Part inspirational, part self-help, and part directory, this work contains sepia-and-white photographs, essays, poetry, interviews, quotations, and statistics. The compilers have experience in editing reference works: for example, Brennan edited the Women's Information Directory.
The work is organized in 15 chapters, among them "Aging," "Arts," "Sexuality," "Spirituality," "Violence against Women," and "Work." The volume concludes with a selected list of booksellers drawn from Feminist Bookstore News, arranged by state and city, and an index that covers all the directory listings and authors and titles of the articles, essays, and poems.
In each chapter, organizations, publications, videos, electronic media, libraries, museums, colleges, women's centers, government agencies, programs, and consultants are listed in one alphabet. Some examples include WISENET, an electronic bulletin board; Women: Partners in Development, a database on CD-ROM; Sources: An Annotated Bibliography of Women's Issues; Ready, Willing, and Able, videotapes on juggling family and work; and the National Center for Lesbian Rights. Most directory entries include a mailing address, telephone number, and contact person. Internet addresses and fax numbers are also noted in some listings. Most entries have an annotation, sometimes lengthy, such as the one for Women's Action for New Directions, which is almost one-third page in length. The compilers elected not to duplicate information between chapters, although a topic such as menopause would fit in both "Aging" and "Health."
Along with the directories are excerpts from relevant articles in publications such as the Economist, Utne Reader, Gerontologist, Women's Sports and Fitness, and Education Digest. Poems, interviews, and quotations are found on almost every page. Writings vary from Adrienne Rich's commencement address at Smith College to Marion Zimmer Bradley's "Oath of the Free Amazons." These excerpts do not have full bibliographic citations, which is a weakness. For example, a number of the pieces in "Sports and Recreation" come from CQ Researcher, but the date and issue are not included. By looking in the credits section one can find three issues that were quoted and use a process of elimination to find the correct one. In some cases the credits do give titles of the works; if this had been done consistently, the credits could be used as a bibliography.
This work fills a unique niche. The directory information is similar to that in the much larger Encyclopedia of Women's Associations Worldwide [RBB F 1 94]). But, more than a directory, this work helps women with sexual harassment, divorce, grief, relationships, and other issues by providing encouragement, resources, and insight through fictional and nonfictional writings. It is a useful and reasonably priced addition to any library and a must purchase for public libraries.