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Sarah Beth Rowley
DePauw University (Greencastle, IN 46135-1736)
Congresswomen, Gender, and Political Culture in the 1970s

Research and writing one chapter of a book about the political careers of five women who first won their congressional seats at the 1972 election.

After the 1972 election, a headline announced, “There’s a New Breed of Woman on the Hill!” Five new congresswomen--all lawyers, all running on independent, professional records-- joined a growing cohort in the House. Four of the new representatives were liberal Democrats and feminists: Patricia Schroeder (CO), Barbara Jordan (TX), Elizabeth Holtzman (NY), and Yvonne Burke (CA). Marjorie Holt (MD) was the lone conservative Republican. "Congresswomen, Gender, and Political Culture in the 1970s" takes these five figures as jumping-off points to consider how gender operated in the political culture across party lines. I argue that this “new breed” changed Washington’s institutions, challenged masculinist ideas of leadership, shaped political realignment, and participated in cultural debates about women’s social roles, particularly in combining work and motherhood. Questions of gender shaped both the new conservatism and a redefined liberalism in an era of transformation.

Project fields:
Gender Studies; U.S. History; Women's History

Summer Stipends

Research Programs

$6,000 (approved)
$6,000 (awarded)

Grant period:
5/25/2021 – 7/23/2021