THE FOREIGN SERVICE JOURNAL
If you go to a country for a week, you can write a book. If you go for a
month, you can write an article, and if you go for three months,
you can’t write anything.—Under Secretary for Public Diplomacy and Public Affairs Richard Stengel, in his keynote address to the CPD Forum: Global Leadership in Public Diplomacy, Oct. 15, at the United
States Institute of Peace in Washington, D.C.
Still Not QuiteThere
n Oct. 21, Executive Women @ State,
the Office of Civil Rights and the Sec-
retary of State held an open forum titled
“Seeking Diversity in the Senior Ranks”
at the State Department. Participants
included Secretary John Kerry, Assistant
Secretary Roberta Jacobson, Director Gen-
eral of the Foreign Service Arnold Chacón
and Executive Women @ State representa-
tive Susan Stevenson.
Speaking to a packed house in the
Marshall Auditorium, Sec. Kerry focused
on gender bias, acknowledging that we
have come a long way in terms of diversity
in the department, but that there is still
work to be done. Women are not advanc-
ing as rapidly as men, and the Bureau of
Human Resources will continue to focus
on increasing both recruitment and reten-
tion of women.
Kerry reported that today 40 percent of
all assistant secretaries and 30 percent of
ambassadors are female, whereas just 20
years ago, only 1 in 10 ambassadors was
a woman. He did not, however, note that
most of today’s female assistant secretaries
and ambassadors are political appointees.
Progress has beenmade, but it’s time to
take a harder look at how unconscious bias
affects both sexes in the workplace, Kerry
said, adding that the department will be
conducting more thorough exit interviews
and focusing on work-life balance to create
an empowered culture where both sexes
can raise children and work simultane-
ously. He also stressedmentoring as a key
in encouraging women to take on leader-
ship roles at State, saying everyone should
both have and be a mentor.
Kerry called America’s diversity a
strength: “It defines our country. When we
empower women in diplomacy, diplo-
macy succeeds in empowering everyone.
There is something for everyone to do.” He
invited employees to give constant feed-
back on hiring and promotion processes.
The goal is to reach a point where promot-
ing women in foreign policy is completely
unremarkable, and no longer something
that needs to be celebrated.
Director General Arnold Chacón then
answered questions posed by Execu-
tive Women @ State’s Susan Stevenson
and members of the audience. Topics
included increasing telework opportuni-
ties overseas, combating implicit bias,
removing names on EERs (which the
department is looking into), spousal
employment and how it affects women,
and increased transparency in the Foreign
Service assignment process, particularly
for tandem couples.
Chacón encouraged employees to join
State’s many affinity groups and, espe-
cially, to mentor within them. He also
stated that the department has approved
a Cox Foundation proposal to investigate
gaps in mentoring opportunities at State.
—Shannon Mizzi, Editorial Assistant