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THE FOREIGN SERVICE JOURNAL

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DECEMBER 2015

17

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.

Contemporary Quote

Still Not QuiteThere

O

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