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A Woman in the House (and Senate): How Women Came to the United States Congress, Broke Down Barriers, and Changed the Country

Review

A Woman in the House (and Senate): How Women Came to the United States Congress, Broke Down Barriers, and Changed the Country

Author Ilene Cooper has created an encyclopedia of sorts of the history of women in politics as it pertains to the U.S. Congress. The book is divided into chronological sections, beginning with the women’s suffrage movement and ending with the results of the 2012 election. The foreword for the book was written by Olympia Snowe, a former U.S. Senator.
 
Although women have made great inroads into the world of politics, they have long been under-represented. For the first 128 years in our nation’s history, not one woman had served in Congress. That changed in 1916 when Jeannette Rankin from Montana became the first woman elected to the House of Representatives. Even though a sizeable number of women have served in either the House or the Senate since then, the Senate has never been comprised of more than 25 percent women, and the percentages in the House are lower than that. But, people will feel encouraged that things could change when they read about all of the influential woman who have thus far opened doors into that arena! 
 
A great resource for anyone interested in the topic of women in American politics, particularly in Congress. 
 
The text is chock-full of facts and tidbits about well-known women politicians like Hillary Clinton and Nancy Pelosi, as well as less-known ones like Florence Khan and Ruth Hanna McCormick.
 
The text is accompanied by photos of every woman mentioned, as well as cartoon-like drawings that highlight certain topics. The author includes an appendix with additional info about the three branches of government, women and suffrage, politics and politicians, democrats and republicans, how a bill is passed, congressional committees, the cabinet, the women’s movement, the Equal Rights Amendment and impeachment. There is also a complete list of women in Congress, with each name listed alphabetically; endnotes; a bibliography; an acknowledgments page; and an index.
 
Even though this book was written for a middle-school audience, it is a great resource for anyone interested in the topic of women in American politics, particularly in Congress. I also recommend it for anyone simply looking for a good book to read.

Reviewed by Christine Irvin on March 12, 2014

A Woman in the House (and Senate): How Women Came to the United States Congress, Broke Down Barriers, and Changed the Country
by Ilene Cooper

  • Publication Date: March 11, 2014
  • Genres: Children's, Nonfiction, Politics
  • Hardcover: 144 pages
  • Publisher: Abrams Books for Young Readers
  • ISBN-10: 1419710362
  • ISBN-13: 9781419710360