Descriptive representation by gender and race/ethnicity in municipal bureaucracies change in US multiethnic cities, 1987-2001
We explore the extent of employment inequalities between Latinas, African American women, and white (non-Latina) women (and their coethnics) in public sector managerial positions in multiethnic US cities. Our analysis of Equal Employment Opportunity Commission (EEOC) data from 1987 and 2001 indicates that all groups of women suffer from underrepresentation at the administrator level, especially in agencies that have regulatory and distributive policy commitments, but that Latinas and African American women show the lowest levels of representation. Moreover, Latinas and African American women are substantially underrepresented among professional workforces in almost all municipal departments; however, white (non-Latina) women achieve parity in many cities. Among pairs of coethnics (e.g. African American females versus African American males), we find that males are usually better represented than females, but even in multiethnic cities large disparities remain between white males and all other groups in the ability to claim and retain the most prestigious municipal government positions. We are concerned that the continuing lack of progress made by members of traditionally disadvantaged groups may further compromise the representativeness and legitimacy of bureaucracies in many multiethnic cites—and may also present a serious barrier to addressing important public policy challenges in these cities.