[UCP Books]: Women in the Club: Gender and Policy Making in the Senate

“With Women in the Club, Swers offers the first book-length analysis of the role of gender in the US Senate. Gender differences, she shows, are deeply and pervasively shaped by party politics, with gender affecting senators’ activism across a range of policy issues, including women’s rights, social welfare, and defense.”

Frances E. Lee, University of Maryland

“The US Senate is no longer an ‘old boys’ club,’ and Michele L. Swers marshals diverse, rich, and nuanced data and engaging analyses of interviews, floor speeches, amendments, and bill sponsorship to show how gender exerts a significant influence—especially in this increasingly partisan environment—on legislative behavior. Women in the Club is a welcome addition to the scholarship.”

Cindy Simon Rosenthal, University of Oklahoma

Gender and Policy Making in the Senate

Michele L. Swers

Publication date: May 20, 2013 Paper $30.00 • £21.00
UK publication date: May 27, 2013 ISBN-13: 978-0-226-02282-6


In the run-up to the 2012 presidential election, Democrats and Republicans were locked in a fierce battle for the female vote. The women of the Senate wielded particular power, planning press conferences, appearing on political programs, and taking to the Senate floor over gender-related issues such as workplace equality and reproductive rights.
Women in the Club is an eye-opening exploration of how women are influencing politics in this erstwhile male bastion of power. Gender, Michele L. Swers shows, is a fundamental factor for women in the Senate, interacting with party affiliation and individual ideology to shape priorities on policy. Women, for example, are more active proponents of social welfare and women’s rights. But the effects of gender extend beyond mere policy preferences, and senators also develop their priorities with an eye to managing voter expectations about their expertise and advancing their party’s position on a given issue. The election of women in increasing numbers has coincided with the evolution of the Senate as a highly partisan institution. The stark differences between the parties on issues have meant that Democratic and Republican senators often assume very different roles as they reconcile their policy views on gender issues with the desire to act as members of partisan teams.
Michele L. Swers is an associate professor of government at Georgetown University. She is available for interviews.

Please contact Melinda Kennedy at mkennedy1@press.uchicago.edu or (773) 702-2945 for more information.



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