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Schroeder, Patricia

Schroeder, Patricia (1940–), member of Congress (1972–97).Patricia Schroeder, a graduate of Harvard Law School, campaigned as an antiwar, liberal Democrat and won the congressional seat representing the racially diverse Denver, Colorado, district in 1972. When she entered the House of Representatives in the 92nd Congress, there were just thirteen women members. By 1996, when Schroeder announced she would not seek reelection, there were forty‐seven women, though still barely 11 percent of the House. Schroeder's period of greatest influence on military issues came in the 1992–94 103rd Congress when the Democrats controlled the House; she chaired a House Armed Services subcommittee; there was a large, politically cohesive Congressional Caucus for Women's Issues and a network of sophisticated women's lobbying groups. Several of these groups focused on military issues (e.g., Women's Action for New Directions and the Defense Advisory Committee on Women in the Services).

Among the issues that Schroeder influenced were: ensuring that military wives and female personnel had access to abortion services at U.S. overseas military hospitals; reversing a Department of Defense policy that had allowed divorced military men to exclude military retirement benefits from alimony calculations; opening up more “near‐combat” and “combat” jobs to women; and insisting that sexual harassment be taken seriously by senior Defense Department officials. On general questions, Schroeder joined all the other Democratic women in the House in voting against the “Don't ask, don't tell” formula for maintaining the gay men and lesbians in the military ban. She also voted against funding the B‐2 bomber for U.S. participation in United Nations peacekeeping.
[See also Gender and War; Gender: Female Identity and the Military; Women in the Military.]


Debra L. Dodson , et al., Voices, Views, Votes: The Impact of Women on the 103rd Congress, 1995.
WAND [Women's Action for New Directions] Bulletin, vol. 15, no. 2 (Spring 1996).
Pat Schroeder , 24 Years of House Work … and the Place is Still a Mess: My Life in Politics, 1998.

Cynthia Enloe

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