Tuesday, July 17, 2007

CCPS Research Update: How Women Govern

This begins what we hope will be a regular feature on the blog--updating readers on research being conducted by scholars associated with CCPS.

Maryann Barakso, a Research Fellow with CCPS, has a very interesting article out in the most recent edition of Politics & Gender. Barakso looks at the rules that women's interest groups use to govern themselves. Research shows that women tend to desire more consensus-oriented approaches to decision making, so Barakso expected to find that groups formed by women would be more likely to adopt democratic rules that encourage participation from their members. However, she finds no such thing. Rather, women's organizations appear little different from other groups with regard to how they are structured. According to Barakso's analysis, "Contrary to expectations, many women’s organizations are quite undemocratic and this is particularly true of most organizations founded since 1960."

So, who are the most and least democratic organizations according to Barakso? Here are the top 3 and bottom 3 on Barakso's "Internal Democracy Index":

Most Demcocratic Organizations:
Coalition of Labor Union Women
National Organization for Women
International Women's Insolvency & Restructuring Confederation

Least Democratic Organizations:
National Black Women's Health Project
Women in Film and Video
Women in Government

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