Seven years ago, then-presidential candidate Mitt Romney, describing attempts to make his gubernatorial cabinet more diverse, said he received “binders full of women” from his staff.
His choice of words was lampooned, but the challenge was real.
Even in the wake of a record-breaking wave of women candidates who ran and won last November, women are still underrepresented at all levels of public office, including appointed positions where their voices desperately need to be heard.
From statewide cabinet offices to local boards and commissions, appointed leaders play a vital role in policymaking. Boards and commissions oversee critical issues ranging from transportation to economic development, including multi-million dollar budgets and policymaking authority. They also provide opportunities for women to gain experience in public service without having to run for office.
But, like nearly every other public service arena, civic boards and commissions tend to be dominated by men.