Golden Gate University Law Review


Rosanne Calbo


Section I of this article will discuss how the forces affecting all-male organizations, specifically economic constraints and legal challenges, might affect all-female organizations by using as a case study the Young Women's Christian Association (hereinafter referred to as the YWCA). This section will examine the history of the YWCA as a women's organization and the legal, psychological and sociological issues surrounding the YWCA's female-only membership policy. Section II of this article examines several of the legal challenges to the all-male membership policy of the Jaycees, the Rotary Club, the Boys Club and the Lions Club. Section II will argue that, despite the decisions in the aforementioned cases which forced the all-male organizations to integrate, the YWCA would survive a legal challenge to its single sex membership policy based on the compensatory purpose doctrine which Justice O'Connor outlined in Mississippi University for Women v. Hogan. Section III will present empirical data examining the nature of mixed-sex environments and the interaction of males and females from early childhood development through adulthood. The section will examine Carol Gilligan's research on the differences in moral development in boys and girls and will also examine the beneficial nature of all-female organizations. Section IV will be a synthesis of the previous sections and will conclude that there is a need for women to maintain an organization of their own, where they are permitted to grow and develop in an environment free of traditional male domination. This article maintains that the YWCA provides such an environment by allowing women to explore their leadership potential while mentoring others and also excel while helping other women empower themselves.