After the governor, members of the governor's cabinet constitute some of the most powerful leaders at the state level in the United States. In nearly all states, the vast majority, if not all, of the cabinet members are appointed by the governor. In these states, the average state cabinet has a membership of less than 40% women. While 10 states currently meet or exceed gender parity on their cabinets, most states are still far from achieving this goal. Appointing a gender-balanced cabinet is one of the fastest ways that the states can achieve greater gender-based representation.
See below for a map of the gender makeup of state cabinets.
Georgia, Mississippi, New Hampshire, Oregon, Texas
Illinois, Iowa, New York, Rhode Island, Wyoming
One way to achieve gender balance is to elect more women as governors. In our analysis, women governors tended to be more mindful of gender equity: half of all women governors had gender-balanced cabinets, compared to less than a quarter of men governors.
Note: Analysis excluded states without cabinets (5), where data was unavailable (5), and where all cabinet members were elected (1).
It’s been over a century since the 19th Amendment was passed, but the promise of equality has still not been met. While state cabinet positions often lack the press coverage and glamor of national office, the decisions made by people in these positions impact our daily lives. Over the next few decades, let’s ensure that women have an equal seat in the room where it happens.