The XX Factor

Dear Hillary Clinton, Here Are Slate’s Picks for Your All-Female Cabinet

Picture Hillary Clinton and Elizabeth Warren at a tableful of ladies. Shown campaigning in Cincinnati on June 27.

John Sommers II/Getty Images

Hillary Clinton has promised to fill at least half the seats on her Cabinet with women, the New York Times reports. That would be nothing short of revolutionary—women have never exceeded about a third of the Cabinet—but while the first female president is making history, she may as well go all the way. Slate’s writers and editors put our heads together and came up with our recommendations for the first all-female Cabinet. Madame President, you’re welcome.


Vice President: Elizabeth Warren—a controversial pick, even within the Slate offices. Here’s Michelle Goldberg on why a Clinton-Warren ticket would invigorate the campaign, and Jamelle Bouie on the devastating hole that Warren would leave in the Senate.

Secretary of State: Susan Rice, who should have had the job in 2012.


Secretary of the Treasury: Anat Admati, the Stanford economist famous for saying that “the bankers have no clothes.”

Secretary of Defense: Michèle Flournoy, who will likely actually get the job.

Attorney General: Kamala Harris, the California attorney general who “is trying to chart a middle course on the Democratic Party’s most contentious issue: criminal justice,” as the Times Magazine has written.

Secretary of the Interior: Frances Beinecke, longtime head of the National Resources Defense Council, a foremost conservation group.


Secretary of Agriculture: Michelle Obama, the only person we trust to make our nation healthier.

Secretary of Commerce: Jeanne Shaheen, ranking member of the Senate’s Small Business and Entrepreneurship Committee.

Secretary of Labor: Phyllis Borzi, current assistant secretary for employee benefits security.

Secretary of Health and Human Services: Kirsten Gillibrand.* She went from voting with the National Rifle Association to tirelessly shaming its supporters. She’s been an advocate of women’s rights and reproductive health, too.

Secretary of Housing and Urban Development: Annise Parker, former Houston mayor and among the first openly gay mayors of a major U.S. city.

Secretary of Transportation: Janette Sadik-Khan, former commissioner of the New York City Department of Transportation.

Secretary of Energy: Cathy Zoi, Stanford professor and former assistant secretary for energy efficiency and eenewable energy at the Department of Energy.


Secretary of Education: Diane Ravitch, an education historian who went from advocating charter schools and testing to opposing them.

Secretary of Veterans Affairs: Tammy Duckworth, who lost both of her legs in the U.S. Army and became the first disabled woman elected to the U.S. House of Representatives.

Secretary of Homeland Security: Loretta Lynch, who has sought to reform policing tactics as attorney general (while dealing with the Clinton email mess).

And here’s who we’d put in the additional Cabinet-level positions:


White House Chief of Staff: Huma Abedin, because no one has more experience managing the politics of Clintonworld.

Administrator of the Environmental Protection Agency: Janet McCabe, acting assistant administrator for the Office of Air and Radiation who could provide some continuity as the agency tries to finish implementing its Clean Power Plan.


Director of the Office of Management and Budget: Sallie Krawcheck, former CFO of Citigroup who launched an investment adviser solely to boost women in business.

United States Trade Representative: Anne-Marie Slaughter, president and CEO of New America who, in addition to penning feminist tracts, is an international law expert and former director of policy planning at the State Department.*

United States Ambassador to the United Nations: Melinda Gates, whose Bill & Melinda Gates Foundation is the largest private donor to aid and development in the world.

Chair of the Council of Economic Advisers: Mary Jo White, current chairwoman of the Securities and Exchange Commission.

Administrator of the Small Business Administration: Margot Dorfman, co-founder and CEO of the U.S. Women’s Chamber of Commerce, dedicated “to promoting the economic and leadership interest of women.”

Correction, July 5, 2016: This post originally misspelled Sen. Kirsten Gillibrand’s first name. It also misidentified New America as the New America Foundation.