In Gendering the GOP, Catherine N. Wineinger argues that to truly understand the evolution of women’s congressional representation, it is necessary to move beyond an analysis of legislative behavior and toward an analysis of intraparty gender dynamics. Unlike previous research on women in Congress, Wineinger focuses exclusively on the experiences of Republican congresswomen to uncover some of the gendered implications of congressional polarization.
Developing a novel theory of “partisan-gender identity,” defined as a categorical identity that sits at the intersection of one’s partisan affiliation and gender identity, Gendering the GOP argues that Republican women in Congress are not merely gender-blind partisans. In fact, polarization and party competition have incentivized Republican women to organize around their partisan-gender identity and distinguish themselves from both Democratic women and Republican men. In so doing, Republican congresswomen have increased their visibility as party messengers, while simultaneously upholding a party culture that limits women’s presence and power in the institution. Through extensive interviews with women members of Congress and in-depth analyses of House floor speeches, Wineinger details how women have both navigated and shaped existing gender dynamics within the House GOP conference.