In the 45 years since the incorporation of Federally Employed Women (FEW), the organization has evolved from an idea to an international organization. FEW’s accomplishments and activities have impacted the federal workplace and contributed to improved working conditions and increased potential for women.
Thirteen women, all recognizing the need to establish equal opportunities for women in federal employment, joined together in establishing “TOO FEW—the Organization of Federally Employed Women,” and then simplified to FEW. They elected a steering committee and began the nuts-and-bolts work of making their vision a reality. Steve Harrison, FEW’s first male member, installed Allie Latimer, FEW’s first President.
While focusing on publicity and organizing chapters, FEW sent a telegram to President Nixon seeking his continued commitment against sex discrimination in Equal Employment Opportunity policy. FEW published its first newsletter—FEW Facts—which later became FEW’s News & Views. President Daisy Fields presided over the Griddle Iron Party at which the first annual Undistinguished Service Award was presented to Daniel Patrick Moynihan.
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This year saw the establishment of FEW’s first 12 Chapters beginning with the Central Cincinnati Chapter and the first Annual Training Conference held in Washington, D.C. An Associate Membership was established to involve concerned members of the community who were not federal employees. FEW held an ERA rally on the 50th anniversary of women winning the vote, proclaiming August 26 Federal Women’s Day.
The organization expanded to 20 chapters and appealed to women in the lower grade levels by showing support for their concerns. FEW issued The ABCs of Your Job— A Handbook of Personnel Matters. Under the leadership of President Esther Lawton, a job referral service was established. FEW awarded its first Distinguished Service Award to Elizabeth Koontz, Director of the Women’s Bureau.
FEW expanded the Board of Directors meetings to four a year to be held in conjunction with a day-long training program. The Helen R. Dudley Chapter Achievement Award was established. The ABCs of Your Job met with such success that it was copyrighted. FEW was asked to work with the Federal Communications Commission on its Affirmative Action Program established as part of their licensing renewal procedures.
FEW established 11 Regions that parallelled those used by the Civil Service Commission (now the Office of Personnel Management OPM), plus a DC Metropolitan Region, and President Priscilla Ransohoff appointed the first five Regional Coordinators. FEW established a Policy and Long-Range Planning Committee. The first overseas Chapter was established in Okinawa, and the first Helen R. Dudley Award was presented to the DC Charter Chapter. FEW supported the Flexible Hours Employment Bill. FEW’s 4th Annual Training Conference, “The Federal Women’s Program Revisited,” was held in Washington, D.C.
The Barbara Boardman Tennant Award was established and awarded for the first time to Daisy Fields. FEW testified on the Health Services Act of 1974 seeking a National Center for the Prevention and Control of Rape. The DC Charter Chapter of FEW filed a third party sex discrimination complaint against the Government Printing Office. A U.S. Circuit Court of Appeals ruled that federal employees can sue their bosses for discriminatory treatment.
First Lady Betty Ford accepted an Honorary FEW membership, and Alan Alda earned the Distinguished Service Award. FEW succeeded in pushing the FBI to drop its minimum height requirement of 5’7”. Title IX of The Education Amendments of 1972 went into effect barring sex discrimination in federally-assisted programs that serve federal employees. For the first time, FEW’s national election was conducted by mail. FEW’s 6th Annual Training Conference, “Women and the Year of Challenge,” was held in Washington, D.C.
FEW established a Speaker’s Roster; a Past President’s Task Force; a Life Membership and 33 additional Chapters. Work began on a sister organization—the FEW Legal and Education Fund (FEW-LEF) –to assist individuals in cases of discrimination. The Annual Training Conference changed its name to the National Training Program (NTP) and moved to the west coast. FEW’s 7th NTP, “The Bicentennial Women Mission Possible,” was held in San Francisco, California. FEW President Janice Mendenhall became the Civil Service Commission’s Director of the Federal Women’s Program.
