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Lisa Young, "Women's Movements and Political Parties: A Canadian-American Comparison," Party Politics , 2 (April, 1996), 229-250.

First Paragraph:
Although much is made of the challenge that new social movements presented to established political parties, there are few empirically grounded studies of the strategies movements have adopted vis-a-vis parties. There is, moreover, a dissonance in the growing body of social movement literature, with 'new social movement' theorists arguing that the new movements are ideologically predisposed away from engagement with established parties, and other scholars contending that the movements' orientations toward parties will be determined by the movement leaders' rational responses to the opportunity structure the movement faces. To understand more clearly the nature of the challenge that movements present to parties, it is necessary to gain a clearer understanding of how movements approach party politics and the underlying factors shaping these approaches.

Figures and Tables:
Table 1: Major women's organizations focusing on electoral and partisan politics in the United States.
Figure 1: US Women's PACs (disbursements plus estimated bundled $m).
Table 2: Major women's organizations focusing on electoral and partisan politics in Canada.
Figure 2: US Women's PACs (% of value of disbursements to Democrats).

Last Paragraph:
What can appropriately be drawn from this analysis is a discussion of the implications of movement strategies for political parties. The contradictory impulses of both movements toward established parties mean that neither movement is likely to be absorbed into one or more parties. Movements will struggle to retain their autonomy from parties while periodically engaging with those parties in an effort to change the composition of political elites and the content of public policy. The two movements' different patterns of partisan orientation have implications for the treatment of the policy issues raised by the movement within the party system. The American movement's closer relationship with one party has, arguably, contributed to the polarization of the US party system around gender issues (Freeman, 1987). The Canadian movement's multi-partisan approach (particularly in the 1970s and early 1980s) prevented a similar polarization around 'women's issues' in the Canadian party system (Young, 1996). Further research is required, however, to determine whether these patterns hold when the cross-national and cross-movement comparisons are extended.