from 1990-2002


Compiled by Yulya Nakleushev


for the Women Organizers’ Project


129 East 79th Street

New York, NY 10021New York, NY 10065  


Terry Mizrahi, Project Director, 212.452.7112


Tania Romero, Community Organizing Intern, 212.452.7132


                                    Women and Organizing Reference Guide Introduction 


The following organizing reference guide is a compilation of books, journal
articles, and other published works that focus on women organizing and
activism, feminist organizing, diversity and international issues related to
activism and organizing from the years 1990 to 2002.


 This updated "women and organizing" collection begins where our previous reference guide left off, and spans the last decade, and in particular, the last few years. The reference list was created as a result of the many one-on-one interviews conducted, where numerous Women on the Advance participants in 1989 and other women surveyed in the late 1980’s. They listed the works that influenced them and that they use, or they themselves wrote.


The list also includes the results of an extensive search of contemporary books, journal articles, and other sources that reflect on issues related to women and organizing, activism, and diversity on both a national and international level.


We thank all of the Women on the Advance participants whose time, effort, and materials helped make this reference guide possible.  We hope you will find these resources useful in your work and lives! We are also interested in receiving additional documents, reports and other materials that you think would be valuable to organizers and activists, especially women.

Terry Mizrahi, Project Director (212) 452-7112

Yulya Nakleuslev, Project Staff


This project was made possible with a small grant from the Diversity Fund of CUNY-    

Summer 2002. 



Acker, J. (Summer, 2000). "Revisiting Class: Thinking From Gender, Race, and Organizations." Social Politics 7(2): 192‑214.

            This article explores gender and organizations and their intersections with race and class. The article addresses class by retheorizing feminist thinking, and suggests that gender, class, and race relations are mutually produced in ongoing processes. It discusses "regimes of inequality" and explores inequality within organizations.


Ackelsberg, M. (2001). "Reconceiving Politics? Women's Activism and Democracy in a Time of Retrenchment." Feminist Studies 27(2): 391‑418.

            This article reviews and describes 6 books relevant to women and organizing and activism.


                     Grassroots Warriors: Activist Mothering, Community Work and the War on Poverty

            by Nancy Naples

                     Community Activism and Feminist Politics: Organizing across race, class, and gender.

            Edited by Nancy Naples

                     No Middle Ground: Women and Radical Protest, edited by Kathleen Blee.

                     The Politics of Motherhood: Activist Voices from Left to Right, edited by Alexis Jetter,

            Annelise Orleck and Diana Taylor.

                     Crazy for Democracy: Women in Grassroots Movements by Temma Kaplan.

                     Cultures of Politcs, Politics of Cultures: Re-Visioning Latin American Social Movements,

            edited by Sonia E. Alvarez, Evelivia Dagnino and Arturo Escobar.


Alonso, J. (October, 1997). "Women's Way of Organizing." Women's Review of Books 15(1).

            This article reviews the book "We Can't Eat Prestige: The Women Who Organized Harvard,” by John Hoerr Profile of Kristine Rondeau, a lab assistant and union organizer at Harvard Medical School; Questions women domination.


Brandwein, R. A. (Summer/Fall 1981). "Toward the Feminization of Community and Organization Practice." Social Development 5(2‑3):180‑193.

The history of women's involvement in the origins of community organizing in the U. S. has largely been hidden from view. A revisionist view of that history is presented and the sex‑role models of C. O. practice are defined. New role models are suggested against the context of power and control and emerging notions of "wholistic" practice. The implications for curricular design are then presented.


Briskin, L. (September/October 1999). "Autonomy, Diversity, and Integration: Union Women's Separate Organizing in North America and.Western Europe in the Context of Restructuring and Globalization." Women's Studies International Forum 22(5):543-554.

This article analyzes the significance of educational programs and conferences organized by and for women. Evolution of women's response to male domination and patriarchal cultures; Representation of women and constituency building; Impacts of the changes in social, political, and economic organization on women,


Dawson, R.P. (Fall 1996). “When Women Gather: The NGO Forum of the Fourth World Conference on Women, Beijing, 1995.” International Journal of Politics, Culture, and Society, 10(1):7-27.

                        This article details and reviews the events and discussions that took place at the Fourth World Conference on Women.

East, J.F. (Summer 2000). “Empowerment Through Welfare Rights Organizing: A Feminist Perspective.”

Affilia: Journal of Women and Social Work, 15(2):311-328.

This article describes a community-based welfare reform-welfare rights organizing coalition that is based on a feminist empowerment model of practice. The experiences of women who have participated in the coalition are highlighted, and suggested courses of action for organizing such coalitions are proposed.


