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UAlbany Survey Reveals Slow to No Growth for Women in Top Leadership Posts
Women’s Leadership Profiles show women gain 2 percent in government positions over the past seven years

* The national and individual states' Women’s Leadership Profiles 2004 are available as a PDF file at
(PDF Documents require Adobe Acrobat Reader) *

Contact: Karl Luntta (518) 437-4980

ALBANY, N.Y. (October 20, 2004) -- In one-third of the 50 states, women’s percentage of top policy positions across the three branches of state government fell or remained level between 1998 and 2004, according to new state profiles released today by the University at Albany's Center for Women in Government & Civil Society. The average gain in women’s share of top policy leadership posts among all 50 states was 1.9 percentage points.

In 10 states, the number of women in top positions went down 1 to 5 percentage points over the seven-year period: Arkansas, Idaho, Minnesota, Mississippi, Nevada, New Hampshire, New Jersey, Rhode Island, South Dakota, and Washington. However, Washington, as well as Arizona, Colorado, New Mexico and Vermont, ranked as the top five states for women in leading policy posts, with women holding 33 to nearly 37 percent of the positions.

“Women’s progress into positions of policy leadership is not a sure thing at all," said Judith Saidel, executive director of the Center. "These findings document a disappointing picture: the rate of change is slow and, in too many states, is moving in the wrong direction. Much work remains to be done before parity is achieved in any category of executive, legislative, or judicial leadership."

Gains of more than 5 percentage points by women occurred in only seven states. Over the seven years, the average increase for the 33 states where women experienced gains was 3.8 percentage points. In New York, 24.8 percent of top government posts are held by women, a 5 percentage-point increase since 1998.

The profiles portray a country in which women are governors in nine states, lieutenant governors in 16 states, and chief justices in 17 states. Women hold top leadership posts in two Senates and four Houses of state legislatures.

In both 1998 and 2004, women participated in political decision-making as top staff advisors in governors’ offices more than in any other leadership cohort. The proportion of women was lowest in both years in state legislatures.

Comparing the national gains women achieved between 1998 and 2004 in all three branches of state government, their largest successes were in winning election or appointment as justices in the highest court of each state.

The Women’s Leadership Profiles report data on top elected and appointed policy leaders in state government. Find individual state profiles at (click on "Research").

Judith Saidel, the report's author, can be reached at (518) 442-3896.

The Center for Women in Government & Civil Society is part of the Rockefeller College of Public Affairs and Policy, University at Albany. For more information, write to 135 Western Avenue, Albany, NY 12222 or contact: (518) 442-3900,, or visit


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