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The Best-Kept Secret

Women Corporate Lobbyists, Policy, and Power in the United States

Denise Benoit

Publication Year: 2007

From lobbyists such as Jack Abramoff, to corporate executives, like Enron's Kenneth Lay and Jeffrey Skilling, recent scandals dealing with politics and government have focused only on men at the top. But do these high-profile men accurately represent the gendered make up of corporate-government in the United States?

In this first in-depth look at the changing face of corporate lobbying, Denise Benoit shows how women who have historically worked mostly in policy areas relating to "women's issues" such as welfare, family, and health have become increasingly influential as corporate lobbyists, specializing in what used to be considered "masculine" policy, such as taxes and defense. Benoit finds that this new crop of female lobbyists mobilize both masculinity and femininity in ways that create and maintain trusting, open, and strong relations with those in government, and at the same time help corporations to save and earn billions of dollars.

While the media focuses on the dubious behaviors of men at the top of business and government, this book shows that female corporate lobbyists are indeed one of the best kept secrets in Washington.

Published by: Rutgers University Press

Title Page, Copyright

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pp. ix-xi

First and foremost, I am grateful to all of the men and women who participated in this project over the last decade. This book would not have been possible without their generosity and cooperation. I am especially thankful to the women government relations offi cials and staffers who took me to lunch, made me...

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Chapter 1: Introduction

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pp. 1-17

Power is one of the most complex and diffi cult concepts in the social and political sciences, partly because there are so many competing defi nitions, and partly because many key decisions are made behind closed doors. At the same time, the analysis of power is critical to our understanding of...

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Chapter 2: From Private to Public Interests: Women’s Entrance into Corporate Lobbying

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pp. 18-46

Women are relatively new to corporate lobbying but nevertheless have long been active agents in shaping political and economic structures and processes in the United States. Historically, as women became engaged in formal education, travel, and work outside the home, they began to develop...

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Chapter 3: The Problem with No Name? Women’s Interests, Corporate Power, and Public Policy

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pp. 47-75

Although still a relatively small proportion of all women lobbyists, there has been a recent increase in the number of those who specialize in policy areas traditionally thought of as “male,” most notably tax and social security policy. At the same time, tax policy and social security policy increasingly...

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Chapter 4: Warm Springs and Hot Topics at the Tax Alliance Retreat: Doing Gender and Doing Business

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pp. 76-101

Imagine you are enveloped in a warm wrap of linens that have been steamed in a fragrant blend of natural herbs. You then receive a hydroptimale treatment to prevent dehydrated skin. Next you receive a special treatment to increase...

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Chapter 5: The Costs and Benefi ts of Family Ties

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pp. 102-125

Although researchers have examined the relationship between gender and work networks (Aldrich and Reese 1994; Brass 1985, 1992), few have included the effects of family relations on work networks in their analyses. The social science literature that does exist in this area largely suggests...

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Chapter 6: Women, Corporate Lobbying, and Power

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pp. 126-142

Women’s presence on the lobbying scene in Washington and elsewhere in the country is undeniable. The “bastions of cigar-smoking dinosaurs,” as one corporate lobbyist put it, are nearly extinct. It is no longer unusual to see women lobbyists networking with legislators and staffers and arguing...


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pp. 143-145


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pp. 147-155


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pp. 157-166

About the Author

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E-ISBN-13: 9780813541532
E-ISBN-10: 0813541530
Print-ISBN-13: 9780813540658

Page Count: 182
Publication Year: 2007