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Biden Cabinet picks feature record number of women and women of color

DEENA ZARU
·3 min read
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Inauguration Day already was historic for women, with Kamala Harris becoming the first woman and person of color to become vice president, and she soon could be joined by a similarly record-breaking Cabinet.

Twelve of Biden's nominations for Cabinet and Cabinet-level positions are women, including eight women of color, and if they're all confirmed it would shatter former President Bill Clinton's record of nine women serving concurrently, which happened during his second term.

When former President Donald Trump was in office, six women served at the same time, excluding two who served in acting roles, per Rutgers University's Center of American Women and Politics

Biden's top-level appointees and Cabinet picks

"Joe Biden made a commitment during his campaign that he would work to be sure that his administration looks like the constituencies it serves," Kelly Dittmar, director of research at CAWP, told ABC News. "I think what we're seeing in his Cabinet is that he's gotten pretty close to making good on that promise."

"These women will bring diverse lived experiences and perspectives to the work that they do, which is some of the most important policy work for the country," she added. "They're heading agencies that will set the terms and agenda for the next four years."

Joe Biden faces widening intraparty divide as he pledges to unite a fractured nation

Here are the women nominated to Cabinet and Cabinet-level positions by Biden:

Rep. Marcia Fudge, D-Ohio, has been nominated to serve as secretary of Housing and Urban Development. She's a former chair of the Congressional Black Caucus.

PHOTO: Rep. Marcia Fudge, D-Ohio, walks into her Rayburn Building office after talking with reporters about her possible run for House speaker on Nov. 16, 2018.  (CQ-Roll Call via Getty Images, FILE)
PHOTO: Rep. Marcia Fudge, D-Ohio, walks into her Rayburn Building office after talking with reporters about her possible run for House speaker on Nov. 16, 2018. (CQ-Roll Call via Getty Images, FILE)

Former Michigan Gov. Jennifer Granholm, who worked closely with the Obama administration amid the 2009 recession, has been nominated to head the Department of Energy.

PHOTO: Jennifer Granholm, speaks at the Queen theater in Wilmington, Del., Dec. 19, 2020. (Joshua Roberts/Getty Images, FILE)
PHOTO: Jennifer Granholm, speaks at the Queen theater in Wilmington, Del., Dec. 19, 2020. (Joshua Roberts/Getty Images, FILE)

Isabel Guzman, director of the Office of the Small Business Advocate in California, has been selected to serve as administrator of the Small Business Administration.

PHOTO: Isabel Guzman speaks during an event at The Queen theater in Wilmington, Del., Jan. 8, 2021.  (Susan Walsh/AP, FILE)
PHOTO: Isabel Guzman speaks during an event at The Queen theater in Wilmington, Del., Jan. 8, 2021. (Susan Walsh/AP, FILE)

Rep. Deb Haaland, D-N.M., who made history by becoming one of the first two Native American women elected to Congress in 2018, has been nominated to lead the Department of the Interior. If confirmed by the Senate, Haaland would be the first Native person to oversee an agency that played a major role historically in the forced relocation and oppression of Indigenous people.

PHOTO: Rep. Deb Haaland at the Back the Thrive Agenda press conference in Washington, Sept. 10, 2020. (Jemal Countess/Getty Images, FILE)
PHOTO: Rep. Deb Haaland at the Back the Thrive Agenda press conference in Washington, Sept. 10, 2020. (Jemal Countess/Getty Images, FILE)

Haaland makes history as Department of the Interior nominee

Avril Haines was selected for the role of director of national intelligence. Haines is a former deputy director of the CIA and principal deputy national security adviser under the Obama administration -- the first woman to hold both roles.

PHOTO: Avril Haines speaks during a Senate Intelligence Committee confirmation hearing in Washington, Jan. 19, 2021. (Bloomberg via Getty Images, FILE)
PHOTO: Avril Haines speaks during a Senate Intelligence Committee confirmation hearing in Washington, Jan. 19, 2021. (Bloomberg via Getty Images, FILE)

Rhode Island Gov. Gina Raimondo was nominated to head the Department of Commerce. She was elected governor in 2014 and is a former chair of the Democratic Governors Association.

PHOTO:Gov. Gina M. Raimondo conducts a press conference at Veterans Memorial Auditorium in Providence, RI on Jan. 13, 2021.  (Boston Globe via Getty Images, FILE)
PHOTO:Gov. Gina M. Raimondo conducts a press conference at Veterans Memorial Auditorium in Providence, RI on Jan. 13, 2021. (Boston Globe via Getty Images, FILE)

Cecilia Rouse Chair, an economist and dean of Princeton University's School of Public and International Affairs, was nominated to lead the president's Council of Economic Advisers.

PHOTO: Cecilia Rouse speaks at The Queen Theatre in Wilmington, Del., on Dec. 1, 2020. (AFP via Getty Images, FILE)
PHOTO: Cecilia Rouse speaks at The Queen Theatre in Wilmington, Del., on Dec. 1, 2020. (AFP via Getty Images, FILE)

Katherine Tai, who serves as chief trade counsel for the United States House Committee on Ways and Means, was chosen for the position of U.S. trade representative.

PHOTO: Katherine Tai speaks in Wilmington, Del., Dec. 11, 2020.  (Mike Segar/Reuters, FILE)
PHOTO: Katherine Tai speaks in Wilmington, Del., Dec. 11, 2020. (Mike Segar/Reuters, FILE)

Neera Tanden, a political consultant and president of the Center of American Progress, was nominated to serve as director of the Office of Management and Budget.

PHOTO: Neera Tanden speaks at The Queen theater in Wilmington, Del., Dec. 1, 2020. (Andrew Harnik/AP, FILE)
PHOTO: Neera Tanden speaks at The Queen theater in Wilmington, Del., Dec. 1, 2020. (Andrew Harnik/AP, FILE)

Linda Thomas-Greenfield, a career foreign service officer who served as assistant secretary of state for Africa during the Obama administration, was tapped to serve as U.S. ambassador to the United Nations.

PHOTO: Linda Thomas-Greenfield speaks at The Queen theater in Wilmington, Del., Nov. 24, 2020.  (Carolyn Kaster/AP, FILE)
PHOTO: Linda Thomas-Greenfield speaks at The Queen theater in Wilmington, Del., Nov. 24, 2020. (Carolyn Kaster/AP, FILE)

Janet Yellen, the first woman to head the Federal Reserve, was nominated as secretary of the U.S. Treasury.

PHOTO: Janet Yellen arrives for the Jackson Hole economic symposium, in Moran, Wyo., Aug. 22, 2019. (Bloomberg via Getty Images, FILE)
PHOTO: Janet Yellen arrives for the Jackson Hole economic symposium, in Moran, Wyo., Aug. 22, 2019. (Bloomberg via Getty Images, FILE)

As it takes shape, the Biden administration has been widely praised for being the most diverse in history, but some progressives have voiced concerns over lobbying and corporate ties of some nominees.

Progressives worry about lobbying, corporate ties in Biden administration

Nominees like Tanden have drawn intense criticism from Republicans, with some vowing to block her confirmation.

Once the gavel switches and incoming Democratic Georgia Sens. Jon Ossoff and Raphael Warnock are sworn in, the Democratic Party will hold a slim majority in the upper chamber, with Harris as the tie-breaking vote.

ABC News' Shannon K. Crawford, Libby Cathey and Meredith Deliso contributed to this report.

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