Equipped with the potential to become the first woman president in American history, Hillary Clinton has promised to incorporate more females into the White House Administration if elected. Though the Obama administration is one of the most diverse the nation has seen, Clinton, who secured the number of delegates required by the DNC on Monday night, believes she can do better. (Sanders, for his part, has maintained the race isn't over until the July convention.)
As of September 2015, women made up 35.3 percent of President Obama's appointments, according to UC Berkeley's Anne Joseph O'Connell. And as The New York Times' Annie Lowrey wrote in August 2013, Obama had elected less women to maximum level executive branch positions than former President Bill Clinton did during the 1990s. During the April 25 MSNBC Town Hall in Philadelphia, moderator Rachel Maddow asked Clinton if she would match Canadian Prime Minister Justin Trudeau's pledge to create a cabinet that's 50 percent female. Clinton made the same promise.
Well, I am going to have a cabinet that looks like America, and 50 percent of America is women, right?
If Clinton defeats Donald Trump in November and follows through with this statement, the White House Administration will witness some significant changes. According to Jay Newton-Small, author of Broad Influence: How Women Are Changing the Way America Works, Clinton could promote gender equality in cabinet positions without having to set quotas.
In the rest of the world, quotas are quite normal. But in the U.S., a country founded on the idea of merit —it's hard to imagine that these days quotas could get through Congress. But making half your cabinet women is something Clinton can do unilaterally.
One of those women could be longtime Clinton aide Huma Abedin, who is currently the vice chairwoman of the candidate's campaign in Brooklyn, New York. And when Clinton was secretary of state, she appointed Abedin as her deputy chief of staff. It's likely that if Clinton becomes president, she will elect her top aide as chief of staff yet again. According to campaign officials, Abedin won't be the only potential female staff member surrounding Clinton. The candidate is also strongly considering an all female ticket.
In April, Clinton campaign chairman John Podesta told The Boston Globe that although the candidate is focusing primarily on defeating Bernie Sanders, she is definitely considering female running mates. Though the candidate hasn't released names, several educated guesses have been made.
We’ll start with a broad list and then begin to narrow it. But there is no question that there will be women on that list.
Above all, that list could include names like Massachusetts Senator Elizabeth Warren and Minnesota Senator Amy Klobuchar. Vice News also asked an entertaining question about one traditionally female role in the White House: Who will be the First Lady if Clinton is elected? Historically, the position hasn't always been filled by the president's spouse. For example Presidents Andrew Jackson, Martin Van Buren, and John Tyler had all been widowed either before or during their presidencies. Consequently, they appointed close female relatives to the position of First Lady. If Clinton chooses to give her husband, former president Bill Clinton, a more powerful position in her cabinet, daughter Chelsea Clinton could take on the position of First Lady and become politically active, like her mother did during the 1990s.
Regardless of political party affiliation, a Clinton presidency would mark an historic moment in the United States. Though the White House has made strides towards championing diversity and gender equality, there's still some work to be done.