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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 Constituency Connection

Representing Women: The Constituency Connection

(p.65) 4 Representing Women: The Constituency Connection
The Impact of Women in Congress

Debra L. Dodson

Oxford University Press

The analysis of women’s self-described roles as representatives of women finds both convincing evidence of consensus among women members over time and across parties as well as an abundance of complexity, pointing once again to the importance of going beyond what women say to other factors that give practical meaning to their words: perceptions of women as a group, resentment of perceived gender-related problems facing women, commitment to advancing women, and differences in the relative priority of working on behalf of women. Deconstructing ‘women’ and ‘women’s issues’ reveals differences in meanings that may contribute to different actions on different issues, benefiting different women. A closer look at partisan differences in the institutional and extra-institutional environments reveals challenges and opportunities for surrogate representation of women, which contribute to disunity among women in practice and perhaps diversity in the way feminist protest is manifested.

Keywords:   substantive representation, masculinism, institutional norms, diversity, gender consciousness, institutional environment, New Institutionalism, descriptive representation, positional power, women’s movement

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