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THE FOREIGN SERVICE JOURNAL

|

MARCH 2016

29

W

hen the Federal Women’s

Program coordinator

vacancy was advertised this

past fall in Panama, three

women applied: a second-

tour officer, an FS-2 and

an FS-1. The management

counselor, also a woman,

consulted the applicants,

Federal Women’s

Program

for the Future

FOCUS

WOMEN IN THE FOREIGN SERVICE

and an innovative assignment resulted. The second-tour officer

was appointed as the official FWP coordinator, with specific

mentoring and support offered by more senior officers to bolster

the program.

The result has been a robust interagency effort that may serve

as a model for the kind of infrastructure needed to help support

female members of the Foreign Service in pursuing successful

careers.

Seizing the Opportunity

The FWP’s roots go back to 1961 when President John F. Ken-

nedy created the Commission on the Status of Women to exam-

ine barriers facing women in the federal government and to

enhance employment opportunities for women in every area of

federal service. In 1967, President Lyndon Johnson established

Foreign Service women in Panama are rejuvenating the Federal Women’s Program

as a platform for career development.

BY THAO ANH TRAN AND KR I ST I N STEWART

Thao Anh Tran (at left) is a political officer, and

Kristin Stewart is the public affairs counselor at

Embassy Panama City. The views expressed in

this article are entirely those of the authors and

do not necessarily represent the views of the U.S. Department of State.

On International

Day of the Girl last

October, Thao Anh

Tran (front, second

from right) visited

the Instituto Nuestra

Señora de la Merced

high school to highlight

the importance of

adolescent girls’

education and

empowerment in

shaping a stronger

Panamanian society.

COURTESYOFPUBLICAFFAIRS/U.S.EMBASSY INPANAMA