Esman, M. (1997). “Organizing for Equality: The Evolution of Women’s Racial-Ethnic Organizations in America-1955-1985.” American Journal of Sociology, 103(1):239-240.

This article briefly describes and reviews the book.


Faver. C.A. Faver, C. A. (Fall/Winter, 1994). "Feminist Ideology and Strategies for Social Change: An Analysis of Social Movements." The Journal of Applied Social Sciences 18(1):123-­134.

The feminist worldview, epistemology, and vision emphasize connectedness, equality, interdependence, and diversity. Based on this foundation, feminist ideology is manifested in women's social activism through consciousness raising, empowerment, holistic spirituality, egalitarian leadership styles, inclusiveness, and integration of life spheres. The analysis of feminist ideology and women's social activism suggests three feminist strategies for social change: first, in defining issues and creating an agenda for action, make explicit connections between the different spheres of life (home, work, and community) and between local organizing efforts and national politics; second, nurture community within women's social networks as the context for motivating, empowering, and sustaining women in their work for social change; finally, build coalitions among groups of women having different primary agendas by confronting directly the racism, elitism, and homophobia that threaten women's solidarity.


Ferguson, K. E. (2001). "Women and Grassroots Organizing." Women and Politics 22 (1): 97‑111.

                This article describes and reviews 5 books on women and organizing and activism.


Grahame, K. M. (1998). "Feminist Organizing and the Politics of Inclusion." Human Studies 21(4): 377‑393.

This paper examines the attempts of one mainstream women's organization to organize and include women of color ..The analysis problematizes the concept of “organizing women of color” and “inclusion/exclusion.”


Gutierrez, L & Lewis, E. (1994). “Community Organizing With Women of Color: A Feminist Approach.”

Journal of Community Practice, 1(2):23-44.

This article considers ways in which community organizing methods can be made more effective for use with groups of women. The deficiencies of feminist theory in analyzing women of color’s lives and experience is addressed. The article suggests organizing methods that simultaneously address race and gender.


Haywoode, T. (1997). "Working‑Class Women and Local Politics: Styles of Community Organizing." Research in Politics and Society 7:111‑134.

This article describes poor and working class women's styles of organizing and activism including the usage of daily social ties and informal bonds in organizing and activism. The article discusses working class feminism.


Hoyman, M. (1989). "Working Women: The Potential of Unionization and Collective Action in the United States." Women's Studies International Forum 12(1): 51‑58.

This article examines instances of working women's direct action historically as well as the prospects of organizing women workers in the future.


Hubbard, A. S. (1996). "The Activist Academic and the Stigma of Community Housework." Sociological Imagination 33(1): 73‑87.

This paper explores the special challenges faced by academics who are also involve din community organizing. For example, activist academics face certain risks when they espouse unpopular ideas, whether popular or not. However, as community organizers they also engage in low‑status, unpaid work which is considered unprofessional by the academic community. This paper draws on feminist critiques of housework and women's volunteering to argue for a deeper understanding of the difficulty of integrating both academic work and activism.


Hyde, C. (September, 1986). "Experiences of Women Activists: Implications fro Community Organizing Theory and Practice." Journal of Sociology and Social Welfare 13(3): 545‑562.

This paper explores the experiences of women activists, primarily in the labor, peace, and feminist movements. A number of salient themes, generated in interviews with and presentations by women activist are identified. Suggestions are made as to how and why these themes should be integrated into community organizing practice.


Lee, B. & Weeks, W. (July, 1991). "Social Action Theory and the Women's Movement: An Analysis of Assumption." Community Development 26(3): 220‑226.

This article explores and challenges the class, poverty and unity assumptions present in community organizing theory and how these are both important to and challenged by Women's Movement organizing. The authors assert that gender as well as the structure of women's lives are important variables that must be included in social analysis. Looks at community organization theory and women's movement organizing.


Martell, D., Avitabile, N.E. (Winter, 1998). "Feminist Community Organizing on a College Campus." Affilia: Journal of Women and Social Work 13(4): 393-410.

                This article illustrates the application and evaluation of feminist community organizing principles by a college women's center during the early to mid 1990's. Purpose of community organizing; Information on Sexual Assault Task Force; Analysis of feminist community organizing techniques.



Prindeville, D.‑M.& Bretting, J.G. (1998). "Indigenous Women Activists and Political Participation: The Case of Environmental Justice." Women and Politics 19(1): 39‑58.

