October 29, 2004: Headlines: Safety and Security of Volunteers: Psychology: Heroism: Motivation: Red Nova: The Heroism of Women and Men: Peace Corps Volunteers

Peace Corps Online: Peace Corps News: Peace Corps Library: Psychology: January 23, 2005: Index: PCOL Exclusive: Psychology, Pschological Testing, Pschological Warfare : October 29, 2004: Headlines: Safety and Security of Volunteers: Psychology: Heroism: Motivation: Red Nova: The Heroism of Women and Men: Peace Corps Volunteers

By Admin1 (admin) (pool-151-196-181-108.balt.east.verizon.net - on Friday, April 29, 2005 - 11:17 pm: Edit Post

The Heroism of Women and Men: Peace Corps Volunteers

The Heroism of Women and Men: Peace Corps Volunteers

The Heroism of Women and Men: Peace Corps Volunteers

The Heroism of Women and Men

Selwyn W. Becker University of Chicago

Alice H. Eagly Northwestern University

Heroism consists of actions undertaken to help others, despite the possibility that they may result in the helper’s death or injury. The authors examine heroism by women and men in 2 extremely dangerous settings: the emergency situations in which Carnegie medalists rescued others and the holocaust in which some non-Jews risked their lives to rescue Jews. The authors also consider 3 risky but less dangerous prosocial actions: living kidney donations, volunteering for the Peace Corps, and volunteering for Doctors of the World. Although the Carnegie medalists were disproportionately men, the other actions yielded representations of women that were at least equal to and in most cases higher than those of men. These findings have important implications for the psychology of heroism and of gender.


Peace Corps Volunteers

The Peace Corps, established by executive order of President John Kennedy in 1961, places volunteers from the United States in a wide range of countries, with the goals of helping the people of interested countries in meeting their need for trained men and women; helping promote a better understanding of Americans on the part of the peoples served; and helping promote a better understanding of other peoples on the part of Americans. (Peace Corps, 2004a)

This service does not constitute a job in the ordinary sense because tours of duty are time limited and are compensated not by a salary but by a stipend that allows volunteers to live at the same level as the people they serve.

Service as a Peace Corps volunteer may present less danger than the other activities we have reviewed, but this role is not entirely safe. Within the 137 countries that have been served by a total of 170,000 volunteers and trainees are many locations troubled by wars and internal unrest as well as by poverty, famine, and limited access to medical care. Suggestive of nontrivial dangers, a study by the U.S. General Accounting Office (2002) investigated major nonsexual physical assaults against volunteers and reported that the rate had risen from 9 per 1,000 volunteer years in 1991–1993 to 17 per 1,000 volunteer years in 1998–2000. Sexual assaults against female volunteers showed no clear trend over time, with 8 major assaults and 11 minor assaults per 1,000 female volunteer years reported for 2000. These statistics represent only officially reported incidents, and the actual amount of violence against volunteers may be considerably higher ("Attacks on Peace Corps," 2002).

Although deaths have been rare, Peace Corps volunteers have died in service. In the entire history of the Peace Corps, 20 volunteers have been victims of homicide (Peace Corps, 2004c). In addition, deaths have resulted from other causes. For example, the year 1998 included, in addition to four homicides (Peace Corps, 2004c), two disappearances from the Great Barrier Reef with no reappearance (Smith, 1998) and one auto accident in Namibia (Drell, 1998). The year 2001 included, in addition to one homicide (Peace Corps, 2004c), one trampling by an elephant in Tanzania, one car accident in Namibia, and one disappearance in Bolivia with no reappearance (R. Zimmerman, 2001). Political unrest also can produce dangers. For example, in 2001, 311 volunteers were evacuated from Turkmenistan, Uzbekistan, and the Kyrgyz Republic, which are countries bordering Afghanistan, because of the perception that they were endangered (R. Zimmerman, 2001). Volunteers may also contract a variety of serious diseases-for example, parasitic infections such as schistosomiasis ("Schistosomiasis in U.S. Peace Corps," 1993). Malaria is a danger to volunteers in many countries, with some volunteers claiming long-term health damage from side effects of a preventive drug, mefloquine, which they were required to take ("Scores of Peace Corps volunteers," 2002). Although it is not possible to establish defensible base rates against which to evaluate the unfavorable outcomes that some Peace Corps volunteers have suffered, we agree with the Peace Corps’ own warning to potential volunteers that "health, safety, and security risks are an unavoidable part of life and of volunteer service" (Peace Corps, 2003a).

