THE FOREIGN SERVICE JOURNAL
the military and
other federal agencies
So don’t look up to reassure your-
selves of the commitment to gender
equality. Look down into the ranks, and
ask female officers how they are treated
in terms of assignments, promotions
and day-to-day interactions within the
workplace; how they manage the power
structure dynamics; and whether they
are convinced that the department’s
claim of commitment to gender equality
has shown results.
Whether bureaus or posts have poli-
cies in place to ensure equality is mean-
ingless unless they are actually imple-
mented and enforced. It is the everyday
relationships between male and female
officers in meetings, as well as whether
female officers feel they are treated as
equals in terms of their input and value,
that determine whether sexism in the
Foreign Service and the department are
on the wane.
The lead focus article in the print edi-
tion of the July-August
, “An Existential
Threat That Demands Greater FS Engage-
ment” by Tim Lattimer, contains an error.
In the fourth paragraph of the last
section, “The Role of the Foreign Ser-
vice,” the last two statements are wrongly
attributed to Stephanie Kinney.
Ms. Kinney was, indeed, “the only
FSO” involved in the 1990s climate nego-
tiations. But nearly 25 years later, in 2015,
it was not Kinney, but Tim Lattimer, who
was “one of only two FSOs” in the core
delegation in Paris. Lattimer believes the
Foreign Service can, and must, do better.
We regret the error, which has been
corrected in the
s online edi-
use them) an essential tool of diplomacy.
Let’s begin changing now, before
someone unfamiliar with the art of
diplomacy forces change upon us.
David S. Boxer
Embassy New Delhi
Enduring Sexism at State?
Tom Hutson’sMay letter to the editor
responding to the March cover image
reminded me that the State Department
may still be plagued by sexist attitudes
toward female FSOs. It seems that little
has changed since my 2005 retirement,
which was due in large part to what I
perceived as sexism within the depart-
ment’s management structure.
The Foreign Service and the State
Department, which claim to have taken
great steps to decrease the male-domi-
nated and male-oriented structures that
direct our policies, have a long way to
go. Don’t tell me that we have had three
female Secretaries of State and a number
of female assistant secretaries. Those are
political appointees, not rank-and-file
I refer to how female officers are treated
by their male colleagues and the often
unequal power dynamics betweenmale
and female officers. Want a few hints?
Look to the daily micro-aggressions, where
men routinely talk over and discount
women’s opinions, where women are told
to “smile” more and act friendlier, where
women are patronized and their input and
professional acumen discounted.
My guess is that the results of a recent
study of female Forest Service officers
would be largely congruent with those
of female FSOs, were such a study to be
undertaken. The McClatchy Washing-
ton bureau noted that the complaints
of women in the Forest Service study
“echoed complaints lodged by women in