Interviewing one member of Congress is a feat for most researchers. Interviewing nearly 100 and almost every women member of Congress is remarkable. Even more remarkable is what we can learn from that data collection about the perceptions of women members of Congress, especially about the way they perceive recent partisan polarization and the changing role of gender, race, and ethnicity.
Such is the exhaustive project of Kelly Dittmar
, Kira Sanbonmatsu
, and Susan J. Carroll
, who are the authors of A Seat at the Table: Congresswomen’s Perspectives on Why Their Presence Matters
(Oxford University Press, 2018). Dittmar is assistant professor of political science, Sanbonmatsu is professor of political science, and Carroll is professor of political science and gender studies, all at Rutgers University.
If you want to know how members of Congress think and the ways that they view their work, you would be hard pressed to find a better book. Dittmar, Sanbonmatsu, and Carroll fill so many blanks in the study of the ways that women legislate and how they perceive that work. This book is a must read for scholars of women and politics, American politics, and representation.