Sean Joudry 1 Sean M. Joudry 0538939 Dr.

Jeffrey Macleod POLS 2202 April 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 groups that do lobby government on the ideas brought forward by the informal women s movement. These groups are connected together under a policy community and connect with others in a policy network of groups who share a common policy focus 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 s movement, I am referring to individuals who support the cause of women s rights and equality. A social movement like the women s movement can be defined as a group of people with a common ideology who try together to achieve certain general goals (Princeton). They are tied to ideologies that seek broad social change on issues , often informally organized (Johnson and Johnson 468). Alas, these social movements lack formal organization which is needed to effectively progress an agenda.

Sean Joudry 2 Paul Pross lists four characteristics that lobby groups must possess, the first of which states: They have a formal structure of organization that gives them continuity. Organization is essential to allow them to determine their objectives and strategies 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 the movement, and take part in rallies, but these sorts of rallies often lack a formal structure. 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 policy changes 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 outside government, who share a common policy focus and help shape policy outcomes over time (Jackson and Jackson 470). This can include lobby groups that focus on a specific topic. A policy community for the women s movement would include different lobby groups that have an interest in that field. They do not necessarily have 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 equal treatment of women. R.E.A.L. has an organized structure that lends itself to effectively lobby for the changes 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 Joudry 3 gives the organization a sense of legitimacy and allows government and media outlets to contact the organization. This can be contrast with the general informality of the general women s movement. Social movements are not part of the formal political process and are intended to be disruptive . These social movements, such as the women s one, helps to bring publicity to the cause, but are not necessarily effective in influencing policy. R.E.A.L has the four prime characteristics of an interest 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 for office. (Johnson and Johnson 468). R.E.A.L. would also be part of a policy network of other organizations that are struggling for equality rights. A policy network is a loose affiliation of groups fighting for a certain cause. For R.E.A.L, this could include groups like those fighting for Aboriginal equality issues. While the two are focusing on two difference audiences, 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 an idea, 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 lobby government 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

Sean Joudry 4 allows them to effectively lobby government for the changes they wish to be made in society. As listed by Paul Pross, one of the most important characteristics of a lobby group is an organized structure (Johnson and Johnson 470). Without one, changes to government policy are difficult to make.

Sean Joudry 5 Works Cited Jackson, Robert J., and Doreen Jackson. Politics in Canada: Culture, Institutions, Behaviour and Public Policy. Toronto: Pearson Prentice Hall, 2009. 468+. Print. "REAL Women of Canada: Contact Us." REAL Women of Canada. Web. 11 Apr. 2010. <>. "Social Movement." WordNet Search. Princeton. Web. 11 Apr. 2010. <>.

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