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Number of female state government leaders grows

The number of female state government leaders is on the rise in Wisconsin.

A new study by the University of Albany says almost 36.5 percent of the advisers and department heads appointed by Gov. Jim Doyle are women.

That's a little higher than the national average of 35 percent. But Wisconsin women did not make as much progress over the last decade as their colleagues nationally.

The percentage of female government leaders rose by about 6 percent in Wisconsin, while the nation had a 7 percent increase.

Still, Judith Saidel, the study's lead author, says women are doing better than they were in 1997, with gains reported in 36 states.

The Badger State ranks 21st in the percentage of female leaders. That's up from 24th a decade ago.

Also, Wisconsin has the nation's seventh-highest percentage of black state government leaders compared to its overall population.

Five of Doyle's 33 appointees were African-American as of last year, or about 15 percent.

That percentage is higher than the 13.5 percent of overall Wisconsinites who are black.