The November GovFem Reading List

To write GovFem articles, we scour the internet daily for the best articles and op-eds about women working in the public sector. While many of those articles end up in our GovFem posts, we unfortunately can’t cover them all in a weekly series. That’s why we created the GovFem Reading List, which highlights the top posts from around the web each month.

Well, this has been a doozy of month. The election happened. State and local governments are rapidly changing. New appointees are heading into federal government, while others are resigning. It looks like we’re facing another continuing resolution for the federal government.

It’s easy to be distracted by these changes, especially the unexpected ones. But don’t forget that there are persistent issues that we’re still trying to tackle in government. This month’s reading list focuses on those constant concerns (mostly).

Here are the top five articles worth reading from this past month:

  1. Women who want to get ahead should look to the federal government “For every chair occupied by a woman in the corporate C-suite, six are filled by a man. In the federal government, it’s 1 out of every 3,” explains this article. It goes on to give a few more details about a GAO audit of the federal workforce, released earlier this fall. Whether you’re already in government or looking to transition, it’s worth a read to understand how women’s participation varies in the public vs. private sector.
  2. Few women fight wildfires. That’s not because they’re afraid of flames. Accounts of discrimination in federal defense role is nothing new, but this article explains that it’s not just DoD that has a problem with how its culture includes women. “Women who fight wildfires for the federal government describe their work as isolating and lonely … In a male-dominated, hypermasculine discipline that operates like the military, they face discrimination, sexual harassment and verbal abuse,” notes this article. It offers a few great first-hand accounts to back up its findings.
  3. Why can’t we stop sexual harassment at work? Nearly every employee in the public or private sector has to take sexual harassment training during onboarding. Yet, as this article notes, studies show that harassment is still prevalent in the workplace and these trainings are doing little to decrease it. Why? This article is a great deep dive into why and how training must improve to make the office a safer place for both genders.
  4. Women need to lean in a lot harder – about $11,103.65 harder  You know the pay gap between men and women in the workforce is real, and many times we attribute that to intentional or unintentional in-job discrimination and promotions. However, this article dives into a study that found women actually ask for less – almost $10,000 less – when they apply to the same jobs as men. This is a quick read on an interesting perspective.
  5. 76% of Women Feel Worse About Their Career Prospects Under a Trump Presidency Not to ignore the biggest news of the past November, let’s finish this month’s reading list with an article about how women are feeling in the face of the upcoming presidential transition. Of course, change always brings anxiety for some. But according to post-election research, a large majority of women feel this impending change could be especially worrisome. Read this article to find out why.

And in case you missed them, check out this month’s other GovFem posts:


Every month, GovFem compiles a list of the top articles about women in government from around the web. If you have an article you think should be included in next month’s reading list, email [email protected] with your suggestions.

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