By Zephyr Teachout and Kelly Nuxoll
The following piece was produced by the Huffington Post's OffTheBus project.
The leadership of the major presidential campaigns is dominated by men, with the Democratic campaigns slightly more balanced than Republicans.
An analysis of recently released federal disclosure documents reveals that while women make up 40% of overall staff, they hold 32% of the 88 senior positions among the top eight national campaigns. Click here to see the numbers, broken down by campaign.
Power is difficult to discern, but the relative influence of women within presidential campaigns can be partially gauged by gender ratios among salaried operatives playing strategic leadership and advisory roles, the top twenty best-paid individuals, and staff who were paid more than $9000 in the last quarter.
The campaign of Republican Mike Huckabee achieves the closest gender balance at a near 50% division between men and women on all measures (it is also the smallest of all the major campaigns). The campaigns of Democrats Hillary Clinton and Bill Richardson, and Republican Mitt Romney are also fairly balanced, with Clinton's somewhat favoring women and Richardson's and Romney's somewhat favoring men. The most gender-skewed campaign, in contrast, is that of Rudy Giuliani.
In the campaign of the former New York mayor Giuliani, there is only one senior female staffer, who holds the title of Communications Director. Fewer than one-third of Giuliani's staff who earned $9000 or more in the last quarter are women, and just a quarter of his top twenty paid staff are women.
The Democrats' campaigns are more gender-balanced than Republicans'. Just over thirty percent of Republican senior staffers are women, compared to just under 33% of Democratic senior staffers. And there are ten more top salaried women in Democratic campaigns: 32 of 80 (40%) compared to 21 of 74 (28%) in Republican campaigns.
Each campaign has its own organizational structure but this review focuses on traditional senior staff: campaign manager, deputy campaign manager, and directors of critical campaign functions, including operations, finance, communications, field, policy, research, Internet, and political strategy. In addition, the review considered chief pollsters and lead media consultants, as well as senior advisors confirmed by the campaign staff and who appeared on the FEC reports as making more than $20,000 in the last quarter.
Among the campaigns reviewed -- those of Clinton, Edwards, Huckabee, Obama, Richardson, Romney, and Thompson -- women play all these strategic leadership roles, with the exception of pollster and Political Director. However, women are far more likely to hold positions in finance and internal operations.
Some studies of gender and leadership suggest that less-balanced campaigns may be hindering themselves by not employing a more substantial number of women in their most senior positions. "Evidence of a link between the bottom line and women at the top is growing," writes the Financial Times, summing up research on a number of recent studies correlating corporate success with significant female leadership.
A just-released report by the management consulting firm McKinsey suggests that "companies where women are most strongly represented at board or top-management level are also the companies that perform best"--not only financially, but also in accountability, innovation, and work environment. The Harvard Business Review, in a separate study, found that to benefit from women's participation, a corporate board needs at least three female directors.
Arguably, female leadership on presidential campaigns is even more important than in the boardroom. After all, presidential campaigns must engage the American public--including an electorate that is majority female.
Here's a cumulative ranking of senior staff gender breakdown of the major campaigns:
HUCKABEE--Balanced, slightly favors women
Senior Staff: 4 of 6 (Communications Director, Finance Director, Field Director, Policy Director)
Top 15 paid staff: 8 women, 7 men
All paid over $9K/3rd quarter: 8 of 15 (53%)
CLINTON--Balanced, but favors women
Senior Staff: 8 of 14 (Campaign Manager, Chief Media Strategist, Traveling Chief of Staff, Policy Director, Director of Operations, 3 well-paid Senior Advisors)
Top 20 paid staff: 12 women, 8 men
All paid over $9K/3rd quarter: 85 of 161 (52%)
RICHARDSON--Balanced, but favors men
Senior Staff: 4 of 11 (Deputy Campaign Manager, Finance Director, Internet Director, one Senior Finance Advisor)
Top 20 paid staff: 8 women, 12 men
All paid over $9K/3rd quarter: 15 of 38 (39%)
ROMNEY--Balanced, but favors men
Senior Staff: 4 of 11 (Campaign Manager, Policy Director, Operations Director, Internet Director)
Top 20 paid staff: 7 women, 13 men
All paid over $9K/3rd quarter: 51 of 126 (40%)
OBAMA--Few women the top
Senior Staff: 3 of 12 (Research Director, COO, Finance Director)
Top 20 paid staff: 5 women, 15 men
All paid over $9K/3rd quarter: 67 out of 150 gender identified (45%)
EDWARDS--Few women at the top
Senior Staff: 2 of 15 (Research Director, Chief of Staff)
Top 20 paid staff: 7 women, 13 men
All paid over $9K/3rd quarter: 34 of 92 (37%)
THOMPSON--Few women at the top
Senior Staff: 2 of 9 (Research Director, Finance Director)
Top 20 paid staff: 4 women, 16 men
All paid over $9K/3rd quarter: 11 of 37 (30%)
Senior Staff: 1 of 10 (Communications Director)
Top 20 identified paid staff: 4 women, 15 men, 1 unknown gender
All paid over $9K/3rd quarter: 36 of 122 (29.5%) [four unknown gender]
River Curtis-Stanley, Saba Kenedy-Washington, Daniella Kamis-Brown, Sandra P. Thompson, Kirstin Michel, Steven Greenberg, Jeanie Molloff, Paul Abroms, and Bryan Bissell also contributed reporting to this piece.