“EVERYTHING ABOUT US IS FEMINIST” The Significance of Ideology in Organizational Change

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This study explores the role feminist ideology played in long-term structural changes in feminist organizations. The vehicle for this exploration was a comparative case study of 14 feminist women's health centers that were started in the 1970s and were still in existence in the early 1990s. Drawing on interviews and site visits, the author describes the early collectivist structures, highlights some of the crises these organizations faced, and describes three structural ideal types that emerged in the 1990s. The analysis suggests three ideological issues that directed structural change: the importance of maintaining a system for the equitable distribution of power, the importance of growth versus autonomy, and the importance of feminism as an organizational outcome or internal process.