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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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Introduction: The Best of Times, The Worst of Times

Introduction: The Best of Times, The Worst of Times

Chapter:
Introduction: The Best of Times, The Worst of Times
Source:
The Impact of Women in Congress
Author(s):

Debra L. Dodson

Publisher:
Oxford University Press
DOI:10.1093/0198296746.003.0001

Drawing on the strikingly different records of the 103rd and 104th Congresses — congresses in which women’s proportional presence was roughly similar — this introduction to Part I highlights the empirical evidence of the complexity belying the probabilistic relationship between descriptive and substantive representation of women. This lays the foundation for comparing and contrasting gender’s impacts on policymaking as the environment changes, examining how women’s efforts to bring (feminale) gendered perspectives to the policymaking process affect and are affected by (masculine) gendered institutions, assessing the implications for the connection between descriptive and substantive representation of women, and exploring what this may mean for all citizens in a representative democracy. Special attention is devoted to why the 103rd and 104th Congresses are an ideal laboratory for exploring the dynamic, probabilistic relationship between descriptive and substantive representation of women.

Keywords:   institutional positioning, ideological shift, descriptive representation, substantive representation, gendered institution, Anita Hill, Year of the Woman, Year of the Angry White Male, masculinism, feminalism

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