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Gains Few for Women Seeking Government Posts

Women###s progress as holders of top-ranking appointee positions in state governments has not been steady. Between 2001 and 2003, women###s share of executive branch leadership posts dropped almost three percentage points, from 35% to 32%, according to a study from the Center for Women in Government & Civil Society, University of Albany. The percentage did remain above the 1999 level, however.

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 leadership changed very little between 1999 and 2003.

African American women advanced substantially in the number of policy leadership positions to which they were appointed by the nation###s governors.

Only five states (Massachusetts .96; Oregon .95; Florida .88; Iowa .85; Missouri .83) are close to parity in terms of the degree to which women are represented in top policy positions. In eleven additional states (Connecticut, Kansas, Kentucky, Michigan, Mississippi, Nebraska, Nevada, Tennessee, Virginia, Wisconsin, Wyoming) women hold about three-quarters of 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.

In nine states (Alabama, Georgia, Idaho, Maryland, Minnesota, New Hampshire, Ohio, South Carolina, 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.

African Americans, Latinos, Asian Americans, and American Indians continue to hold remarkably few top advisor staff positions in governors### offices.

White men lost the largest share of department head positions between 1999 and 2003. The percentage of agency head posts held by white women, African American women, and Asian American women rose