Since Gov. Phil Murphy took office in 2018, there’s been a modest bump in the percentage of women serving on select New Jersey boards and commissions, reaching 27 percent as of July 2019 — up 9 percent from 2017’s 18 percent. That’s welcome progress, but it comes with a qualification. Much of this improvement, according to the Rutgers University Center for American Women and Politics, derives from Murphy’s choosing women as the majority of his Cabinet. Cabinet members are included on state boards and commissions, but the administration has not appointed women as public members of these boards and commissions at or near parity levels.
Of the nearly 500 state boards and commissions, CAWP analyzed the 58 widely considered to be among the most powerful, with high levels of responsibility and requiring financial disclosure. Of the 563 positions on those boards and commissions, 152 are currently held by women, 307 are held by men, and 104 remain vacant. When Murphy assumed office, 103 of those positions were held by women, 371 by men, and 89 were vacant.
CAWP is a unit of the Eagleton Institute of Politics at Rutgers.