There Has Never Been a Woman Working These Influential Jobs

It’s an ongoing battle for women to achieve equality in the workplace. They still make less than men on average, and they’re often put in uncomfortable situations on the job.
It hasn’t been that long since women gained some key work rights. In 1968, the government ruled women should have the same access to job ads as men, The Huffington Post reports. And in 1970, the government said women had the right to be paid the same as men for the same work (but we’re still working on that one). Women couldn’t even seek damages for sexual harassment at work until 1986.
Although women have made these gains, there are still some important roles they’ve never held. Here are 15 influential jobs a woman has never worked.

1. Chief justice of the Supreme Court

Chief Justice John Roberts
Chief Justice John Roberts | Win McNamee/Getty Images
  • Only four women have been Supreme Court justices.

There have been 17 chief justices of the Supreme Court in the position’s history, but no women have been in the seat. John Jay was the first chief justice back in 1789, and the position has a lifetime tenure. Only four women have ever served on the Supreme Court, beginning with Sandra Day O’Connor, whom President Ronald Reagan nominated in 1981.
Next: Very few women have broken into major pro sports.

2. Head coach of a professional men’s sports team

Becky Hammon
Assistant coach Becky Hammon of the San Antonio Spurs | Christian Petersen/Getty Images
  • Stephanie Ready became the first female coach of a professional men’s team — the Charlotte Hornets’ affiliate Greenville Groove — in 2001.

Professional sports are still very much a boy’s club. No woman has been the head coach of a major professional men’s team in the United States. But lately women have been making strides toward that glass ceiling.
The San Antonio Spurs hired Becky Hammon as the first full-time NBA assistant coach in 2014. And the Buffalo Bills hired Kathryn Smith as the first full-team female assistant coach in the NFL in 2016. Plus, the NHL’s Arizona Coyotes brought on Dawn Braid as a skating coach, the first full-time female coach in the league. It seems like a female head coach is on the horizon.
Next: Women might have to wish upon a star to get this next job.

3. NASA administrator

No woman has led NASA. | NASA via Getty Images
  • Women have been the deputy administrator, but not the administrator, of NASA.

Women still have to shoot for the moon when it comes to leading NASA. The administrator is its top-ranking official, guiding the agency and managing its resources. The president appoints a person to the position, with Senate confirmation, and the term is at the president’s discretion. Although no woman has served as administrator, there have been a few deputy administrators, beginning with Shana Dale in 2005.
Next: This agency might know your secrets.

4. Director of the NSA

Edward Snowden
Edward Snowden leaked information from the NSA. | The Guardian via Getty Images
  • For more than 60 years, no woman has been at the helm of the NSA.

The National Security Agency is responsible for collecting and processing intelligence information. And maybe women have been smart in avoiding this director job. The agency is not without its controversies, as recently evidence by Edward Snowden. But still, since the agency officially formed in 1952 there has been no woman at the top.
Next: Here’s another agency that deals in intelligence.

5. Director of the CIA

CIA headquarters
The CIA symbol is shown on the floor of CIA headquarters. | Mark Wilson/Getty Images
  • There were 19 male directors of Central Intelligence before the role was restructured.

Prior to 2005, the director of the Central Intelligence Agency actually had a broader role as the director of Central Intelligence. Then, the intelligence community went through a restructure, and the role was split in two. Regardless of the reorganization, since it was established in 1946 no woman has held the director position.
Next: The CIA often works with this next organization.

6. Director of the FBI

James Comey
Former FBI director James Comey | Chip Somodevilla/Getty Images
  • All FBI directors have been men since 1908.

Just like the CIA, no woman has been the director of the Federal Bureau of Investigation. Since its formation in 1908, the FBI has seen all male leaders. The president appoints the director with Senate confirmation. In 2013, the Obama administration considered a woman, Lisa Monaco, to be the next director, but instead the job went to James Comey. Monaco actually might have dodged a bullet there.
Next: Women have had a difficult road securing Cabinet positions, too.

7. Secretary of Defense

President Donald Trump stands with Secretary of Defense James Mattis.
President Donald Trump stands with Secretary of Defense James Mattis. | Mark Wilson/Getty Images
  • There have been 26 male secretaries.

Rounding out our defense-related roles, a woman has never held the position of secretary of Defense. Women have had a difficult time in general in securing Cabinet positions. And since the role’s formation in 1947, all 26 secretaries have been men.
Next: We go from one Cabinet position to another.

8. Secretary of Treasury

Treasury Secretary Steven Mnuchin
Treasury Secretary Steven Mnuchin | Drew Angerer/Getty Images
  • There have been 77 secretaries — all men.

