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Capitol Women: Texas Female Legislators, 1923-1999 Hardcover – March 15, 2000


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Product Details

  • Hardcover: 368 pages
  • Publisher: University of Texas Press; 1st edition (March 15, 2000)
  • Language: English
  • ISBN-10: 029274062X
  • ISBN-13: 978-0292740624
  • Product Dimensions: 9.3 x 6.5 x 1.1 inches
  • Shipping Weight: 1.8 pounds
  • Average Customer Review: 4.5 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (2 customer reviews)
  • Amazon Best Sellers Rank: #4,485,593 in Books (See Top 100 in Books)

Editorial Reviews

Review

"This is the kind of readable history that every library, women's organisation, teacher, scholar, and politician should own. Nancy Baker Jones and Ruthe Winegarten, noted historians, have lovingly chronicled the lives and careers of the eighty-six women who served in the Texas Legislature from 1923 to 1999." -Liz Carpenter

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2 of 2 people found the following review helpful By LEON L CZIKOWSKY on September 14, 2001
Format: Paperback
"Capitol Women" describes the history of women in Texas legislative politics followed by biographies of every woman who served in the Texas legislature. This book argues that female legislators have had to decide whether to conform to expectations of a male dominated institution, and thus be underminded by being viewed as less capable as male legislators, or to challenge these norms and thus possibly become outcasts. To overcome preconceptions, some Texas female legislators suggest women should either a.) learn the political system and how things operate or b.) work to change and improve the current political system. Some suggest creating strategies incorporating both elements. Still, even recently, State Sen. Judith Zaffirini was advised by a Lt. Governor that "if she cut her skirt off about six inches and put on some high heels, she could pass anything she wants."
Texas has elected women as Governors. Ironically, the first female Texas Governor, "Ma" Ferguson, wife of previous Governor Jim Ferguson, was elected in 1924 with support from antisuggragists and the active opposition of many women. Some legislators then questioned, since Texas law prevented a married woman from legally signing transactions without her husband's signature, whether she would need her husband's signature to approve legislation transferring state property to the federal government.
Ann Richards was elected Governor along with the largest percentage of female legislators that had existed prior.
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A reader can readily tell the amount of research that went into this collection--excellent biographies of Female Texas Legislators for as far back as 1923, just three years after women were "given" the right to vote. Each biography tells the woman's story and integrates her history with that of Texas' and the United States'. Accompanying most bios are pictures of each woman and their faces show their "spunk." I especially like Appendix F (yes, this is a reference book), mapping a timeline and the status of women in their state and country as the rest of the country also progressed. The bios are well-written, obviously written by women--not just "the facts, Ma'm." For example, we know through her bio one woman who was "'little, but loud'" and the differences her loudness made in Texas history.
Some of the bios accompany autobios by those women still alive when the book was being prepared. Each section is written with emotion and strength...highly readable so that the reader can KNOW each woman's intention as she went against the grain.
This is the living history of these women, studied by women, and written with women's sense and sensibility, with the appropriate emotion of those who have studied and adopted each woman in her time and place. The authors could have sat with each and conversed with her over tea or a beer.
My copy from Amazon.com's storage bins was labeled "very good," and for $4 I received a nearly perfect copy of the text. Anyone interested in women and their place right along with men in Texas history and these women's addressing of human needs should find this on her or his bookshelf.
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