This article examines the political identity, demographics, and experiences of 16 Latina and Native American activists in environmental justice organizations in New Mexico. A model of grassroots activism is developed. Additionally, alternative conceptualizations of feminism and environmentalism are presented from the perspective of indigenous women leaders.


Rose, M. (Winter, 1995). "Women Power Will Stop Those Grapes": Chicano Organizers and Middle‑class Female Supporters in the Farm Workers' Grape Boycott in Philadelphia, 1969‑1970." Journal of Women's History 7(4): 6-36.


Smith, B. E. (December, 1995). "Crossing the Great Divides: Race, Class, and Gender in Southern Women’s Organizing.” Gender and Society, 9(6):680-696.

                This article addresses the question: How can we create coherent, inclusive political movements         when the race, class, and gender oppressions we seek to dismantle divide us internally? The article explores the history of the Southeast Women’s Employment Coalition which sought to unify women across these lines. The author concludes that gender is insufficient to effect political unity and suggests that a ‘politics of solidarity’ based on an appreciation of the intersections of race, class and gender is possible.


Stall, S. & Stoecker, R. (1998). “Community Organizing or Organizing Community? Gender and the Crafts of Empowerment.” Gender and Society, 12(6):729-756.

This article examines and compares 2 methods of community organizing - the Alinsky model and the “women-centered-model.”


Tronto, J. C. (Summer, 1990). "Women's Movements: Organizing for Change." NWSA Journal: A Publication of the National Women's Studies Association 2(3): 492‑495.

 Lists and briefly describes five books on women's movements and activism:

                             Women in the Judicial Process by Beverly B. Cook, Leslie f. Goldstein, Karen O’Connor, and

                Susette M. Talarico

                             Women’s Movements: Organizing for Arange by Joyce Belb and Ethel Klein.

                             Women and Power in American Politics by Hilda K. Hedblow

                             Women, Political Action, and Political Participation by Virginia Sapiro.

                             Women’s Rights, Feminism, and Politics in the United States by Mary Lyndon Shanley.


Whittier, N. (Fall, 1994). "Contemporary Women's Movements." NWSA Journal: A Publication of the National Women's Studies Association 6(3): 475‑483.

Reviews five books related to women's movements and activism

                             Challenging Times: The Women’s Movement in Canada and the United States edited by Constance Baddouse and David H. Flaberty.

                             Inviting Women’s Rebellion: A Political Process Interpretation of the Women’s Movement by Anne N. Costain

                             Moving the Mountain: The Women’s Movement in America since 1960 by Flora Davis.

                             Gender Shock: Practicing Feminism in Two Continents by Hester Eisenstein

                             Feminism and the Women’s Movement: Dynamics of Change in Social Movement Ideology and Activism by Barbara Ryan.




Arunachalam, J. S., R: Meera, S. (1996). "Grassroot Women Organizing: The Working Women's Forum Experience." Development 3.

Looks at the formation and activities of the grassroots Working Women's Forum (WWF) in India. The WWF arose in reaction to charity and patronage approaches to poverty alleviation, fueled by the belief that poor women can and must participate in their own development.


Campfens, H. (1990). "Issues in Organizing Impoverished Women in Latin America." Social Development Issues 13(1): 20‑43.

An investigation of the recent growth in organizing activities among women of the popular sector residing in shanty‑towns across Latin America.


Cunnison, S. (November, 1995). "Trade Unions and Women's Way of Organizing: A Case From..." Journal of Gender Studies 4(3):327-332.

Reports on the methods and forms of trade union organizations developed by women in Northern Ireland. Fight against privatization of public services; Role played by Inez McCormack in devising organizing policy of trade unions.


Dawson, R. P. (Fall, 1996). "When Women Gather: The NGO Forum of the Fourth World Conference on Women, Beijing, 1995." International Journal Of Politics. Culture, and Society 10(1): 7‑27.

This article details and reviews the events and discussions that took place at the Fourth World Conference on Women.


Desai, M. (Spring, 1996). "From Vienna to Beijing: Women's Human Rights Activism and the Human Rights Community." New Political Science 35:107‑119.

The narrowing gap between two factions of the women's human rights movement (WHRM) is examined in reference to the efforts of the international WHRM at the two UN world conferences: the Second World Conference on Human Rights in Vienna, Austria (1993), and the Fourth World Conference on Women in Beijing, China.


Huiskamp, G. (June, 2000). "Identity Politics and Democratic Transitions in Latin America: (Re)Organizing Women's Strategic Interest Through Community Activism." Theory and Society 29(3): 385‑424.

