Did You Know: Most Female Senate Chiefs of Staff are in Republican Offices

As we come to the end of Women's History Month, here's an interesting statistic about the women leading the offices in the U.S. Congress's upper chamber:

There are more female chiefs of staff in Republican Senate offices than in Democratic Senate offices – they number 19 out of the reported 32

One of the female chiefs, Jennifer DeCasper from Republican South Carolina Senator Tim Scott's office, shared this statistic at a recent forum highlighting conservative women in politics. She explains why conservatives should be vocal about the leadership women hold:

"Republicans tend to be more quiet about our accomplishments. We have 19 women Republican Chiefs of Staff in the Senate… That’s more than the Democrats by the way. We have 51 Republican Senators, and we have more Republican lady chiefs than the Democrats do. But nobody knows that.”

While there is no quota for female representation among chiefs of staff, this signals that conservative members take seriously women's skill and ability to thrive in these high-pressure, highly influential, and highly-trustworthy positions.

Chiefs of staff manage the people working for a member of Congress. Beyond HR issuesthey are the closest staffer to the elected official and often serve as a sounding board helping the member to weigh the political costs of actions and shaping their position on policies.

This is not a job for the faint of heart as Democratic Representative Rosa DeLauro explains. She was once a female chief of staff

“In the issue of being taken seriously, as a female chief of staff, you have the right mix of knowing when to be tough [and] knowing when to back off. I think women always have a tougher road to go down in these areas.”

...

“You can’t be faint of heart. It’s like being a member of Congress. You’re not going to get a leg up because you happen to be female. You have to be able to do the job,” DeLauro said.

According to Roll Call, the number of female chiefs has risen steadily climbing from the mid-teens in 1986 to 25 by the 2000s and 32 today. 

Female chiefs of staff are only a small portion of the women working in congressional offices on the Hill and back home in their districts. An analysis in the Washington Post explains that women are well represented in House offices, but there's still more opportunity for them to move into higher roles and tackle different issue portfolios - if they so desire. 

While much attention is paid to our female elected officials, we cannot forget that many other women help to shape policy in Washington. No matter their politics, they are champions for women.

Check out these 6 statistics showing women in leadership on Capitol Hill:

  • 105 – The number of women serving in Congress.

  • 22 – The number of women (22%) serving in the U.S. Senate

  • 83 – The number of women (19.1%) serving in the U.S. House of Representatives and they represent 34 states.

  • - The number of female delegates representing American Samoa, the District of Columbia, Guam, Puerto Rico and the Virgin Islands in the U.S. House of Representatives.

  • – The number of states (CA, MN, NH, WA) simultaneously represented by two women in the Senate.

  • 320 – The number of women who have served in the U.S. Congress to date: 39 in the Senate only, 269 in the House only, 12 in both the House and Senate

(This data icompiled by the Center for American Women and Politics, Eagleton Institute of Politics, Rutgers University).

And don't forget to check out this list of 10 female trailblazers in American politics.

 

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