Thesis

Volunteering as a function of task identification with feminism and lesbianism

To explore the effects of identifying the women’s movement with lesbian rights, 88 California State University, Northridge, women between the ages of 18 and 30 were asked to conduct interviews for a social attitude survey sponsored by an organization identified with either a neutral, feminist, lesbian, or feminist/lesbian cause. When subjects were to be paid, the difference between volunteer rates in the lesbian and nonlesbian conditions was not significant; without payment, volunteer rates were lower in the lesbian conditions, as hypothesized. Whether paid or free interviews were requested, volunteer rates were lower in the feminist/lesbian condition than in the feminist condition. These findings were interpreted as providing some evidence that associating women’s rights with lesbian rights might result in a loss of support for the women’s movement.

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