Vermont has seen a big drop in the number of women in top positions in state government. In 1999 Vermont ranked first in the nation in the number of women in top positions; two years later Vermont’s raking slipped to fourth. Now the state ranks 34th. The ranking was done by the Center for Women in Government and Civil Society at the University at Albany, New York.
The change in Vermont coincides with Governor Jim Douglas assuming office. Douglas is defending his administration’s record on hiring women. Douglas says the governor’s cabinet should reflect the population, but he says he hired the best people for the job.
There are two women on the governor’s cabinet: Agency of Natural Resources Secretary Elizabeth McLain, and Agency of Transportation Secretary Patricia McDonald.
In the University of Albany study, Massachusetts led the nation with half of the state’s key policy posts filled by women. The lowest percentage was in New Hampshire where the figure was just over 15 percent.