The Gender Gap Closes in the Federal Government

The Office of Personal Management completed a study showing that women employed by the federal government are beginning to break through the “glass ceiling” that has prevented them from gaining equal opportunities with men.

In 1998, the latest figures available, women were 48% of new hires and accounted for 52% of job promotions. Thirty-one percent of managerial and supervisor positions, as well as 22.4% of senior federal executives, were held by women. They also received approximately 38% of promotions in white-collar senior pay positions.

This success can be attributed to the Clinton administration’s diversity goals, which have aided women in receiving greater job opportunities and advancement. It can also be credited to the “downsizing” of the government, in which employees were encouraged to take a “buyout” of up to $25,000 for their resignations. A majority of the employees who chose to take the buyout were older, white men.

Unfortunately, women have not yet achieved job parity. They continue to hold the majority of secretarial, nursing and miscellaneous clerk positions. Furthermore, female workers hold about 40% of mid-level grade jobs.

Most of this information can be found in the OPM’s report “Women in the Federal Government: A Statistical Profile,” which was released on Wednesday. Janice Lachance, the director of OPM, said, “The report shows that while the glass ceiling hasn’t completely shattered, women are lifting it to new heights. I am confident that this will continue.”


Washington Post - July 21, 1999

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