chapter  3
9 Pages

Women in groups: the history offeminist empowerment

Women and groups Collectivity, as an integral part of feminist ideology (Bricker-Jenkins et al. 1991; Butler and Wintram 1991; Jordan et al. 1991), has led to a long-standing emphasis on opportunities for women to explore issues together in single-sex groups. Socialized as highly relational beings (Jordan et al. 1991), women have been seen as likely to prefer group contexts over potentially isolating individual interactions, at least for many endeavors and, though it would now be regarded as essentialist and as dichotomizing men and women, this has been regarded in practice as a difference between most women and most men. Chapter 5 of this volume, by Bob Pease, does seem to concur that men do not find it easy in groups to share things about themselves or their gender roles, although it also reveals that some men want to make the effort and that some such groups can succeed. Feminist women, on the other hand, have long recognized and articulated the need to progress from focusing on individual issues to address broader group concerns (Bricker-Jenkins et al. 1991; Saulnier 2000), and there have been extended and extensive efforts to make this happen (Butler and Wintram 1991).