Women’s Share of Top Executive Appointments in
State Governments Drops in the Last Two Years
Oregon Rank Highest for Percentage of Women in
Government, New Hampshire Ranks Lowest
Contact: Lisa James Goldsberry (518) 437-4980
ALBANY, N.Y. (February 19, 2004) -- Women’s progress
as holders of top-ranking appointee positions
in state governments dropped almost three percentage
points over the last two years, but remained above
the 1999 level, according to Appointed Policy
Makers in State Government, Five-Year Trend Analysis,
a report released Thursday by the University at
Albany’s Center for Women in Government &
Civil Society. Women held 35 percent of policy
leader posts in 2001, 32 percent in 2003.
The report indicates that, even as the 2000 census
recorded substantial changes in the race and ethnicity
composition of the U.S. population, the demographics
of executive branch policy leaders changed very
little between 1999 and 2003. The exception was
African American women, who advanced substantially
in the number of policy leadership position to
which they were appointed by U.S. governors.
African Americans, Latinos, Asian Americans,
and American Indians continue to hold few top
advisor staff positions in governors’ offices.
For African American staff appointees, the percentage
is 6.9; for Latino/a appointees, 2.6; for Asian
Americans, 1.5; and for American Indians, 0.4.
On the other hand, the percentage of department
head posts held by white women, African American
women, and Asian American women rose slightly.
In nine states (Alabama, Georgia, Idaho, Maryland,
Minnesota, New Hampshire, Ohio, South Dakota),
women hold less than half the top policy posts
to which they would be appointed, if the proportion
of women appointees were equal to the proportion
of women in the population of those states.
“A net gain for women of 2.2 percentage points
over a five-year period is certainly a very slow
rate of advancement,” said Judith Saidel, executive
director of the Center and the study’s project
director. “Furthermore, the fact that only five
of the 50 states are even close to parity in terms
of women’s appointment to leadership positions
is a less than commendable record established
by the nation’s governors.”
Original data on policy leaders appointed by
current governors were collected from the states
via a mailed survey and follow-up phone calls
as needed between June and November 2003. For
the purpose of the study, “policy leaders” include
department heads (heads of departments, agencies,
offices, boards, commissions, and authorities)
and top advisors in governors’ offices (titles
such as chief of staff, government liaison, legal
advisor, press secretary).
For copies of this report as of Thursday, Feb.
19, and for more information about the Center
for Women in Government & Civil Society,
visit the Center’s web site at www.cwig.albany.edu.
Judith Saidel, the report's
author, will be available for interviews Wednesday,
Feb. 18, 2004; call (518) 442-3896.