Will the record number of women senators mean less gridlock?

Women are more collaborative and collegial leaders, studies have found. And for those bemoaning the increasing nastification of the Senate, it may mean the chances for an antidote have just increased.

“We women set the tone for civility and respect on Capitol Hill,” said Sen. Barbara Mikulski (D-Md.), the chamber’s longest-serving woman. “We want to carry that tone of civility with us in an otherwise prickly institution.”…

For years, women in both parties have met regularly for dinners. Every few months, they meet in the Capitol’s Strom Thurmond Room, the irony of which isn’t lost on them. Their gathering spot is named for a man whose parting words to the Senate were, “I love all of you, and especially your wives.”

Over glasses of wine and sometimes a pecan pie baked by Sen. Mary Landrieu (D-La.), they discuss their personal worlds — kids, husbands, books, vacation plans.