Looking for the women in President Trump's cabinet? You can count them on one tiny hand. The president has picked women for four out of 23 cabinet-level positions so far, making up a mere 17% of the influential posts (he still hasn’t made an appointment for one position, chair of the Council of Economic Advisers). Trump currently trails the last five presidents when it comes to achieving gender equality in the cabinet, according to data collected by The Centre for American Women and Politics (CAWP). “It’s a real backslide,” CAWP director Debbie Walsh told Refinery29. Every president from Ronald Reagan on has, at one point in time, bested Trump when it comes to giving women a seat at the table. To find a less female-friendly cabinet, you have to go back to Jimmy Carter’s presidency, from 1977 to 1981. His cabinet was just 11% female at the highest point. Even if Trump appoints a woman to that last vacant role, which is unexpected, he'll lag the female representation levels achieved by presidents Barack Obama; George W. Bush; and Bill Clinton, who set the current record for women in cabinet-level positions at 41%. The appointments also put Trump in stark contrast to his former rival, Hillary Clinton, who had pledged to pick women for 50% of her cabinet roles. “It is disappointing to not see more women appointed to Trump’s cabinet. We know from research that it matters," Walsh said. "[Women] bring different perspectives, different ideas to the table. To not have those ideas, that talent, that creativity at the table is a loss for the country.” Of the 23 cabinet-level positions, 21 require Senate confirmation (vice president and chief of staff do not). That process has already begun. If the nominees are all confirmed as expected, the sole women in Trump's cabinet at this time will be Education Secretary Betsy DeVos, Transportation Secretary Elaine Chao, Small Business Administrator Linda McMahon, and Ambassador to the United Nations Nikki Haley (Haley was just confirmed this week). Additionally, former campaign manager Kellyanne Conway serves as counsellor to the president, a senior role that is not considered cabinet-level. The cabinet as a whole is the least diverse in more than three decades, as The Los Angeles Times reported. It's also the first time since the late 1980s that there are no Latino people serving at this influential level of government. (The Hispanic population is the nation’s largest ethnic or racial minority, according to U.S. Census figures, representing roughly 17% of the country.) Trump’s press secretary has downplayed criticism over the lack of diversity, saying during a recent news conference that the president is “committed to uniting this country and bringing the best and the brightest together.” Ahead, a look at how the gender diversity in Trump's cabinet compares to past administrations.
Ed. note: All figures are for maximum number of women serving concurrently during a president's administration. The definition of cabinet and cabinet-level is based on the records detailed by the president's official library. The current numbers include vice president and chief of staff, which do not require confirmation by the U.S. Senate. The data was compiled by the Centre for American Women and Politics, a unit of the Eagleton Institute of Politics at Rutgers, The State University of New Jersey.