Women appointed to Presidential Cabinets in the United States

Data and Statistics

December 7, 2016

Women appointed to Presidential Cabinets in the United States

trump cabinet

With many positions left to fill, President-elect Trump has already tapped several women for important positions in his administration. They include: Governor Nikki Haley as U.N. ambassador and charter school advocate Betsy DeVos as secretary of education (The Washington Post); former labor secretary Elaine Chao as secretary of transportation (The New York Times); Fox News commentator K.T. McFarland as deputy national security advisor (The New York Times); and health care consultant Seema Verma to lead the Centers for Medicare and Medicaid Services (NPR). 

Seven women currently serve in the Obama administration in cabinet or cabinet-level positions. Forty-eight women have held a total of 54 cabinet or cabinet-level appointments in the history of the United States. Of the 48, 30 had cabinet posts, including two who headed two different departments. Three more women held both a cabinet post and a position defined as cabinet-level, and one held two cabinet-level posts. Thirty-one of these women were appointed by Democratic presidents and 17 by Republicans. Ten presidents (four Democrats and six Republicans) have appointed women to their cabinets.

Want to know how many women past presidents have appointed? See CAWP's fact sheet about women in presidential cabinets.    

Resource type: 
Center for American Women and Politics
Eagleton Institute of Politics
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