Common Themes

Oral history interviews provide significant snapshots of congressional history, but gathering the diverse stories of women Members and staff highlights shared experiences and common themes. These selections, taken from interviews with the participants of this project, bring together individual stories to tell a collective narrative of women in Congress. Arranged into four categories—Paths to Congress, Behind the Scenes, Relationships in Congress, and Overcoming Obstacles—these clips explore the ways women Members and staff changed a historically male institution.

Paths to Congress

Paths to Congress

Each interviewee has a unique story of her journey to Capitol Hill. Listen to campaign stories from former Members as well as personal accounts of the hiring process from former staff.

Behind the Scenes

Behind the Scenes

Much of the work in the House occurs outside the chamber in committees and congressional offices. Dive into behind-the-scenes stories of whip operations, committee deliberations, and legislative accomplishments.

Relationships in Congress

Relationships in Congress

Many women Members and staff established social and political networks with their peers. Listen to stories of personal and professional relationships built through formal and informal networks.

Overcoming Obstacles

Overcoming Obstacles

Initially excluded from some areas of the Capitol, women used diverse methods to break down institutional barriers and to attain equal access to influential committees and leadership positions. Listen to how women altered the social, cultural, and political norms of Congress.