Federal Employees News Digest

The FEW Perspective: Women’s History Month reminds us of the work ahead

By Michelle A. Crockett, FEW National President

March is a month that we honor and celebrate the many contributions women have made in America.  This recognition of women started in 1982 as Women’s History Week.  In 1987, after much advocating by the National Women’s History Project, Congress passed Pub. L. 100-9 designating March as Women’s History Month. 

It is fitting then that Federally Employed Women (FEW) presents its inaugural column in Federal Employees News Digest during this month commemorating the accomplishments of women. 

FEW is a grassroots organization started in 1968 by a group of women who not only noticed that there were “TOO FEW” women in the workplace, but even fewer in managerial level positions.  They decided to take action.  They formed a committee, created a plan, executed a strategy and what we now know as FEW today was born.

The organization’s mission is to end sex and gender discrimination, to encourage diversity for inclusion and equity in the workplace, and to promote the advancement and professional growth of women in federal service.  Over the years, FEW has grown to more than 100 local chapters across the country, and maintains a presence on Capitol Hill with an aggressive legislative agenda that monitors congressional proposals to assess their impact on women. 

One of FEW’s most notable and successful initiatives has been its yearly premier National Training Program (NTP).  Training is one of the focus areas of the organization.  FEW has been training federal employees, both military and civilian, for some 47 years.  The training sessions offered at the NTP are tied to the guidelines of the Office of Personnel Management’s Senior Executive Service, Executive Core Qualifications (Leading Change, Leading People, Results Driven, Business Acumen and Building Coalitions) and the underlying fundamental core competencies.  Each course prepares participants for the next steps in their career.  This year, the NTP will be held July 11-14, 2016, in Dallas, Texas, at the Hilton Anatole.  You may learn more about the NTP by visiting www.few.org.

In 2014, FEW held a National Event in Washington, D.C., in conjunction with a “Day on the Hill.”  Our members met with their congressional representatives to encourage them to send a letter to President Obama to ask him to issue a revised executive order and detailed instructional memorandum to all federal agency directors to reestablish and support the Federal Women’s Program (FWP) in their respective agencies. 

The original executive order, issued in 1967, added sex discrimination to other prohibited forms of discrimination in the federal workplace.  Subsequently, OPM established the FWP, which was later integrated into the Equal Employment Opportunity Program, to focus on employment support for women in the federal workplace.  The Day on the Hill was a huge success.  There were more than 200 contacts with Congress, and a letter drafted and signed by Rep. Carolyn B. Maloney (D-N.Y.) and 31 other members of Congress.  We continue to work on this very important issue.

FEW joins you in celebrating Women’s History Month.  Although we have made great strides in public service and government, we still have much work to do.  We need your help to continue to move our agenda forward to assist women in the workplace.  We invite you to become a member of this grassroots organization.  It is just as vital and viable today as it was when the 13 founding members gathered to do something about the lack of women around them in the federal workplace. 

Take a look around at your next meeting to see how many women are in attendance.  Research the statistics for the number of women in your agency or corporation.  Check the organizational chart and count the number of women in managerial positions.  You will find that we have work to do.  We need all hands on deck to continue to change the landscape of the workplace. 

FEW National President Michelle Crockett has more than 20 years of federal service. She currently works as National Program Director for Equal Employment Opportunity and Diversity at the National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration (NOAA) National Ocean Service. To learn more about FEW, go to www.few.org.


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