Dashboard Reflections: Population Size, Form of Government & Gender

Posted on July 26, 2018

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Each week, we’ll be doing three key things with the Diversity Dashboard:

  1. Updating the Diversity Dashboard with new survey data
  2. Sharing a reflection post on the Diversity Dashboard findings
  3. Communicating response rates on a state by state basis

The Diversity Dashboard is an evolving, growing tool that helps us better understand local government leadership in 2018. Want to sign up to blog with your reflections? Sign up here.

Learn more about the Diversity Dashboard in the articles from Route Fifty and Government Technology.

Today’s reflection post is by Stacy Schweikhart, ELGL Board Member.

As we launched the Diversity Dashboard effort, I wanted to analyze whether women tend to lead communities with a smaller population and thus may not be showing up in any existing data. I also wondered if the form of government was correlated to the likelihood that women would be in leadership roles.

The data in the Diversity Dashboard is unique because it compiles data on the leaders of all forms of local government. For the first time ever, you can see strong mayor communities and cities/counties led by administrators in the same data set as small villages, townships and special districts. You can examine data on leadership by population size. ELGL’s #localgov Diversity Dashboard offers the opportunity to then sort this data to compare with several other data points.

The Diversity Dashboard data, based on responses to date, proves the theory most in the local government professional have suspected based on anecdotal accounts.

Population size is divided into quartiles. The first quartile is the group of smallest population size as reported by respondents, and the population sizes grow in each progressive quartile. The fourth quartile represents the largest community populations in the data set. (You can access this data using the handy preformatted reports on the left side of the screen).

The highest concentration of women in leadership roles is in communities with the smallest reported population in the data set.

In the first quartile by population size, women represent 41% of leadership & men represent 57%. (2% not reporting)













The lowest concentration of women in leadership roles is in communities with the largest reported population in the data set. In the fourth quartile by population size, women represent 29% of leadership & men represent 70%.















The current Diversity Dashboard data does not indicate a significant correlation between the form of government and the likelihood that women serve in the top leadership role.

  • In “other forms” which includes towns, townships, villages and other small forms of government, women represent 23% of leadership.
  • In Mayor-Council forms of government, women represent 29% of leadership.
  • In Council – Manager forms of government, women represent 27% of leadership.

As we continue to grow the dashboard and add more surveys to it, these cross tabs will become even more useful as we tease out the trends across states and regions where there’s greater diversity in leadership.

What are you seeing in the Diversity Dashboard? We want to hear your findings and your reflections on the data. Sign up here to write for ELGL!

And don’t forget – we’re continuing to collect survey data and will update the Dashboard each week so submit your survey data today!

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