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Online Reference Resources.


This online resource ( from the National Resource Center on Domestic Violence is a library of thousands of resources focused on gender-based violence and related issues. Its goal is "[t]o accelerate social change through an accessible digital library of tools that expands capacity and advance efforts to end gender-based violence and intersecting issues" (

VAWnet was completely upgraded in October 2016, after a multiyear study, undertaken by violence and counseling experts as well as website design and information science professionals, examined patterns of usage and recommended changes to better deliver the information that users were most often looking for. The latest interface is intuitive and user-friendly, with a mobile-first design and many advanced search features. Users can opt to browse by broad topics, which currently include "Engagement and Collaboration," "Intervention and Prevention," "Management and Sustainability," "Policy and Systems Advocacy," and "Research and Statistics." Also offered, under the heading "Special Collections," are curated lists of resources on "Immigrant Women and Domestic Violence," "Serving Trans and Non-Binary Survivors of Domestic and Sexual Violence," "Safety and Privacy in a Digital World," and many more topics. These collections span the last several years and include the dates of their last updates.

The ability to create an account is a useful feature that allows the user to save resources of interest. As with article databases, a keyword search generates a list of relevant resource titles that can be selected to open full records. A full record includes the resource's title, publication date, publisher(s), author(s), an abstract, associated links, and categories. The names of authors and publishers are linked, allowing users to quickly see what other resources are affiliated with that author or publisher. Individual records and lists of saved resources can also be shared easily on social media.

VAWnet also shares news and events such as webinars, training opportunities, and conferences.

Overall, this is an exceptional resource library, straightforward and packed with information for activists, educators, researchers, survivors, counselors, and human services professionals. Faculty and students will find it useful for coursework. Both public and academic librarians should have this resource on their radar and include it in their research guides or bibliographies. Even better, catalog it so patrons can easily find it among other violence-related resources.

Status of Women in the U.S.

This project ( of the Institute for Women's Policy Research (IWPR) produces reports of comprehensive information about women. The goal is to provide data to policy makers, advocates, and other leaders to support improvement in women's status across the board: in health and well-being, government, education, employment, and more.

The site allows the user to explore the status of women in the U.S. by state, by topic, and by population group; it also examines current trends on a national level.

The home page consists of a map of the U.S., with every state color-coded to indicate its rank according to factors including political participation, poverty, reproductive rights, health, employment, and family. Letter grades are assigned to every factor and combined to make up the state's overall grade and ranking in the U.S. Each factor is also broken down to show the data that led to the grade. Fact sheets are available for every state.

One can investigate data and trends related to women in the U.S. by topic as well. Among the topics included are violence and safety, poverty and opportunity, reproductive rights, and work and family. Within each topic, data can be viewed by state. The website includes helpful charts, maps, and graphs that are perfect for visual learners and for sharing.

In addition to state information, the IWPR offers "Spotlights" on various population groups, such as older women, women in unions, millennial women, immigrant women, and women in same-sex households; these resources include reports, data, and fact sheets on these groups.

The site also includes an overview of the country as a whole, national trends, and a list of the best and worst states for women. This last list was created in 2015, but many of the data and fact sheets are being updated for 2018. Data can easily be downloaded and reports shared on social media.

The IWPR links to other reports of interest on this site. In 2016, the "Status of Women in the South" report was published; in 2017, there was a report on the status of Black women. One recent report focused on the economic status of women in the U.S.

The Status of Women in the U.S. site offers users a wealth of information for beginning and advanced researchers alike. It may be of particular interest to university libraries that have programs focused on public policy, women's studies, and health.


[Karla J. Strand is the gender and women's studies librarian for the University of Wisconsin System.]
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Author:Strand, Karla J.
Publication:Resources for Gender and Women's Studies: A Feminist Review
Date:Jun 22, 2018
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