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IWPR Publication

Women’s Status and Social Capital Across the States
by Amy Caiazza, Robert D. Putnam, Ph.D. (June 2002)

In 2000, Robert Putnam’s book Bowling Alone called attention to a compelling problem: a decline in levels of social capital, or community connectedness, across the United States. On a variety of indicators of political and civic involvement, including voter participation, involvement as members and leaders in civic groups, religious involvement, philanthropy, and even informal activities such as dinner parties and picnics, Americans have fewer connections with their neighbors than they did in the 1950s and 1960s. This Briefing Paper analyzes the relationships between social capital and indicators of women’s status. Using data on social capital from Bowling Alone and data collected by IWPR for its Status of Women in the States project, the paper assesses trends across the states on both dimensions. Overall, the findings suggest that there is a strong relationship between levels of social capital and women’s status. This, in turn, suggests that women and women’s organizations should be engaged in this important national debate.

#I911, Briefing Paper, 7 pages
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