Response to Liesl Haas' review of The Women's Movement Inside and Outside the State

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First, I want to thank Liesl Haas for her thoughtful and generous review of The Womens Movement Inside and Outside the State. She raises two set of questions which I would like to address here. First, she asks whether a better sample of insider activists would have been found by choosing key pieces of policy and identifying the major players as she does in her own book. While every sampling strategy represents a trade-off when no clear sampling frame exists, such a method seems to me fraught with a number of dangers, including a selection bias towards visible and successful cases (which might lead us to examine only insider feminist successes and exclude those who were influential but less visible) and predefinition by the investigator of what constitutes a feminist policy. I believe one of the strengths of my study was the finding that insider feminists influenced policies ordinarily not identified as feminist–such as foreign aid legislation or scientific research in the NIH. Haas argues a change in sampling method might have increased the number of younger feminists (who were underrepresented in the sample) but their underrepresentation results largely from a focus on activists in higher positions in the bureaucracy, the tendency of fewer feminists to enter the bureaucracy under post-Reagan republican administrations, and my conscious decision to focus on the period before 2001 when interviewing so that I did not ask questions about the current administration.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Pages (from-to)887
Number of pages1
JournalPerspectives on Politics
Issue number4
StatePublished - 2011

All Science Journal Classification (ASJC) codes

  • Political Science and International Relations


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