This article draws on revisionist feminist and social movement 'Yransitology" literature to examine the impact on political transformation of popular sector women's movements in contemporary Latin America, particularly among rural women.


Khor (Fall, 1999). "Organizing for Change: Women's Grassroots Activism in Japan." Feminist Studies 25(3): 633-662.

Explores women's activism and women's organizations in Japan. Ideas and orientation underlying such activism: Feminist organizing as constituting one of many sites of feminist practice; Aim of countering literature on the subordination and submissiveness of Japanese women; Contradictions embedded in woman­centered approach; Progressive potential of Japanese feminism.



Moghadam, V. M. (July, 2001). "Organizing Women: The New Women’s Movement in Algeria." Cultural Dynamics 13(2): 131-154.

Examines the women's movement in Algeria in the context of domestic, regional, and global developments. Expansion of feminism in the region; Factors contributing to the emergence of the movement; Link of emergence of Algerian feminist politics with global feminism.


Saptari, R. U., Artien (1997). "Gender Interests and the Struggle of NGO's Within and Beyond the State: The Experience of Women Organizing in Indonesia." Journal fur Entwicklunospolitik 13(3): 319‑339.

Examines the constraints and potentials of nongovernmental organizations and women's groups in Indonesia in advocating for women's interests and needs, in the context of domestic and international politics. Looks at constraints of  NGO's.


Shayne, J. D. (2001). "Unconscious Feminist Consciousness: The Women's Movement in Post‑Insurrection Cuba (1959‑1999)." Southern Sociological Society.

This article discusses the status of women in post‑insurrection Cuba and considers the concept and/or existence of Cuban feminism or feminist consciousness.


Stewart, S. T., Jill (1995). "Women Organizing Women‑'Doing It Backwards and in High Heels'." IDS Bulletin 26(3): 79‑85.

Discusses the formative stages of Zimbabwean nongovernmental organization (NGO), the Musaba Project. The process of arriving at a particular organizational model is examined, with attention to problems experienced in an organization run by and for women, the issue of gendered "dis‑ease" in tech public sphere and how it affects performance, and the impact of increased external funding on the organizational model.


Subramaniam, M. (July, 2001). "Translating Participation in Informal Organizations Into Empowerment: Women in Rural India." Dissertation Abstracts International. A: The Humanities and Social Sciences 62(1): 352-A.

This dissertation research analyzes the degree to which poor women are socially empowered because of group participation.


Trotz, D. A. P., Linda (June, 2001). "Work, Family, and Organizing: An Overview of the Contemporary Economic, Social and Political Roles of Women In Guyana." Social and Economic Studies 50(2): 67‑101.        This article attempts an overview of the contemporary landscape of factors that have affected the formation of Guyanese women's economic, social, and political roles since independence in 1966.







Blee, K. M. (1998). No Middle Ground: Women and Radical Protest. New York, London, New York University Press.

This book brings together a wide variety of studies that produce new insights into women's role in radical and nonmainstream political movements in modem U. S. society.


Minikoff, C.D. (1995). Organizing for Equality: The Evolution of Women’s and Racial-Ethnic Organizations in America. New Brunswick, NJ.: Rutgers University Press.


Naples, N. (1998). Community Activism and Feminist Politics: Organizing Across Race. Class, and Gender. New York and London, Routledge.

               This collection of writings reflects on women's community activism and organizing efforts towards progressive social change. It presents an array of women's activism from the 1960's to the 1990's.


Pope, J. (1986). Organizing Women on Welfare: Planning at the Grassroots Level. Ann Arbor, Columbia University.

This case study examines the successful mobilization activities of urban poor women, for social change and how they struggled to convince the larger society of the legitimacy of their cause.


Robnett, B. (1999). Chapter 5- “Women in the Student Non‑Violent Coordinating Committee: ldeology. Organizational Structure, and Leadership.” In P. Ling,, (Ed.) Gender In the Civil Rights Movement, pp. 131-168.New York, Garland.

Focuses on the Student Non‑Violent Coordinating Committee (SNCC) to argue that ideology shapes organizational structures, which in turn affect the potential for women to become leaders. Looks at issues of women's empowerment, consensus, participatory democracy, etc.


Ryan, B. (1992). Feminism and the Women's Movement: Dynamics of Change in Social Movement Ideology and Activism. New York, Routledge.

               This book draws on participant observation of diverse groups involved in the women's movement, interviews with 44 long‑term activists, and readings of historic and contemporary movement publications to integrate a broad historical view of the US women's movement with an analytical framework drawn from the theory of social movements.