Did you know that March is officially designated as Women’s History Month?
While all women everywhere deserve to be honored and recognized for their tremendous accomplishments every day and month of the year, March has been specifically set aside to celebrate their achievements and sacrifices to America.
Without the countless contributions of women to societal advancement — including public servants — who knows where our nation would be today?
According to the National Women’s History Project:
- “This year’s theme, Celebrating Women of Character, Courage, and Commitment, honors the extraordinary and often unrecognized determination and tenacity of women.”
- “Against social convention and often legal restraints, women have created a legacy that expands the frontiers of possibility for generations to come.”
- “They have demonstrated their character, courage and commitment as mothers, educators, institution builders, business, labor, political and community leaders, relief workers, women religious, and CEOs.”
- “Their lives and their work inspire girls and women to achieve their full potential and encourage boys and men to respect the diversity and depth of women’s experience.”
According to a Presidential Proclamation issued by the White House:
- “Throughout our Nation’s history, American women have led movements for social and economic justice, made groundbreaking scientific discoveries, enriched our culture with stunning works of art and literature, and charted bold directions in our foreign policy.”
- “As we honor the many women who have shaped our history, let us also celebrate those who make progress in our time. Let us remember that when women succeed, America succeeds. And from Wall Street to Main Street, in the White House and on Capitol Hill — let us put our Nation on the path to success.”
Two Legendary Lawmakers
Two female lawmakers who deserve special tribute are Sen. Barbara Mikulski of Maryland and the late Congresswoman and civil rights activist Rep. Barbara Jordan of Texas.
Sen. Mikulski is not only a well known champion of justice and equality for women, but she is also the longest serving woman in the U.S. Congress.
She has played an instrumental role over the years and decades in expanding equal rights for women in the workplace and beyond. Her countless legislative efforts advancing justice and equality for women are unparalleled in modern times.
The late Congresswoman Barbara Jordan served in the House of Representatives with similar honor and distinction. She was a gifted orator and a tenacious champion of women’s rights, civil rights and human rights. Her pioneering keynote address at the 1976 Democratic National Convention in New York captured world-wide attention.
Biography.com calls her, “A groundbreaking African-American politician…Barbara Jordan was a lawyer and educator who was a congresswoman from 1972 to 1978—the first African-American congresswoman to come from the deep South and the first woman ever elected to the Texas Senate (1966). She captured the attention of President Lyndon Johnson, who invited her to the White House for a preview of his 1967 civil rights message.”
Public vs. Private Sector Progress
Despite some critics of the federal government’s admirable and ongoing workforce diversity efforts, it’s clear that women overall fare better in the public sector compared to the private sector in many respects.
Among other things, female feds earn more on the dollar, on average, than do their private sector counterparts — not to mention having more work-life flexibility.
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 Government Accountability Office (GAO) — as I noted in a prior blog post commemorating the 50th anniversary of the Equal Pay Act in June 2013.
Additionally, there are more female executives and women in positions of power within the public sector compared to Corporate America – where the number of women CEOs and those serving on corporate boards has remained dismally low for decades despite incremental progress (or what some might call infinitesimal progress).
Honoring Female Feds
Do you have a favorite female federal official to pay tribute to during Women’s History Month? (in the Executive, Judicial or Legislative branches of government – including politicians, presidential appointees or civil servants).
What about working women in state and local government, or beyond?
Furthermore, what is your agency doing – if anything — in recognition of Women’s History Month? Are there any special programs or commemorative events planned?
Again, all women deserve to be honored and appreciated every day and month of the year for their colossal contributions and sacrifices across all walks of life.
Women’s History Month presents us with another opportunity to shine a spotlight on women’s incredible achievements and thank them for all they do to make our country and our world a better place.
- White House Council on Women and Girls
- Women’s Bureau, U.S. Department of Labor
- OPM, Office of Diversity and Inclusion
- U.S. Equal Employment Opportunity Commission (EEOC)
- Federally Employed Women (FEW)
- National Women’s History Museum
* All views and opinions are those of the author only.
Thanks for highlighting Women’s History Month.
Keep up the great work.
David, thank you for your great post — I was unaware of either of the women you highlighted, but not any longer! Barbara Jordan’s keynote address is very inspiring, and such an appropriate message for today’s seemingly-fragmented society, here in the UNITED States. I will be watching for news items about Senator Mikulski in the future!
Although I grew up in a dysfunctional family, as did many people, somewhere in my youth I got the message that I could do whatever I set my mind to do….perhaps from teachers or other role models, possibly just from experience. Where ever I got that message, it has enabled me to make it through 60+ years of the things Life throws at we humans, in pretty darned good shape . My dad died when I was young and my marriage only lasted a few years, so I have mostly been responsible for my own destiny and was mostly the head of household (Absolutely Awesome twin daughters 🙂 ). I’ve been fortunate to have been appreciated for my work and been paid a living wage most of the time — for which I have always been, and still am, profoundly thankful. I wish as good or better a life for all women around the world!
Again, thank you for your great post!
Oh, and to celebrate Women’s History Month our Forest Supervisor’s office building is hosting a Lunch and Learn, brown-bag lunch session with a professor of Human Development and Family Studies. She’ll be sharing strategies for balancing work and personal life.
I want to add, too, that the graphics you posted about women in the work force were…..fairly profound, for me. I wonder if I’ve forgotten to look around and lend a helping hand to those less fortunate than myself. I hope not, but shame on me, if that’s true. I admit my energy was pretty-much focused on surviving childhood with a dysfunctional single parent, surviving a dysfunctional marriage, and then raising 2 kids — but there is no excuse for tunnel vision.
Carol, thank you so much for your valuable feedback and sharing your story.
Hopefully, others can learn from the perseverance and fortitude you and so many other women admirably display every day to achieve success in public service and in life — despite challenging circumstances along the way.
Uncle Sam is lucky to have you!
Ted, thank you — as always — for the kind words and show of support.
FYI – my agency is hosting an internal program to celebrate Women’s History Month and its theme of “character, courage and commitment.” Several commissioners, all of whom are women, will be speaking. The program will be video streamed to staff at field offices nationwide.
Thank you again, Ted, for all you do!
Here is a great article about EPA women in leadership positions:
I certainly admired and respected my previous Secretary, Janet Napolitano. I look forward to the day when a woman is finally President of the United States.
Thank you for sharing the article, Terry. I likewise look forward to seeing a woman President behind the desk in the Oval Office — long overdue.
DYK? Did you you that EEOC is led by a bi-partisan group of five commissioners appointed by the President. The current Commission is comprised of all women and led by EEOC Chair Jacqueline Berrien. Meet the all the commissioners here.
Also, EEOC held a very inspiring and informative Women History Month internal program yesterday which featured a panel discussion with three commissioners. Here’s a photo…from left to right: Commissioner Jenny Yang, Legal Counsel & panel moderator Peggy Mastroianni, Commissioners Chai Feldblum and Victoria Lipnic. The program was held at EEOC HQ in Washington and video streamed to EEOC employees in over 50 field offices nationwide.
Photo Credit: Tyler Clemons
Also, check out this White House blog post by EEOC’s newest Commissioner, Jenny Yang. The article, entitled Protecting Employment Rights Across the Country, highlights efforts to “improve federal access and advancement for the AAPI community.” (AAPI = Asian-Americans and Pacific Islanders).