WASHINGTON — With his Cabinet confirmed and a significant share of other senior appointments in place, President Biden is on track to achieve something never before seen in the U.S. — an administration with a majority of senior positions filled by women.

Through Friday morning, Biden has nominated or announced 84 senior appointments that require Senate confirmation — 24 in his Cabinet and 60 to sub-Cabinet positions and senior spots in federal agencies — and 56% of those appointments have gone to women. Among the sub-Cabinet positions, just over 60% have gone to women, including Rachel Levine, whose confirmation as assistant secretary for health at the Department of Health and Human Services made her the first openly transgender person to win Senate approval.

Nearly half of the sub-Cabinet nominations to date have gone to people of color.

The administration has also named hundreds of people to staff jobs that don’t require a Senate vote, and although the statistics aren’t complete on those, the same pattern appears to be holding true.

The administration is, of course, still in its early going, and Biden has hundreds more senior positions to fill at federal departments, boards and agencies, not to mention nominations of federal judges — the first wave of those could come as early as this week — and ambassadors, which are likely to start rolling out in April.

So the percentages could still change, but the share of top posts going to women has stayed consistent so far. It shows that Biden has made significant strides on a campaign promise that matters to a large number of Democratic voters.

The quest for diversity in appointments hasn’t been entirely smooth for Biden. The inner circle of longtime advisors around him are men, with the exception of his sister, Valerie Biden Owens, who managed his first Senate campaign and has remained a close advisor.

During the campaign, Biden successfully widened that circle. Then, in the transition, amid competition for a limited supply of Cabinet slots, advocates for historically underrepresented groups each pressed the Biden team to do more.

That pressure has continued. Last week, for example, Sens. Tammy Duckworth of Illinois and Mazie Hirono of Hawaii briefly threatened to hold up confirmation of some nominees to protest the shortage of Asian Americans in the Cabinet. Although Katherine Tai, the U.S. trade representative, has Cabinet rank, none of the 15 traditional Cabinet departments is headed by an Asian American.

The next development in that debate probably will come as Biden decides who will replace Neera Tanden, a woman of Indian descent, as his nominee to head the Office of Management and Budget, a Cabinet-level post. Tanden withdrew her name last month after it became clear that her nomination would not get through the Senate.

Many members of Congress have publicly supported Shalanda Young, who was sworn in Friday as the budget office’s deputy director and will serve as its acting chief. Young is a Black woman. But Rep. Judy Chu (D-Monterey Park), who chairs the Congressional Asian Pacific American Caucus, is among the Asian American and Pacific Islander leaders calling for someone from their community to get that post.

Even as that issue is hashed out, Biden’s appointments so far have set new marks for diversity. Of the traditional Cabinet departments, six are headed by white men, and one of them, Secretary of Transportation Pete Buttigieg, is the first openly gay man to head a Cabinet department.

“President Biden believes that the full participation of everyone — including women and girls — across all aspects of our society is essential to the well-being, health and security of the United States, and to making our government more representative,” Deputy Press Secretary Karine Jean-Pierre said in a statement. “We are proud that throughout the administration, including at the White House, the leadership is majority women, and we remain committed to building an administration that is reflective of America.”

On gender, Biden’s record so far represents “a point of significant progress,” said Kelly Dittmar, a political scientist at the Center for American Women and Politics at Rutgers University in New Jersey.

On the eve of World War II, what was then known as the Women’s Bureau at the Department of Labor prepared a report on women’s employment in government for Frances Perkins, President Franklin D. Roosevelt’s secretary of Labor and the first woman to hold a Cabinet post.

Women made up one-fifth of the federal workforce at that point, “largely, as before, in the usual clerical fields,” the report said.

That picture changed, but only gradually. After Perkins, no woman headed a Cabinet agency until 1975, when President Fordappointed Carla Hillsto head the Department of Housing and Urban Development.

Into the 1990s, such appointments were still scarce, Dittmar said. When President Clinton won election in 1992, he pledged to make diversity a major aspect of his appointments, and his administration set a high point for women in the Cabinet that none of his successors matched until Biden.

Biden, she said, had set a “new benchmark” against which future administrations will be measured.

Statistics can measure the change; gauging the impact is harder.

“Just because a woman is elected or appointed doesn’t mean you all of a sudden get a child-care bill passed,” Dittmar said. But bringing a greater diversity of voices and experiences into debates clearly changes the nature of the discussion and the outcomes, she added, helping officials avoid blind spots and expanding the range of ideas that go into developing policies.

That’s true throughout the government, said Max Stier, president of the nonprofit Partnership for Public Service, an organization that works with elected officials of both parties to improve the effectiveness of government.

“A diverse workforce produces better results for organizations,” Stier said. In government, that’s “a performance issue and a representation issue,” he added, since citizens in a democracy have a reasonable expectation that the experiences and perspectives of their diverse communities will be reflected in their leaders.

Diversifying the civil service is a longer-term process because the ranks turn over much more slowly than political appointees, which change with each administration. Most federal agency workforces, however, have grown more diverse in the last couple of decades.

That reflects, in part, the changing politics of diversity.

On the Democratic side, diversity has risen in importance to the party’s voters. For Republicans, it’s a different story.

Indeed, as polarization has hardened between the parties, especially on issues of identity, a backlash constituency has developed among a significant share of Republicans.

In a major survey last fall, the nonpartisan Public Religion Research Institute found that majorities of Americans agreed that there is a lot of discrimination against Black people (75%), Latinos (69%) and Asian Americans (55%).

Among Republicans, however, that was a much less widely held view. About half of Republicans, 52%, said Black people are subject to a lot of discrimination in the U.S., and even fewer said so regarding Latinos (45%) or Asian Americans (32%). A larger share of Republicans said they saw a lot of discrimination against white people (57%) or Christians (62%).

On gender issues, the survey found that 60% of Republicans said society too often punishes men for acting like men, and 63% said U.S. society had become too feminine.

“While there are huge positives of greater diversity, to some people that can be seen as a threat to their power” or the status of their group in society, Dittmar said, adding that the fact that the number of women in senior positions fell off after Clinton’s second term “demonstrates that progress is not inevitable.”