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And Sebelius Makes Six - Obama Appoints More Women to Cabinet Than Any Other Incoming President

By March 2, 2009

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If you're a woman, only in Washington, DC would the move from governor to secretary not be seen as career suicide.

Of course it helps when the job is Secretary with a capital 'S,' the boss you're working for is President Barack Obama, and you're joining a Cabinet - not a secretarial pool. (Actually, that's no longer PC. The preferred term is administrative assistant.)

Kansas Governor Kathleen Sebelius is the latest female governor to join Obama's Cabinet, following in the footsteps of Arizona Governor Janet Napolitano. This brings the count to four female Secretaries in the Obama Administration:

  • Secretary of State Hillary Clinton
  • Secretary of Labor Hilda Solis
  • Secretary of Homeland Security Janet Napolitano
  • Secretary of Health and Human Services Kathleen Sebelius
Earlier speculation centered on the fact that Obama could break ground by appointing more women to his Cabinet than any other president in history. However, his first round of appointments seemed to indicate he was backing away from that idea.

But with Saturday's announcement of Sebelius as his HHS pick, he brings the total number of women in Cabinet positions to six when you include these two:

  • United Nations Ambassador Susan Rice
  • Environmental Protection Agency Administrator Lisa Jackson
Back in December, the Washington Post's Al Kamen noted the track record of previous administrations with regard to female appointees:
At the start of his first term, President Bush nominated four women to his Cabinet. Bill Clinton had five women in his Cabinet at the start of his presidency, and George H.W. Bush and Ronald Reagan each had two, according to research conducted by New York University's Wagner School of Public Service in partnership with The Washington Post.
So Obama makes history yet again with more women in the 20-member Cabinet than any other president entering office.

And how appropriate. He officially nominated Sebelius on March 2, just in the nick of time for Women's History Month in March.

Get to know Sebelius and Napolitano on a more personal level:

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October 31, 2009 at 12:32 pm
(1) Susmita Barua says:

I am researching a little about Obama’s appointments of women and landed here.

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