Page 43 - Foreign Service Journal - May 2013

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the needs of male spouses and partners.
• Consider allowing greater fexibility in planning
the timing of overseas assignments, as this may help
spouses to develop and sustain viable careers.
• Institute specialized leadership training for women
that focuses on how to navigate situations where
they encounter gender bias, how to become aware of
gender diferences in communication and negotiating
styles, and how to communicate and negotiate more
• Design training to help women identify ways to
highlight their unique leadership style and their suc-
cesses and accomplishments as leaders.
• Provide training and other assistance to women to
help them learn to network more efectively and solicit
sponsors to help them in their career development and
• Assist women in identifying the specifc training
and skills development they need to further advance.
Make access to specialized training available to those
who need to focus on specifc skill sets.
• Task the Federal Women’s program with carrying
out training modules for women on these topics.
• Identify State Department resources that could be
deployed to help build a formal network of women that
could operate on a virtual platform, so as to be acces-
sible by women in Washington and overseas. Such
a site could help identify training opportunities and
provide relevant online training, as well as allow for the
sharing of ideas and resources and facilitate mentor-
ing/sponsorship matchups.
• Institute a mentoring requirement for all SFS
ofcers, and make them accountable for their perfor-
mance as mentors.
• Include modules on efective mentoring in our
leadership training, highlighting diferences between
mentoring and sponsoring.
• Provide training to women so they can leverage
their relationships with mentors and build stronger
networks of support within the organization.
• Assign all incoming female Entry-Level Ofcers
both a senior female mentor and a male mentor, so
ELOs can beneft from both perspectives.
• Pair female Foreign Service employees planning a
family with more experienced female ofcers who have
successfully juggled work and child-care responsibili-
• Determine where the use of Flexible Work Arrange-
ments could be expanded, both in Washington and
overseas; identify barriers to their use; and learn
from current best practices to overcome such bar-
riers. (In the case of Foreign Service employees, the
fear of missing out on promotions or good follow-on
assignments may be a signifcant barrier. Moreover, an
employee interested in an FWA is currently forced to
ask for such an arrangement when bidding on a posi-
tion, making it likely the employee will be passed over
in favor of another bidder not asking for what is still
considered a “perk” or “special consideration.”)
• Allow for an open discussion of concerns about
FWAs among middle managers and employees, and
make use of tools provided by the Ofce of Personnel
Management and others for this purpose.
• Develop and implement metrics for FWA work
output to reassure managers that work goals are being
met and to ensure that employees’ evaluations prop-
erly recognize the work being performed remotely.
— Margot Carrington
The Federal Women’s Program in our overseas posts
also needs more care and feeding fromWashington.
This might include something as simple as creating
a platform for sharing ideas and program resources.
MAY 2013