Scholars have argued that gender consciousness may be the important link between gender identity and the expression of political interests. Ultimately, however, these studies explain feminist political behavior and leave the impression that only feminist women articulate a “woman's perspective” on policy issues. In this article I demonstrate the coherence between gender identity and policy preferences for two national conservative women's organizations, the Concerned Women for America and the Independent Women's Forum. I show that conservative women are also gender conscious public-policy advocates. Using data gathered from organizational literature, participant observation, and in-depth interviews with organizational leaders, I show how conservative women have collectively organized as women and framed their policy goals in terms of women's interests. As such, I demonstrate a clear and profound link between gender identity and politicization among conservative women activists, suggesting the need to reconsider how we understand and define gender consciousness and women's policy activism.
Sex Roles – Springer Journals
Published: Oct 13, 2004
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