The Huge Gender Gap in Nominations to the United States Service Academies

A new report from the Connecticut Veterans Legal Center finds that women are vastly underrepresented in nominations to U.S. military academies made by U.S. congressional representatives.

Using nearly 25 years of nominations data obtained from the admissions offices at the U.S. Military Academy, the U.S. Naval Academy , and U.S. Air Force Academy , the report ranks members of the current Congress based on the percentage of women they have nominated to these prestigious, taxpayer-funded institutions since taking office. The rankings, which include each member of the 116th Congress who has nominated more than 10 total candidates, reveal nomination rates that range from 3 percent women to 55 percent women.

The key findings of the report include:

  • In every year since 1995, women have never exceeded 27 percent of the nominees of current members of Congress to the service academies.
  • The nomination gap cuts across party lines. Democrats in Congress have nominated women 22 percent of the time, while 20 percent of all nominations by Republicans have been women.
  • Only one member of the House or Senate has nominated more women than men to the service academies: Aumua Amata Coleman Radewagen, the Republican delegate from American Samoa. The 435 other members and delegates of Congress have all nominated more men than women.
  • Out of the 436 current voting members and delegates of Congress analyzed, 48 have female nomination rates of 15 percent or lower. More than 40 percent of current members have nomination rates for women of 20 percent or lower.

“Nearly every young person who wants to attend a military service academy must secure a congressional nomination to become eligible for admission,” said Liam Brennan, executive director of the Connecticut Veterans Legal Center. “This makes members of Congress essential gatekeepers to the admissions process. But the dramatic gender disparity in nomination rates means that members, including many who are deeply committed to gender equality, have failed to recruit and nominate exceptional young women to the academies.”

The full report, Gatekeepers to Opportunity: Gender Disparities in Congressional Nominations to the Military Service Academies, may be downloaded by clicking here.

Filed Under: Gender GapResearch/Study

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