Friday, July 31, 2009

Hail to the Chiefs

I loved seeing this invitation to an upcoming DC event honoring female chiefs of staff on the Hill.

While this group of senior congressional staff is still relatively small (I only count about 40 in all of Congress listed), it’s still nice to see this type of exposure to senior women staffers. I get particularly excited when I see women congresswomen hire female chiefs (go Niki!).

Politico tackled the topic of women Hill staffers in May, noting that “Even with a woman wielding the speaker's gavel, Washington can still feel like an old boys' club.”

While it’s nice to see some representation, the ladder up the power structure in DC remains very sticky for women. Even congresswomen have created mentoring and networking groups.

Predictably, this doesn’t apply only on the Hill. An analysis of the White House report to Congress on staff salaries, finds that while women make up about half of the White House staff, they are over-represented in the lower, entry level positions such as assistants, schedulers, and receptionists. The top positions remain male.