Glass ceiling for women in Capitol Hill jobs

by on September 17, 2010  •  In Congress, Employment law

Politico reports that fewer than 180 women fill the 535 chief of staff jobs available on the Hill, and among male Senators, the number is dropping. Only 35 percent of House offices employ a female chief of staff, and less than a quarter of senators do, according to an annual survey by the Women’s Campaign Forum”

Over the past four years, the number of male members who employ a female chief of staff has dropped to 20 percent in the Senate, WCF estimates. Female House members have a much better record, which has continually improved over the past four years, but the ratio of female chiefs of staff to female members of Congress is still below 50 percent.

…The average House chief of staff rakes in $134,000, according to the employment studies. A POLITICO review of several House compensation studies last spring found that the number of female chiefs of staff in the House had increased by only about 6 percentage points over the past five years.

The number of female legislative directors, a second-tier position that is largely influential in the formation of policy, increased by only 1 percentage point, to 36.5 percent, in the same five-year period.

But women are eating up the middle- to lower-level jobs on the Hill, at least on the House side. According to last year’s House Compensation Study, women filled 84 percent of executive assistant and 82 percent of scheduler jobs. These positions, which typically pay an average of $48,000 to $59,000, include orchestrating office functions and keeping tabs on a member’s schedule.


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