In contrast to the 1977 Founding Conference, when a much smaller number of participants concentrated, of necessity, on structural and definitional issues, the Lawrence Convention offered 246 sessions on an impressively wide range of topics to over 1,000 participants from most states and several countries. With twelve or more sessions running simultaneously at any time, the program could and did reflect the diverse constituencies within the NWSA.
Sometimes, indeed, it almost seemed that there was too much diversity; those working backstage were chagrined to see how often individual lifestyles and preferences were translated into demands for alterations in practical arrangements which were exceedingly difficult to honor, given our shoestring budget. At other times, and depending upon one's perspective, it seemed that there was not enough diversity. For instance, women representing community programs sometimes regarded academic women as narcissistically lost in their own research and careers. Some Third World women said that they felt undervalued and underrepresented, and insisted that for the Association to eradicate its own racism, they would need to hold power in excess of their numbers. The few men present, not represented by any caucus, were sometimes treated like secondclass citizens, with some women questioning their right to any involvement in the proceedings. Married women, particularly those who brought children, often received condescension or disapproval from their more separatist sisters.