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Women and Weak Ties: Differences by Sex in the Size of Voluntary Organizations

J. Miller McPherson and Lynn Smith-Lovin
American Journal of Sociology
Vol. 87, No. 4 (Jan., 1982), pp. 883-904
Stable URL: http://www.jstor.org/stable/2778782
Page Count: 22
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Since scans are not currently available to screen readers, please contact JSTOR User Support for access. We'll provide a PDF copy for your screen reader.
Women and Weak Ties: Differences by Sex in the Size of Voluntary Organizations
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Abstract

This paper explores some network consequences of dramatic differences between men and women in the typical size of the voluntary organizations they belong to.These size differences are greatest in organizations that are most economically oriented. Furthermore, the differences are remarkably consistent across social categories; men tend to belong to larger organizations when compared with women in similar categories, whether of work status, age, education, or marital status. Men are located in core organizations which are large and related to economic institutions, while women are located in peripheral organizations whichare smaller and more focused on domestic or community affairs. Even though men and women have almost exactly the same number of memberships on the average, thedramatic differences in the sizes and types of their organizations expose men tomany more potential contacts and other resources than women.

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