Friday, September 16, 2005

I Like to Say Zeitgeist

We now return you to your regularly scheduled EGA rant...

Membership in the EGA is falling, and the needlework industry isn’t keeping step with the craft industry—especially knitting. I suspect it’s a problem similar to one faced by the National Women’s Studies Association. A certain group (in that case, radical lesbians) does most of the work, thereby setting the agenda. The agenda serves to keep those not like the organizers out of the group. For a while, the group thrives because it’s new or relevant. Then focuses outside the organization shift and, because the organizers are only interested in their own belly buttons, the organization gets left behind. Substitute “old, retired women” for “radical lesbians” (and don’t think I do not love that image) and I think you can see the EGA’s problem.

One good example is the Philadelphia chapter. Most of their events are scheduled for weekdays. They have, however, moved their board meetings to the evenings in the hopes that “working women” will take on board positions. What is this working women of which you speak? Hello, it’s 2005! I'm not sure that's enough. How do you balance the needs of these "working women" with the retirees and other people who can go to weekday meetings? When things aren’t a problem for you, it’s hard to see that there’s a problem at all.

I do think that the EGA have some awareness that part of the problem is there aren't many new people coming into the organization. As a result, they have done a lot to teach kids to stitch—but I’m not sure their approach is entirely effective. I think introducing kids to stitching will help the needlework industry, overall, grow. The main reason I think it’s ineffective for the EGA is that kids don’t join this type of organization on their own. EGA needs to bring in more dues paying members. Perhaps it’s just impossible for older women to tap in to the zeitgeist of Stitch 'n' Bitch Nation.

No comments: