Bowlby - the “Wise Man of the Western World”


Bowlby's work took on enormous importance in decision making about children's welfare in hospitals and residential care facilities. Social work policy was changed in response to his findings. Children were allowed unlimited visits from their parents when they were in hospital – a complete reversal of previous policy that did not allow any visits from parents. His work gained Bowlby the accolade "Wise man of the Western world" from the World Health Organisation.


It is important when evaluating Bowlby's work to recognise that much good came out of it.


It is interesting to note that his work took on a political dimension as his assertion that women should stay at home to take care of the children came at a convenient time politically. The post war government was trying to get women to go back to their home making roles after taking on men's jobs while the men were away fighting the war!



Bowlby's findings were used unashamedly to persuade the women that they would be doing their children harm if they did not return to their homemaker roles.


The image shows women in the land army in World War II – farm work was almost exclusively done by women. Click on the image or this sentence for more information.