Lynne Rienner Publishers Logo

Women and Power on Capitol Hill: Reconstructing the Congressional Women's Caucus

Irwin N. Gertzog
Women and Power on Capitol Hill: Reconstructing the Congressional Women's Caucus
ISBN: 978-1-58826-283-7
2004/197 pages/LC: 2003020612

"An important contribution to the literature on gender and substantive representation.... A fresh examination of the manner in which women in Congress affect the content of public policy.... The words and experiences of the women who lived and breathed the struggles of the CCWI add richness and nuance to the analysis."—Richard Fox, Political Science Quarterly

"An engaging, up-to-date study of the evolution and significance of the Congressional Caucus for Women's Issues."—Cindy Simon Rosenthal, University of Oklahoma

"Well-researched, well-written, and incorporating a wealth of detail, this book fills a nearly empty niche by exploring the complementary roles of caucuses and committees in the policymaking process."—Karen McCurdy, Georgia Southern University


The Congressional Caucus for Women's Issues (CCWI) was the most effective bipartisan organization in the House—until changes wrought by the "Republican revolution" of 1994 threatened its very survival. Irwin Gertzog analyzes the origin, development, and influence of the CCWI and explores how the women associated with it have emerged from near oblivion to reassert their role in the legislative process.

Assessing the caucus within the contexts of legislative decisionmaking, competing policy agendas, partisan politics, and legislative-presidential relations, Gertzog demonstrates that it has evolved and survived despite substantial challenges to its integrity and mission. Although the definition of "women's issues" has changed significantly since 1977, he concludes, the CCWI continues to coalesce around strategic policy goals, thus ensuring its enduring niche in the legislative power structure.


Irwin N. Gertzog is emeritus professor of political science at Allegheny College and adjunct professor of political science at Columbia and Rutgers Universities. His publications include Congressional Women: Their Recruitment, Integration, and Behavior.


  • Introduction: Before and After the "Republican Revolution."
  • Origin and Early Years: 1977-1981.
  • Transformation and Growth: 1982-1992.
  • Before the "Republican Revolution": 1993-1994.
  • The Republicans Take Control: 1995-1996.
  • Coping with Change: 1995-1996.
  • Reclaiming the Initiative: 1997-1998.
  • Congresswomen and the New Millennium: The Future of the Caucus.