Sex, Survival, and Scandal: A Comparison of How Men and Women Exit Presidential Cabinets Academic Article uri icon


  • The process of selecting cabinet ministers often takes place behind closed doors, including weighing the need to balance or manage factions within the president's party and/or coalition partners; addressing demands for diversity in the cabinet, such as appointment of women or other historically underrepresented groups; sending signals about the administration's policy agenda; and enabling the president to have people he or she trusts close at hand. On the other hand, ministerial exits are usually less private affairs. In some cases they come after weeks of public or congressional scrutiny and criticism of ministers for policy failures or follow extended speculation about who will lose their seat when the president reshuffles the cabinet. Some ministers depart to pursue lucrative private-sector opportunities. Other ministers switch posts but stay in government. How ministers exit can have implications for the administration since a president who is frequently forced to shuffle the cabinet or sack ministers looks ineffective, and comparisons to rats and sinking ships are difficult to avoid in the wake of excessive changes. At the same time, an administration with zero turnover may also not be healthy, as it would suggest that presidents are staidly bound to their initial course of action and unable (or unwilling) to adapt to changing circumstances.

published proceedings


altmetric score

  • 23.35

author list (cited authors)

  • Escobar-Lemmon, M. C., & Taylor-Robinson, M. M.

citation count

  • 5

complete list of authors

  • Escobar-Lemmon, Maria C||Taylor-Robinson, Michelle M

publication date

  • December 2015