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.