Public Faces of Grassroots Women’s Organizations: Recruitment Strategies, Public Actions and Use of the Media
Organizations, like individuals, are subject to the rules of the society within which they operate — both the explicit written rules of the law, and the implicit often unspoken rules of culture, convention and history — and these inevitably affect their work and structures. The primary reasons given by their founders and members for creating or joining the 11 grassroots women’s organizations studied here were most frequently related to combating the effects of social upheaval and crisis. These aims were often presented in a relatively minimalist, palliative and non-confrontational manner. However, by focusing on the negative effects for women of post-Soviet social change these organizations necessarily placed themselves in a critical and potentially opposing position vis-à-vis their social context. Moreover, in seeking to help and support their members through the traumas of transition these organizations’ activities might, unintentionally, even imply a challenge to accepted notions of the appropriate position of women or a specific group of women in society. Indeed, in Russian society of the early 1990s the very existence and, especially, the activism of grassroots women’s organizations presented a challenge to some of the most reactionary aspects of the gender climate in relation to women and appropriate female roles and behaviour.
KeywordsRecruitment Strategy Public Action Russian Society Grassroots Organization Public Profile
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