In his eight years as Governor, John Ashcroft was also criticized for failing to demonstrate any genuine commitment to including women in the highest levels of his administration. For example, in 1989, the News-Leader reported that "[i]n national surveys on gubernatorial appointments of women to high-level administrative posts, Ashcroft has consistently ranked at or near the bottom compared with chief executives in other states." News-Leader, Dec. 9, 1989. That same year, a survey by the National Women’s Political Caucus revealed that Ashcroft was the only governor in the country with an appointed Cabinet that did not include any women, ranking Ashcroft last among the nation’s 40 governors. "Ashcroft’s Men-Only Cabinet Noted," Kansas City Times, Feb. 25, 1989. In 1990, after serving as Governor for five years, Ashcroft had one woman in his Cabinet. In a 1991 editorial, the St. Louis Post-Dispatch took Ashcroft to task for the dearth of women in his Cabinet, noting that
- The new GOP governor of Illinois, Jim Edgar, managed to find five women [for his Cabinet] -- well educated and experienced in business and government - while two-term GOP governor of Missouri, John Ashcroft, has seemingly been able to find only one. Maybe the Illinois experience suggests that the Missouri governor has not been searching very hard. When the National Women’s Political Caucus questioned Mr. Ashcroft’s choices several years ago, he said he couldn’t find the right women for his administration. Mr. Edgar obviously feels comfortable having women as advisors. The contrast with Missouri speaks for itself.
"Comfortable With Women?" St. Louis Post-Dispatch, Feb. 6, 1991.
Despite the criticism, Ashcroft ranked third from the bottom in appointing women to his cabinet according to NWPC’s 1992 survey. Riverfront Times (Jan. 27-Feb. 2, 1993, at 17).