On the June 7 edition of the FOX News Channel morning show FOX & Friends, co-host E.D. Hill falsely stated that former President Ronald Reagan appointed the first female Cabinet secretary in the United States.
Introducing guest Senator Elizabeth Dole (R-NC), who became Reagan's Transportation secretary in 1983, Hill said:
Ronald Reagan, women's libber? Not necessarily the first thing that comes to mind, but as a young woman growing up at that time, here's the guy that I remember as appointing the first female Cabinet secretary and the first female on the Supreme Court.
In fact, four previous presidents had appointed a total of six women to Cabinet positions before Reagan took office, according to a Fact Sheet by Women's eNews. Reagan appointed three women to his Cabinet, but former President Franklin Roosevelt appointed the first woman to a Cabinet post nearly 50 years earlier. Former Presidents Dwight Eisenhower, Gerald Ford, and Jimmy Carter also appointed women to their Cabinets.
Roosevelt appointed Frances Perkins to be secretary of Labor in 1933. Eisenhower appointed Oveta Culp Hobby to be the first secretary of the Department of Health, Education, and Welfare in 1953, making her the second woman to hold a Cabinet position. In 1975, Ford appointed Carla Hills to be secretary of Housing and Urban Development. Carter appointed three women to Cabinet positions: Juanita Kreps as secretary of Commerce in 1977; Patricia Harris as secretary of Housing and Urban Development in 1977 and as secretary of Health, Education, and Welfare in 1979 (the department was renamed Health and Human Services in 1980); and Shirley M. Hufstedler as secretary of Education in 1979.