HARTFORD — — The Permanent Commission on the Status of Women kicked off an initiative Wednesday that aims to put more women in top state government positions.
The commission wants the next governor to appoint women to 50 percent of about 75 high-level positions, such as chief information officer, secretary of the Office of Policy and Management and public health commissioner. The commission says that only 37 percent of the top appointments are currently held by women and that women hold only 32 percent of the seats in the General Assembly. Women, however, make up 51 percent of the state’s population, according to the commission.
Connecticut gubernatorial candidates Tom Foley, a Republican, and Democrat Dan Malloy have both signed a pledge that says they will do their best to name women to 50 percent of the posts. A newly elected governor may choose to replace some, or all, of the previous governor’s appointments.
Independent candidate Tom Marsh signed a modified pledge that says he will make his best effort to improve upon the efforts of Gov. M. Jodi Rell’s administration when it comes to hiring more women. He said he did not want to be tied to a quota because not meeting it could be perceived as a failure.
Rell has appointed more women to top positions than her predecessors. M. Lisa Moody is the first woman to serve as the governor’s chief of staff in more than 25 years, and Rell named the first woman to serve as the state’s top computer officer and the first woman to serve as president of the Connecticut Development Authority.
The Connecticut Government Appointments Project, which is part of a national collaboration that was started in Massachusetts in 2002, is aimed at achieving political parity for women, said Teresa Younger, the commission’s executive director, adding that in Connecticut, that means building on the advances that have already been made.
With the pledges signed by the gubernatorial candidates, Younger says the next step is to create a pool of potential job candidates. The commission is asking women who would qualify for appointments in the next administration to submit resumes at http://www.ctpcsw.com by Oct. 15.
Once a new governor is elected, the commission will provide him with the list. It will also hold the governor-elect accountable by tracking appointments.
The goal is not only to get more qualified women in high-level jobs, but to get them to participate in politics, Younger said.