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The Women's Movement and Lobbyists

The Women's Movement and Lobbyists

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Published by Sean Joudry
This essay is an answer to an exam question for a second year political science class entitled "People, Power, and Politics in Canada". The question for the exam was, “Is the women’s movement a lobby group? Are they part of a policy community and/or a policy network? Why or why not?”
This essay is an answer to an exam question for a second year political science class entitled "People, Power, and Politics in Canada". The question for the exam was, “Is the women’s movement a lobby group? Are they part of a policy community and/or a policy network? Why or why not?”

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Published by: Sean Joudry on Jul 22, 2010
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Sean Joudry1
Sean M. Joudry0538939Dr. Jeffrey MacleodPOLS 2202April 14, 2010
Question 1
Is the womens movement a lobby group? Are they part of a policy community and/or a policy network? Why or why not? 
 While the womens movement is not a lobby group in itself, there are formal groupsthat do lobby government on the ideas brought forward by the informal womensmovement. These groups are connected together under a policy community andconnect with others in a policy network of groups
who share a common policyfocus and help shape policy outcomes over time
(Jackson and Jackson 470).The
womens movement 
in itself is not a lobby group. By the womensmovement, I am referring to individuals who support the cause of womens rightsand equality. A
social movement 
like the womens movement can be defined as
agroup of people with a common ideology who try together to achieve certaingeneral goals
(Princeton). They
are tied to ideologies that seek broad social changeon issues
, often informally organized (Johnson and Johnson 468). Alas, these socialmovements lack formal organization which is needed to effectively progress anagenda.
 
Sean Joudry2Paul Pross lists four characteristics that lobby groups must possess, the first of which states:
They have a formal structure of organization that gives themcontinuity. Organization is essential to allow them to determine their objectives andstrategies for action
(Jackson and Jackson 469). The womens movement in itself does not have a formal organization structure. Citizens can claim to be part of themovement, and take part in rallies, but these sorts of rallies often lack a formalstructure. By this I am referring to a president, treasurer, press secretary, and so on.A solid organizational structure allows the movement to focus on specific policychanges they want enacted by government. Although, once these positions are filled,the
movement 
can be considered a
lobby group
.A
 policy community 
is a group of 
actors, whether inside or outsidegovernment, who share a common policy focus and help shape policy outcomes overtime
(Jackson and Jackson 470). This can include lobby groups that focus on aspecific topic. A policy community for the womens movement would includedifferent lobby groups that have an interest in that field. They do not necessarilyhave the same opinions on the topic though. A policy community acts as a sort of directory of lobby groups that are specialists or have an interest in a select topic.This would include groups like
R.E.A.L. Women of Canada
which lobbies for the equaltreatment of women.
R.E.A.L.
has an organized structure that lends itself to effectively lobby for thechanges they wish to be made in society. They have a national head office based out of Canadas capital in Ottawa, as well as an office in Toronto (REAL Women). Not only this, but the group publishes papers and studies, as well as media releases. This
 
Sean Joudry3gives the organization a sense of legitimacy and allows government and mediaoutlets to contact the organization. This can be contrast with the general informalityof the general womens movement. Social movements
are not part of the formalpolitical process and are intended to be disruptive
. These social movements, suchas the womens one, helps to bring publicity to the cause, but are not necessarilyeffective in influencing policy.
R.E.A.L
has the four prime characteristics of aninterest group as listed by Paul Pross which includes:1. Having a formal structure.2. Is able to articulate interests.3. Attempt to make changes in the political system to influence policy.4. They try to influence power rather than obtain it by running foroffice. (Johnson and Johnson 468).
R.E.A.L.
would also be part of a
policy network 
of other organizations that arestruggling for equality rights. A policy network is a loose affiliation of groupsfighting for a certain cause. For
R.E.A.L
, this could include groups like those fightingfor Aboriginal equality issues. While the two are focusing on two differenceaudiences, they do have a little in common which could prove useful to each other if they were to form a coalition to further push their issues.The womens movement is not in itself a lobby group. The movement is anidea, a group of people who feel strongly about a topic and would like to see change.While it lacks structure on its own, there are organizations that act to lobbygovernment to bring change to issues that affect women.
R.E.A.L.
is an example of such an organization that has an organized hierarchy and formal structure that 

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