“As we pause to reflect on this important milestone for many, it is important to take a brief look back at its history and a focused and meaningful look at what it means for federal employees today and in the future,” states Federally Employed Women’s Special Assistant for People with Disabilities, Jeri Peterson. President Michelle Crockett added, “FEW was founded for the purpose of ending sex discrimination and this mission has evolved into ending discrimination of all types. We are committed to the principles of ADA and all of its components.”

A Brief Look Back: The bill was introduced in the U. S. House of Representatives and the Senate in 1988. Senator Tom Harkin (D-IA) authored what became the final bill, was its chief sponsor, and delivered part of his introduction speech in sign language so that his brother could understand. The bill passed the Senate 76-8 and the House by unanimous voice vote (something that is almost unheard of today) and was signed into law by President George H.W. Bush on July 26, 1990.

The ADA is a wide-ranging civil rights law that prohibits discrimination based on disability, and affords similar protections against discrimination as the Civil Rights Act of 1964.  In addition, the ADA requires covered employers to provide reasonable accommodations to employees with disabilities, and imposes accessibility requirements on public accommodations.  The ADA applies to both physical and mental disabilities.

On the 25th Anniversary of the ADA, President Barack Obama announced a series of new actions aimed at improving the lives of and expanding opportunities for people with disabilities.  These actions involve:

  • Employment Opportunity

  • High Quality Education

  • Civic and Community Participation

  • Health Care and Healthy Living

  • Fair Housing

  • Information and Communications Technologies

For details on White House engagement regarding ADA’s 25th Anniversary, visit:


Additionally, the Smithsonian Museum of American History hosted a 25th ADA Anniversary Festival for federal agencies to offer educational insights about the ADA, employment opportunities for people with disabilities, and the history of the disability rights movement.  The Festival also presented interactive demonstrations of accessible and inaccessible streetscapes, new ways of finding assistive technology, accessible vehicles, and more.  Participating agencies included the Departments of Health & Human Services, Homeland Security, Justice, Labor, State and Transportation, as well as the Equal Employment Opportunity Commission, the Federal Communications Commission, the Federal Emergency Management Agency, the National Park Service, the Social Security Administration, and the U.S. Agency for International Development.

“Federally Employed Women proudly celebrates diversity in the workplace and encourages the expansion of opportunities and assistance for those with disabilities that wish to dedicate their lives to public service,” concluded President Crockett.