Women's Program



National Women's History Month


The purpose of National Women's History Month is to increase consciousness and knowledge of women's history: to take one month of the year to remember the contributions of notable and ordinary women. It grew out of an effort to recognize and celebrate the accomplishments of women in American history.


In 1978, the Education Task Force of the Sonoma County, California Commission on the Status of Women initiated a "Women's History Week." They did this because -- as recently as the 1970's -- women's history was virtually an unknown topic in the K-12 curriculum or in the general public consciousness. The week was chosen to coincide with International Women's Day -- March 8 -- which was first celebrated in 1911 in Europe. Celebrations of National Women's History Week spread throughout the nation.


In 1987 -- at the request of museums, libraries, and educators across the country -- the National Women's History Project petitioned Congress to expand the celebration to the entire month of March. A National Women's History Month Congressional Resolution was quickly passed with strong bipartisan support in both the House and Senate. Every year since then, the U.S. Congress has passed a resolution for Women's History Month.





Federal Women's Council


Commerce Bureau employees are needed to join the Federal Women's Council. If you are interested, or know someone who is, please fill out this application form and fax it to 202-482-5375.


Application for FEWP Program Council (Word File) (PDF file)


Any questions about the Council? Contact Senora Coggs.






EEOC Report Examines Obstacles Facing Women in Federal Workplace


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 http://www.eeoc.gov/federal/reports/women_workgroup_report.cfm.


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 http://www.eeoc.gov/federal/reports/index.cfm.


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


Office of Civil Rights (OCR)
U.S. Department of Commerce

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Page last updated May 3, 2017