its conditions in relation to women and children.

Firstly, the history of women and children sheltering backdates to 1960s and 70s. During this period, shelters responded to services that included; violence, physical injuries, women with their children and the need for medical and social attention. For example, Great Britain established a women’s center in Hounslow for addressing issues related to survivors of domestic cruelty (UN WOMEN, 2012). The subsequent years saw expansion of sheltering services across various nations like the United Kingdom, Australia, United States and Europe. For example, a federation for women was founded in 1974 for the purposes of clarifying women sheltering goals (UN WOMEN, 2012). Furthermore, 1970s to 80s addressed issues such as ethnicity, race and class among others. From 2000 to date, there has been increased advocacy for women and children suffering from abuse. This has been possible through world conferences aimed at improving sheltering services.

Secondly, the process of getting into a shelter entails various steps. Basically, it requires an individual to visit his or her respective state departments concerned with homelessness and sheltering services. For example, New York residents are required to visit the homeless services department. An individual is required to fill an application form the same day he or she requests for it. In this application form, details such as income, family and reasons for homelessness are expected to be filled (MassLegalHelp, n.d). The individual would then wait for approval before being sheltered. This is usually after the concerned department verifies authenticity of provided information. Thirdly, there are also sheltering conditions that need to be fulfilled by sheltered individuals. They include signing a re-housing plan document and following sheltering rules. For example, the re-housing document ensures that an individual seeks for employment in order to relocate into a permanent house. Furthermore, an individual may stay in shelter for six months if his or her income exceeds the set income limit (MassLegalHelp, n.d). As such, the effectiveness of shelters is mainly for two main reasons. Firstly, shelters encourage independent living among women. This is because they advocate for employment and savings during the sheltering process. Secondly, it gives hope to the homeless women and children victims through support.

Some of the positive effects shelters have provided for abused women include counseling, bonding, stress reduction and overall life improvement. Firstly, abused women benefit from counseling services they receive in shelter centers aimed at improving their lives through coping abilities. Secondly, abused women are able to bond while in shelters enabling them to share life experiences. This is further enhanced during group bonding therapies where they receive the necessary emotional support. In addition, they are provided with effective stress reduction strategies due to the close attention they receive in shelters. In essence, abused women in shelters have better life satisfaction based on empowerment and services they get in shelters. On the other hand, religion and discrimination are some negative effects abused women sometimes face in shelters. In relation to religion, some faith oriented shelters may require abused women to convert to a specific religion. This means that worship freedom is limited in such institutions. Discrimination may be concerned with the LGBTs. Such people are usually discriminated making their stay in shelters difficult.

Generally, shelters are important in providing a home for the homeless, abused, low wage earners and those living in congested places. Women empowerment strategies such as employment, therapy and bonding equally help in improving the lives of sheltered women and children. As such, discrimination issues like sex orientation, gender or race should be addressed.



MassLegalHelp. Basic Shelter Rights (Emergency Assistance). Retrieved from

UN WOMEN (2012). The history and origin of women’s sheltering. Retrieved from