Are working women better off in the public sector or the private sector?
A new report by the U.S. Equal Employment Opportunity Commission (EEOC) identifies and examines six major obstacles hindering equal opportunities for women in the federal workforce, in addition to highlighting stakeholder recommendations.
The good news for Uncle Sam is that working women generally fare better in the public sector compared to the private sector. Among other things, female feds earn more on the dollar, on average, than do their private sector counterparts.
The gender wage gap is double for women in the private sector (about 23-cents on the dollar) versus that of female feds (about 11-cents on the dollar), according to the GAO — as I pointed out in a previous post commemorating the 50th anniversary of the Equal Pay Act in June.
Female Feds “Have Made Enormous Strides”
Carlton Hadden, Director of the EEOC’s Office of Federal Operations (OFO), stated in a press release on the new report:
- “While women have made enormous strides in federal employment, there are still significant obstacles which hinder their advancement.”
- “This effort is the latest step in an ongoing dialogue with the EEOC’s stakeholders to effectuate a model federal workplace for all employees.”
The report points out, among other things:
“In 2011, women comprised 43.81% of the federal workforce. Despite this, preliminary data for 2011 shows that women only comprised 37.77% of GS-14 and GS-15 positions, and 30.03% of Senior Executive Service positions.”
“Further, the average General Schedule and Related (GSR) grade for women was 9.6, more than one grade below the average grade level for men of 10.7.(3)”
6 Obstacles Facing Female Feds
Following are the six obstacles identified in the EEOC’s Women’s Work Group Report:
1) Inflexible workplace policies create challenges for women with caregiver obligations in the federal workforce.
2) Higher-level and management positions remain harder to obtain for women.
3) Women are underrepresented in the science, technology, engineering and mathematics fields in the federal workforce.
4) Women and men do not earn the same average salary in the federal government.
5) Unconscious gender biases and stereotypical perceptions about women still play an important role in employment decisions in the federal sector.
6) There is a perception that federal agencies lack commitment to achieving equal opportunities for women in the federal workplace.
1) Do you agree with the obstacles and issues identified in the report?
2) Do you agree with the recommendations of EEOC’s dialogue partners?
3) Are there any other EEO obstacles facing federally employed women?
4) If you are a federally employed woman what personal barriers — if any — have you confronted in career advancement?
5) Do you think there’s a “glass ceiling” for women in federal government?