Although Treasury Secretary Steven Mnuchin’s wife might’ve stolen the spotlight from him, still no woman has held her husband’s job. Since its formation all the way back in 1789, all 77 Treasury secretaries have been men.
Next: This is the other Cabinet position a woman hasn’t held.

9. Secretary of Veterans Affairs

U.S. Secretary of Veterans Affairs David Shulkin
U.S. Secretary of Veterans Affairs David Shulkin | Jim Watson/AFP/Getty Images

There have only been nine secretaries of Veterans Affairs since the department formed in 1988. President Ronald Reagan was the one who elevated the position to the Cabinet, putting the secretary in the line of presidential succession. Although it’s not a requirement of the position, all secretaries have been veterans. So potentially as women’s involvement in the military grows, we could see a female secretary in the near future.
Next: Women have come close to snagging this job.

10. UN secretary-general

UN Secretary-General Antonio Guterres
UN Secretary-General António Guterres | Drew Angerer/Getty Images

The United Nations has yet to have a female secretary-general since its first was elected in 1946. It seems there are cracks forming in this glass ceiling though. Both the U.S. and U.K. have been vocal about their desire for a female secretary-general, and in 2016 half the candidates for the post were women. In the end, the job went to António Guterres, but it wouldn’t be surprising to see a woman in the job sooner rather than later.
Next: It’s in the rulebook for a man to hold this job.

11. Catholic priest

Pope Francis
Pope Francis | Tiziana Fabi/AFP/Getty Images
  • Pope Francis might be progressive in some regards, but he doesn’t seem open to changing this rule.

The Catholic Church restricts the priesthood to men because it says Jesus only chose men to be apostles. Although the rule has been met with criticism, it doesn’t seem like it will change anytime soon. Pope Francis recently said the restriction should stand but added that women hold other important roles in the church.
Next: Women haven’t held this key role in the White House either.

12. White House chief of staff

White House Chief of Staff John Kelly
White House Chief of Staff John Kelly | Drew Angerer/Getty Images
  • Donald Trump has already gone through two chiefs of staff.

We had C.J. Cregg on The West Wing, but still no woman has been chief of staff in the real West Wing. The president’s right-hand man always has been just that: a man. The president appoints the chief of staff without needing Senate confirmation, and the duties vary depending on the administration. Traditionally the chief of staff manages the president’s schedule and arranges meetings.
Next: Many states still lack one of these.

13. Governor in 22 states

Nikki Haley
Former South Carolina Governor Nikki Haley | Joe Raedle/Getty Images

Nellie Tayloe Ross was the first female governor, winning a special election in Wyoming back in 1925. And Miriam Ferguson was inaugurated just 15 days after Ross in Texas.
But 22 states still haven’t seen a female governor. They are: Arkansas, California, Colorado, Florida, Georgia, Idaho, Illinois, Indiana, Maine, Maryland, Minnesota, Mississippi, Missouri, Nevada, New York, North Dakota, Pennsylvania, South Dakota, Tennessee, Virginia, West Virginia, Wisconsin. Iowa had been on that list until 2017 when Lieutenant Governor Kim Reynolds assumed the governorship after the incumbent’s resignation.
Next: Two women have come close to this job.

14. Vice president of the United States

Sarah Palin
Sarah Palin | T.J. Kirkpatrick/Getty Images
  • Sarah Palin and Geraldine Ferraro were the only women nominated by major parties as vice presidential candidates.

Five women have been candidates for vice president, with only two nominated by major political parties. Geraldine Ferraro came close to the vice presidency in 1984 when she was on the Democratic ticket with Walter Mondale. Sarah Palin was next in 2008 on the Republican ticket with John McCain.
But both women fell short of the office. President Ronald Reagan and Vice President George H.W. Bush, the incumbents, defeated Mondale and Ferraro. And Barack Obama and Joe Biden made their own history with their win over McCain and Palin.
Next: This last job is fresh on everyone’s mind.

15. President of the United States

Hillary Clinton
Hillary Clinton was almost the first woman to become president of the United States. | Win McNamee/Getty Images
  • Hillary Clinton came closer than any woman to the presidency.

Several have tried, and all have failed. In total, 14 women have sought the U.S. presidency. It began with a woman named Victoria Claflin Woodhull way back in 1872, who ran as part of the Equal Rights Party against Ulysses S. Grant and Horace Greeley. Woodhull wasn’t elected, but she broke another glass ceiling as the first woman to own a Wall Street investment firm.
And if nothing else, Clinton severely weakened that presidential glass ceiling in 2016 when she received the Democratic Party’s nomination. But the country is still waiting for its first female president.

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