Governor keeps promise to appoint women
Gov. Lincoln Chafee recently joined with the Women’s Fund of Rhode Island at the State House to celebrate his commitment to having women represented in senior positions within state government and on boards and commissions. As a candidate, Chafee pledged to double the number of female appointments – a promise he has kept. The event also marked the release of the organization’s first report designed to increase representation of women in positions appointed by the governor.
Currently, women hold 33 percent of board and commission appointments, versus 15 percent in 2010. Of the 462 board and commission appointments made by the governor, 209 have been women. Four of the Chafee’s seven senior staff members are female, as are seven cabinet directors.
Prior to the 2010 gubernatorial election, the women’s group posed a challenge to all six candidates: that in order to move toward political parity each would promise that 50 percent of all appointed cabinet-level positions, boards and commissions would be filled by women by 2014.
The Rhode Island Government Appointments Project is an initiative aimed at ameliorating the gender inequity in Rhode Island government and was modeled after a project in Massachusetts, where many women who applied for and gained positions went on to run for state elected office.