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Womanshare is a highly successful time-exchange system that has operated in New York since 1991. As with Time Collars, credits cannot be exchanged and members work for each other on an hour-to-hour basis in order to value "the resources of each individual...independantly of the prevailing economy". Membership, which costs $50 a year, is limited to eighty women to foster group cohesion; the result is a long waiting list. "Having just women [is] easier", Jane Wilson, one of the founders, comments. She says that men tend to want to take over and to keep an exact account of trades. The group has a strong social side and potluck meetings are held every month in someone's home. Members are required to attend at least two a year and also to do at least six hours' work for other members each quarter. The wide variety of skills and services available within the group is publisized in a directory that is revised every three months.

2002 Update by Caroline Whyte

Womanshare is still functioning after 11 years. The group has never skipped a monthly meeting in that time. It is now self-managed, ie there are no directors as such, and in general its structure has become less formal. Diana McCourt, one of the founders, says that "it has developed into a community of women who exchange work, and we often ignore the structured exchange system". Membership went up to 100 for a while, but is drifting down now because the organisation isn't taking in new members.

The group has influenced many other organisations and Diana gets phone calls requesting information about it from all over the world. The Womanshare website is at The street address is Womanshare, 680 West End Avenue, New York, NY 10025, tel +1 212 6629746.

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Other 2002 updates for Chapter 3

Short Circuit by Richard Douthwaite: links within this site

Search Contents Foreword Preface Introduction
Chapter 1 Chapter 2 Chapter 3 Chapter 4 Chapter 5 Chapter 6 Chapter 7
Epilogue 2002/3 Updates Links Site Map