In the early years of the Peace Corps, more men than women served as volunteers, but beginning in the mid- 1980s, the sex ratios shifted toward more women than men (Peace Corps, 1988), perhaps reflecting women’s increasing interest in and access to a wide range of nontraditional social roles. According to J. Bonier of the Peace Corps Planning Policy and Analysis Section (personal communication, March 10, 2001), 9,622 applications were received in 2000, of which 60.0% were from women; 3,889 volunteers and trainees were selected, of whom 62.0% were women. In 2002, 6,678 volunteers and trainees were selected, of whom 61.1% were women (Peace Corps, 2003b); in 2003, 7,533 volunteers and trainees were selected, of whom 59.0% were women (Peace Corps, 2004b). All of these percentages of women exceed the U.S. population baseline of 50.9% female (p  .001).

When this story was posted in November 2004, this was on the front page of PCOL:

Your vote makes a difference Your vote makes a difference
Make a difference on November 2 - Vote. Then take our RPCV exit poll. See how RPCV's are voting and take a look at the RPCV voter demographic. Finally leave a message on why you voted for John Kerry or for George Bush. Previous poll results here.
Kerry reaches out to Returned Volunteers Kerry reaches out to Returned Volunteers
The Kerry campaign wants the RPCV vote. Read our interview with Dave Magnani, Massachusetts State Senator and Founder of "RPCVs for Kerry," and his answers to our questions about Kerry's plan to triple the size of the Peace Corps, should the next PC Director be an RPCV, and Safety and Security issues. Then read the "RPCVs for Kerry" statement of support and statements by Dr. Robert Pastor, Ambassador Parker Borg, and Paul Oostburg Sanz made at the "RPCVs for Kerry" Press Conference.

RPCV Carl Pope says the key to winning this election is not swaying undecided voters, but persuading those already willing to vote for your candidate to actually go to the polls.

Take our poll and tell us what you are doing to support your candidate.

Finally read our wrap-up of the eight RPCVs in Senate and House races around the country and where the candidates are in their races.

Director Gaddi Vasquez:  The PCOL Interview Director Gaddi Vasquez: The PCOL Interview
PCOL sits down for an extended interview with Peace Corps Director Gaddi Vasquez. Read the entire interview from start to finish and we promise you will learn something about the Peace Corps you didn't know before.

Plus the debate continues over Safety and Security.
Schwarzenegger praises PC at Convention Schwarzenegger praises PC at Convention
Governor Schwarzenegger praised the Peace Corps at the Republican National Convention: "We're the America that sends out Peace Corps volunteers to teach village children." Schwarzenegger has previously acknowledged his debt to his father-in-law, Peace Corps Founding Director Sargent Shriver, for teaching him "the joy of public service" and Arnold is encouraging volunteerism by creating California Service Corps and tapping his wife, Maria Shriver, to lead it. Leave your comments and who can come up with the best Current Events Funny?
 Peace Corps: One of the Best Faces of America Peace Corps: One of the Best Faces of America
Teresa Heinz Kerry celebrates the Peace Corps Volunteer as one of the best faces America has ever projected in a speech to the Democratic Convention. The National Review disagreed and said that Heinz's celebration of the PCV was "truly offensive." What's your opinion and can you come up with a Political Funny?

Read the stories and leave your comments.

Some postings on Peace Corps Online are provided to the individual members of this group without permission of the copyright owner for the non-profit purposes of criticism, comment, education, scholarship, and research under the "Fair Use" provisions of U.S. Government copyright laws and they may not be distributed further without permission of the copyright owner. Peace Corps Online does not vouch for the accuracy of the content of the postings, which is the sole responsibility of the copyright holder.

Story Source: Red Nova

This story has been posted in the following forums: : Headlines; Safety and Security of Volunteers; Psychology; Heroism; Motivation



Add a Message

This is a public posting area. Enter your username and password if you have an account. Otherwise, enter your full name as your username and leave the password blank. Your e-mail address is optional.