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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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Representing Women: The Elite to Elite Connection

Representing Women: The Elite to Elite Connection

(p.53) 3 Representing Women: The Elite to Elite Connection
The Impact of Women in Congress

Debra L. Dodson

Oxford University Press

This chapter deconstructs women’s words of connection to women, focusing on the connection women members of Congress feel towards other political women. Content analysis of transcripts shows that women members of Congress seem to conceptualize political women as a group with shared experiences and comradery, common concerns, and/or interrelated fates. However, the data also show that beneath the veneer of unity and connectedness revealed in women’s words is considerable complexity, driven not only by individual level forces — ideology, life experiences, race, etc. — but also shaped by the institutional environment of Congress and the constraints posed by its partisan structure.

Keywords:   proportional presence, ideological diversity, competing identities, political environment, descriptive representation, substantive representation, partisanship, legitimacy, New Institutionalism, masculinism

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