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Press Release 12-12-2013

New EEOC Report Examines Obstacles Facing Women in Federal Workplace

Six Impediments, Underlying Issues, Recommendations Identified by Work Group

WASHINGTON -- The U.S. Equal Employment Opportunity Commission (EEOC) today issued a comprehensive report addressing major obstacles hindering equal opportunities for women in the federal workforce, in addition to highlighting stakeholder recommendations.  The report is available on EEOC's website at

The report, prepared by an internal agency work group, is based upon in-depth research and widespread consultations with key stakeholder groups representing working women, as well as other affinity organizations (referred to in the report as "dialogue partners").

"While women have made enormous strides in federal employment, there are still significant obstacles which hinder their advancement," said Carlton M. Hadden, director of EEOC's Office of Federal Operations. "This effort is the latest step in an ongoing dialogue with the EEOC's stakeholders to effectuate a model federal workplace for all employees. The work group and its report are also very timely, since they are based on the EEOC's Strategic Plan for Fiscal Years 2012-2016."

Following are the six obstacles identified in the EEOC Women's Work Group Report:

  • Inflexible workplace policies create challenges for women with caregiver obligations in the federal workforce.
  • Higher-level and management positions remain harder to obtain for women.
  • Women are underrepresented in the science, technology, engineering and mathematics fields in the federal workforce.
  • Women and men do not earn the same average salary in the federal government.
  • Unconscious gender biases and stereotypical perceptions about women still play an important role in employment decisions in the federal sector.
  • There is a perception that federal agencies lack commitment to achieving equal opportunities for women in the federal workplace.

Each of the six obstacles highlighted in the report contain background information, as well as underlying issues and specific recommendations from the work group's dialogue partners -- who independently and repeatedly identified the aforementioned impediments.  The report is being issued to memorialize the obstacles and recommendations of EEOC's dialogue partners.

The EEOC's dialogue partners in the report included:

  • Federally Employed Women (FEW)
  • The Women's Bar Association of the District of Columbia
  • Federal EEO Directors and Federal Special Emphasis Program Managers
  • The Equal Justice Society
  • Workplace Flexibility 2010
  • The Equal Rights Center
  • Blacks in Government (BIG)
  • African-American Federal Executives Association (AAFEA)

The work group also received valuable input from academic expert Dr. Paula Caplan, who is the Voices of Diversity Project Director of the W.E.B. Du Bois Institute at Harvard University.

The EEOC has issued similar reports focusing on federal employment of African-Americans, Hispanics, Asian-Americans and Pacific Islanders, and people with targeted disabilities. The reports are available online at

The EEOC enforces federal laws prohibiting employment discrimination in the private and public sectors.  Further information about the agency is available online at