U.S. Women's Interest Groups: Institutional Profiles

U.S. Women's Interest Groups: Institutional Profiles

U.S. Women's Interest Groups: Institutional Profiles

U.S. Women's Interest Groups: Institutional Profiles

Synopsis

No other reference analyzes the origins, development, programs, publications, and political action of 180 major American organizations concerned with women's issues in such depth. Over 100 experts provide an overview of how national women's groups of all kinds and representing varied and broad segments of society have had an impact on a wide range of public policy issues in Washington in recent years. Students, teachers, professionals in government and non-governmental agencies, and citizen activists will find this handy sourcebook a treasury of authoritative information about how private citizens work to affect national policy and legislation in essential ways.

Excerpt

This volume, focusing on the national women's issues arena, is a reference work on organizations and a sourcebook on group development. The book offers not only accessible information but also systematically gathered data for testing theories of group formation, maintenance and demise, and response to socio- political change. It introduces the possibility, through content analysis, of rigorous comparison with groups in other issue arenas and eventually with women's issues groups from other countries.

Using the four-part questionnaire published in Appendix II, 106 contributors, including the editor, surveyed nearly 200 organizations ranging from the AIDS Coalition to Unleash Power Women's Caucus* to Zonta International.* Only a handful of organizations insisted on exercising rigid control over their profiles. Contributors applied documentary evidence; reviews of existing literature, including group publications; and interviews within and outside an organization to produce objective, balanced entries.

In 1988, before a New Directions in the Study of Interest Groups roundtable discussion at the American Political Science Association annual convention in Washington, D.C., a member of the audience approached me to say he had looked everywhere for women's groups lobbying at the national level and could not find them. Where were they? They are not to be found by relying solely on such generally useful distinctions as group oriented toward a cause versus nonprofit occupational group. They have varying tax statuses, most often, but not exclusively, 501 (c) (3). Women's issues groups also present many types: church-related (thirteen of those profiled), civic (eighty-four profiled), elderly (four), professional/occupational (thirty-one), social (seven), sororital (four), sport (three), union (eight), and youth-serving (three) (McPherson, 1983, p. 525). This book further includes three not-for-profit and for-profit businesses, no vet-

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