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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.

Laura Livingston

FSO, retired

Bellingham, Washington


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’s

May 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

female FSOs.

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