For McMorris Rodgers, 42, it was a call to action at a time when her male colleagues seemed reluctant to fire back at Democrats.

“I felt compelled to stand up and try to counter this myth” of a Republican “war on women,” said McMorris Rodgers, vice chair of the 242-member Republican conference in the House.

In recent months she has become one of her party’s chief counter-punchers to criticism from Democrats.

She has appeared on TV and written defiant opinion articles, saying that Democrats are accusing Republicans of being anti-women because the Democrats do not want to discuss President Barack Obama’s handling of the economy and the federal debt.