Date on Master's Thesis/Doctoral Dissertation


Document Type

Master's Thesis

Degree Name



Political Science

Committee Chair

Rhodebeck, Laurie

Author's Keywords

American politics; Bureaucracy; Gender discrimination; US cabinet; Male privilege


Women cabinet officers; Cabinet system--United States; Sex discrimination--Government policy--United States; Budget process--United States


The persistent private sector wage gap between men and women is one of the more intractable deficiencies of modem American society. It may be symptomatic of male privilege, a theory that outlines pervasive, ubiquitous discrimination that favors men from birth until death. However, egalitarian wage laws passed by Congress rigidly enforce equal pay for equal work at the highest echelons of public service, including Congress, the Cabinet, and the presidency. Is male privilege likely to manifest despite such legislation? If we assume that members of the Cabinet are lobbyists or representatives of their agencies, with Congress as the constituent, pervasive discrimination against women might result in reduced budgetary capacity for female-run Cabinet agencies. This project examines the budgetary outlays data of the US Cabinet from 1962-2011 to examine whether or not the sex of secretaries in the Cabinet influence the size of their department's budget. The results show that there is a relationship between gender and budget size, but other characteristics of Cabinet secretaries are more influential, such as marital status, career choice, and level of education.