The social work regulatory body in England, the General Social Care Council (GSCC), report the predominance of female professionals, where 77 per cent of registered social workers in 2009–10 were female. The disparity is even greater among social work students, with male enrolments declining from 16 per cent in 2006–07 to 13 per cent in 2007–08. The low proportion of male enrolments is of concern to the GSCC, who wish to encourage gender balance in the profession. This paper reports findings from a small-scale qualitative study exploring the perceptions of past and present male undergraduate students at a UK university, in respect of their gender status. Power relations between male students and predominantly female academic staff, practice teachers and practitioners are explored. This study is underpinned by a comprehensive but condensed review of research literature examining the male presence in social work and discourses pertaining to male students, practitioners and, of equal importance, service users.
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