Major foundations will finance a new, annual comprehensive report on the status of U.S. women which will be compiled by the Washington-based Women's Research and Education Institute and published by the W. W. Norton Co. The institute is the nonpartisan research arm of the bipartisan Congressional Caucus for Women's Issues.
The Ford Foundation has paid for the first two editions of "The American Woman: A Report in Depth 1987," which is due in March. More money for the book has come from the AT&T Foundation, Chevron U.S.A., Sears, Roebuck and Co. and RJR Nabisco Inc.
Annual Report on Women's Status
Initially, "the Ford Foundation approached us," said Sara Rix, a sociologist and editor of the book. The foundation was looking for an organization interested in writing a proposal for funds to produce an annual report on women that would be something like "The State of Black America," which is released each January to coincide with the President's State of the Union address.
The institute decided to do the project, spent about a year writing the proposal and received the grant. The book is an attempt to pull together all of the information about women that would be useful to policy-makers, the media and others interested in women's issues, Rix said.
The first edition contains a broad overview of such issues as family life and women in the economy. Articles include an examination of 20th-Century developments that lie behind the prospects and problems faced by women today (by historian Sara Evans of the University of Minnesota); how women fit in today's economy by economist Nancy Barrett of the American University; the contemporary family by Andrew Cherlin of Johns Hopkins University; and women's political influence by political scientist Marian Palley of the University of Delaware.
In addition, there is an extensive statistical appendix and what Rix calls "snapshots"--short chapters on particular groups. Among those in the first edition are women in the military, theater, broadcasting and business. Future editions will cover other groups.
'We Want to Be Responsive'
"This year we didn't do farm women--someone suggested we should," said Rix. "We want to be responsive to people who suggest something was left out."
Also, the broad overview having been done in the first edition, future editions will be more specific and cover more limited topics in depth, she said. For example, the first book gives an overall picture of working women. The next might focus in its section on dual-career couples.
The book will be available in bookstores. Rix said that the paperback edition will sell for $6.95, and the hard-cover version will be $15.95. "What we hope is that it will become self-supporting," she said. "We hope to build up a reservoir of funds (through sales profits) to finance future publications."