Thinking wishfully, the case for a national women's studies association is very straightforward: Most of us who are committed to the study of women are short on time, energy and money. By organizing ourselves, we could make our work easier and more effective.
Since 1973, when Catharine Stimpson first suggested the formation of a national association, there has been widespread consensus about a few basic functions that such an organization might serve. First, we clearly need a nationwide communications network. Learning administrative tactics through trial and error is expensive. We would benefit from prompt reporting on our strategic failures and successes. Not only might we sometimes avoid repeating each other's mistakes, we might also use up-to-date information about successes elsewhere to strengthen the case for funding similar—or unique—projects of our own. It is ironic that as women fighting to undo institutionalized ignorance about ourselves, we have neglected to learn thoroughly enough about each other's accomplishments.