Women's Centers: Organizational and Institutional Constraints on Meeting Educational Needs


Joan L. Sweeney

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Conference Proceeding

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This paper (1) reports some of the findings of a national needs survey of campus based women's centers; (2) details some of the common characteristics of campus based women's centers; (3) identifies problematic internal organizational issues; and (4) relates those organizational issues to institutional constraints. In particular, it notes some of the ways in which the potentially advantageous cross-departmental position of such centers is impaired by these dual sources of pressure. What emerges is a picture of women's centers as organizations whose advantageous position is less able to be utilized because of patterns of problematic internal organizational response to their efforts. Findings suggest that the low budgets allocated to these centers, despite perceived support and recognition of the worth of programs, may be correlated with particular issues in dealing with administrators. Over half the centers responding cited differences in values and goals as related to poor working relationships with administrators.


This paper was presented at the Annual Meeting of the American Educational Research Association, Toronto, Ontario, March, 1978.

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