Document Type


Publication Date


Publication Title

Journal of Community Practice





Publisher Name

Taylor & Francis Group

Publisher Location

London UK


The practice of professional community organizing aims to create a more equitable, inclusive society. However, power-based community organizing in the Alinsky tradition has historically been criticized for being unwelcoming to women, especially those who are caregivers at home. To better understand the paradox of working for social justice within an occupational context where one is not fully welcome, this exploratory interview-based study used an Interpretive Phenomenological Analysis to explore how women organizers understand, experience, and navigate gendered features of new public management within power-based community organizations in Chicago. Our findings indicate that women community organizers experience significant tensions due to professional demands and a culture of overwork that is incompatible with caregiving responsibilities. Nonetheless, practices of building authentic relationships, engaging in trauma-informed practices, and taking time for rest and reflection–practices that are not always consistent with neoliberal pressures to “produce” – brought them hope and meaning. Though organizing can be plagued by a sense of urgency, slowing down can be a political act of inclusion.


Author Posting. © 2023, Taylor and Francis Publishers. It is posted here by permission of Taylor and Francis Publishers for personal use, not for redistribution. The definitive version was published in Journal of Community Practice, 2023.

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Creative Commons Attribution-Noncommercial-No Derivative Works 3.0 License
This work is licensed under a Creative Commons Attribution-Noncommercial-No Derivative Works 3.0 License.

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