RI making progress in closing political gender gap

By DAVID KLEPPER | November 13, 2011 | 12:15 PM EST

PROVIDENCE, R.I. (AP) — Rhode Island is making progress in breaking a long-standing glass ceiling when it comes to women in politics — just as Gov. Lincoln Chafee (CHAY'-fee) promised.

Of nearly 500 appointments made by Chafee, 45 percent are women. And women serve as lieutenant governor, treasurer and senate president.

A year ago, Chafee pledged to double the number of women appointed to positions by the governor. Before he took office in January, the percentage was 15 percent.

Susan Farmer was elected the state's first female Secretary of State in 1982. She says more must be done to involve women in politics.

Rhode Island has never elected a female governor or U.S. Senator, and has elected only one woman to Congress. Twenty-five percent of the state's General Assembly are women.