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The Impact of Women in Congress$
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Debra L. Dodson

Print publication date: 2006

Print ISBN-13: 9780198296744

Published to Oxford Scholarship Online: May 2006

DOI: 10.1093/0198296746.001.0001

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Women's Health: A Shelter in the Storm

Women's Health: A Shelter in the Storm

(p.180) 8 Women's Health: A Shelter in the Storm
The Impact of Women in Congress

Debra L. Dodson

Oxford University Press

Women’s health did not suffer the same endless litany of political defeats as other policy areas in the Republican-controlled 104th. While the case studies of women’s health research funding, breast cancer screening, and women veterans’ health suggest that women’s presence within the institution is important for ensuring substantive representation of women, they also suggest that other factors play a critical role in giving meaning to women’s presence. These include the political environment of Congress, the ideological perspective of those who hold positional power, and the extra-institutional pressure generated from the gender gap in the mass public, which gives legitimacy to action on behalf of women’s health among male members concerned about the next election.

Keywords:   women’s health, ideology, partisanship, extra-institutional environment, descriptive representation, substantive representation, institutional environment, gender gap, positional power

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