ERIC Number: ED194417
Record Type: RIE
Publication Date: 1980-Aug
Women as Civic Volunteers in the Working Class Community.
This study investigates how 40 working-class women participate as volunteers in the service, political, and social action arenas of their community--Carondelet, on the South Side of St. Louis. The purpose is to show that working-class women who live in transitional areas are capable of politically addressing the urban problems intruding into their immediate vicinities and acting as neighborhood caretakers through citizen participation. This hypothesis is in direct contradiction to much existing research which has substantiated the stereotypic view of workingmen's wives as exclusively domestic, oriented toward a traditional sex-role, and apathetic to societal events. Since the mid-1960s, three community voluntary associations have been established in Carondelet--the Family Care Center (privately funded service organization), the Patch Community Center (government funded service and social action) and the Carondelet Community Betterment Federation. Women comprise three-fourths of all volunteers in these agencies and are well represented in elected and non-elected positions. Civil collective actions undertaken by these and similar groups in Carondelet have included battles against the high cost of utility bills, pressure on the city administration to construct floodwalls, prevention of the construction of an unwanted trash incinerator near the municipal park, petitions to the police to increase patrolling on neighborhood streets, and mobilization against neighborhood deterioration. Findings from the interviews with female volunteers in Carondelet indicated that the women enjoyed their civic participation, appreciated the competencies they developed as a result of participation, and appreciated purposeful work outside of the home. Additional research is suggested on the general question of women and the city and, in particular, the communal activities of working class women. (Author/DB)
Publication Type: Opinion Papers; Speeches/Meeting Papers
Education Level: N/A
Authoring Institution: N/A
Note: Paper presented at the Annual Meeting of the American Political Science Association (Washington, DC, August 28-31, 1980).