Record Number of Women to Serve in the Presidential Cabinet The administration of President Joe Biden will feature the highest number of Cabinet and Cabinet-level offices held by women in history, with 12 of these positions set to be filled by women, according to a tally from the Center for American Women and Politics, a unit of the Eagleton Institute of Politics at Rutgers University. Aside from Vice President Kamala Harris, all of these positions are pending Senate confirmation. If confirmed, women will hold 12 of 25 (48%) Cabinet and Cabinet-level positions in the Biden-Harris administration at its outset. In addition, 8 of the 12 women nominated or elected to these offices are women of color. The previous record for women serving concurrently in Cabinet-level positions was nine, during the second term of President Bill Clinton.

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Women are at the table:

Biden nominates a record number of women for his Cabinet

Biden’s nominations — of “both substantive and symbolic importance” — will directly affect policy, said Debbie Walsh, director at the Center for American Women and Politics at Rutgers University (CAWP).

Alexa Mikhail

The women designees of the Biden Cabinet are:

  • Marcia Fudge - Secretary of Housing and Urban Development
  • Jennifer Granholm - Secretary of Energy

  • Isabel Guzman -  Administrator, Small Business Administration

  • Deb Haaland -  Secretary of the Interior

  • Avril Haines -  Director of National Intelligence

  • Kamala Harris -  Vice President

  • Gina Raimondo -  Secretary of Commerce

  • Cecilia Rouse - Chair, Council of Economic Advisors

  • Katherine Tai - U.S. Trade Representative

  • Neera Tanden - Director of the Office of Management & Budget

  • Linda Thomas-Greenfield - U.N. Ambassador

  • Janet L. Yellen -  Secretary of the Treasury

“We’re excited that [Biden is] breaking glass ceilings, but he’s got to do it at every level,” said Mark Hanis, the co-founder of Inclusive America, stating that further change is needed to fully represent the U.S. population in government. While being a “first” is a historic feat, it does not necessarily create a pipeline for others who share the same identity, Hanis said. 

“It’s not just those who are in front of the cameras or in front of microphones. There’s a lot of other levels of government that we want to make sure that that same commitment is as aggressively pursued,” Hanis said. 

The voices of women and people of color, who have been disproportionately affected by COVID-19, will now be represented on the top level of government to target the most vulnerable communities during the pandemic. Hanis said this level of representation will directly impact policymaking when it comes to health care.  

Walsh said having more women and people of color in top decision-making positions means the needs of more of the population will be highlighted. 

“You won’t have that situation where there will be a meeting about women’s health and women aren’t there,”

-Walsh