Being a Woman in Government – A Blessing or a Curse?

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This topic contains 11 replies, has 10 voices, and was last updated by  Shannon Kennedy 9 years, 3 months ago.

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  • #123075

    Megan Dotson

    I’ve had numerous conversations with my friends about being a women in the workplace. I see areas that it helps and hurts.

    How do you harness the power of being a woman in government?

    Is it a blessing or a curse?

    Be sure to join the GovLoop Live Chat taking place March 1st at 2:00 EST as we discuss the Gender Dividend and Paths to Power.

  • #123097

    Shannon Kennedy

    Great question. There are definitely two sides to the situation. It’s a curse because there are still opinions about the abilities of women compared to men in the workplace. We are still considered weaker. Add being a younger woman into the mix and it becomes even more challenging.

    On the other hand, when great women have great accomplishments in the workforce, they pave the way for future female workers. So while we face challenges, we also have to ability to make a huge impact!

  • #123095

    Tim Evans

    Some Department/Agencies are better than others. HHS and SSA seem particularly partial.

  • #123093

    Patt Franc

    Tough question to answer simply. While advances have been made and women in government have much more opportunity today than they even 20 years ago, some of the problems and barriers still exist. I thought we’d addressed Sexual Harassment only to hear horror stories from women in fed service about the things that go on every day in their offices. The Federal Women’s Program was instituted to look at barriers to the advancement of women, and many many agencies don’t even have programs any longer although the requirement still exists. The number of departments/agencies who fail to report on MD-715 is astounding. So the curse is often not individual, but systemic.

    On a more positive note, I think a lot of the blessing side comes from personal empowerment and education, and in getting involved in professional associations that help strengthen the position of women in federal service and works to help women expand their phenomenal ability to network. Women need to use their strengths and Federally Employed Women is a great place to start!

  • #123091

    Steve Ressler

    Agree – and I’d actually say it’s within agencies. Depends upon specific division and manager

  • #123089

    Allen Sheaprd

    Hmmm, Yes – two sides to every situation.

    “Older white male” has its streotype as well. Using twitter, Eclips or LINUX is seen as an oddity, not par for the course. Note: LINUX is based on UNIX from the ’70’s and 80’s

  • #123087

    C. Kim

    Time put out an article a few months ago, “Study: Young, Single, Childless Women Earn More than Men”, but it’s interesting to see how many variables are involved in this topic beyond age, marriage, parent. But location and industry.

    I’m curious about what others have to say about career advancement potential, especially women who pursued having a family and how that affected them regarding promotion potential, mentoring roles, etc.

  • #123085

    Allen Sheaprd

    Does it vary by field?

    IT is a new field so it should be very level one.

    NASA should also be fairly level

    The military not as much.

    I may be biased in saying the FDA has a way’s to go. It was a male dominated field with little public exposure pushing to see more women. I do not know and would like to be corrected.

    Would the Dept of Education be more female than male?

    I’m sure to get eMail about this post but I’d rather be corrected than wrong.

  • #123083

    Nicole L Shue

    An interesting study on one niche of women in government

    And women in the military:

  • #123081

    Alice M. Fisher

    Wish we were not even asking this sort of question in 2011. But, a good queston none the less

    In 1977, it was a curse. I was one female of 90 men. A tough road back then.

    And, Is the following article from 2004 the same in the Gov today?

    Today we have more choices, a softening but the U.S. Bureau of Labor Statistics, the median wages of full-time, year-round workers in 2008 stood at $35,745 for women and $46,367 for men.

    The wage gap is even worse for women of color. In 2008, the earnings for African American women were $31,489, 67.9 percent of men’s earnings (a drop from 68.7 percent in 2007), and Latinas’ earnings were $26,846, 58 percent of men’s earnings (a drop from 59 percent in 2007).

    In otherwords, The median weekly earnings of women who were full-time wage and salary workers was $657, or 80 percent of men’s $819. When comparing the median weekly earnings of persons aged 16 to 24, young women earned 93 percent of what young men earned ($424 and $458, respectively).

    The 20 most prevalent occupations for employed women in 2009 were—

    1. Secretaries and administrative assistants, 3,074,000
    2. Registered nurses, 2,612,000
    3. Elementary and middle school teachers, 2,343,000
    4. Cashiers, 2,273,000
    5. Nursing, psychiatric, and home health aides, 1,770,000
    6. Retail salespersons, 1,650,000
    7. First-line supervisors/managers of retail sales workers, 1,459,000
    8. Waiters and waitresses, 1,434,000
    9. Maids and housekeeping cleaners, 1,282,000
    10. Customer service representatives, 1,263,000
    11. Child care workers, 1,228,000
    12. Bookkeeping, accounting, and auditing clerks, 1,205,000
    13. Receptionists and information clerks, 1,168,000
    14. First-line supervisors/managers of office and administrative support workers, 1,163,000
    15. Managers, all other, 1,106,000
    16. Accountants and auditors, 1,084,000
    17. Teacher assistants, 921,000
    18. Cooks, 831,000
    19. Office clerks, general 821,000
    20. Personal and home care aides, 789,000

    Dig deeper here

  • #123079

    This made me wonder what it’s like in other countries…some quick links:

    World Overall: (guess which country has most women in parliament!)

    Islamic Nations:


    U.S. Compared to Other Nations:

    Some Stats on Women in Leadership:

    Seems like we still have a long way to go as a planet…and it needs to begin right here at home.

  • #123077


    Is A blessing!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!

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