Now 176 chapters strong, FEW celebrated Women’s Equality Day by joining in a parade down Pennsylvania Avenue. The Board of Directors resolved not to hold training programs in states that had not yet ratified the Equal Rights Amendment (ERA). Mae Walterhouse, National President, worked with other women’s organizations to establish an Ad Hoc Coalition to give input to the Carter Administration. Edith Tebo became FEW’s first lifetime member. FEW’s 8th NTP, “FEW Full Equality for Women,” was held in Washington, D.C.
FEW established an Advisory Council of individuals concerned with the advancement of women to make recommendations to the Board of Directors. Statistics showed that 56 percent of working age women were employed outside the home. FEW testified on Civil Service Commission Reforms, urging modifications to ensure equity for women. FEW goals included an extension for ERA ratification and Veteran’s Preference Act modifications. FEW’s 9th NTP, “FEW Is Moving Mountains,” was held in Denver, Colorado.
FEW established the Coalition for Constructive Modification of Veteran’s Preference and hired its first Congressional Liaison. FEW set up a Compliance Network on all levels to monitor Federal Agencies’ EEO and Affirmative Action Programs. A bylaws change established the office of Executive Vice President. President Dorothy Nelms’ enthusiasm affirmed her theme of “Failure is Impossible.” FEW’s 10th NTP, “FEW Building for the Future,” was held in Seattle, Washington.
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FEW joined the Steering Committee of the National Committee on Pay Equity and worked with federal employee unions on the issue of contracting out. FEW picketed Playboy’s recruitment of “Women in Government” and sponsored a First Ladies Reception to raise funds for ERA. FEW’s Board of Directors unanimously supported the inclusion of women in registration for military service to strengthen our position for equal rights. FEW’s 11th NTP, “FEW Is Your Capitol Gain,” was held in Washington, D.C.
FEW joined with other organizations to form the Coalition for Women’s Appointments to recommend qualified candidates for federal appointment. FEW contributed a quilted emblem that became part of The Dinner Party exhibit’s International Quilt by Judy Chicago, and Betty Friedan provided the banquet keynote address at the 12th NTP, “Racing to the Top”, in Indianapolis, Indiana. FEW-LEF established The Mary Pinkard Leader in Federal Equity Award and participated in the Combined Federal Campaign.
FEW members across the nation rallied for ERA. After the bill’s deadline expired, the campaign, “A New Day: Beyond the ERA,” was launched to reintroduce the Amendment. FEW joined the Public Employees Roundtable to help improve the image of government employees. Marylouise Uhlig became the first FEW President to make an official visit to a foreign country and to give birth while in office (to Samantha Barrie Uhlig). FEW’s 13th NTP, “FEW Has Many Missions,” was held in San Antonio, Texas.
FEW’s tax status changed to 501(c)(3), allowing tax deductible contributions and FEW launched its first Endowment Drive. The National Membership Contest slogan was “If your future is not becoming to you, then you should be coming to FEW.” FEW set a goal to involve more handicapped individuals. An Executive Order attempted to bar CFC participation of any advocacy group seeking to influence elections or public policy. FEW’s 14th NTP, “No Ka Oi Means the Best,” was held in Honolulu, Hawaii.
FEW wrote a letter of support for a Congressional bill to study child care options for federally employed parents. The FEW National Advisory Council recommended participation in a voting drive; FEW responded by joining the Women’s Vote Project and FEW members across the nation registered more than 10,000 new voters. President De Burton was appointed to head OPM’s Women’s Executive Leadership Program. FEW’s 15th NTP, “Women + Women = Power,” was held in Washington, D.C.
While FEW met in Detroit, A World Conference on Women was held in Nairobi to conclude the UN Decade for Women. FEW established a new three-tiered legislative agenda with the Equal Rights Amendment as an overall priority. FEW President Marie Argana and other officers met with then OPM Director Donald Devine to discuss issues of concern to all federally employed women. FEW’s 16th NTP, “Gearing Up for Success,” was held in Detroit, Michigan.
FEW testified in support of parental leave and participated in a press conference expressing commitment to the passage of the Pay Equity Act. Congress finally approved a new retirement system (FERS) for federal employees hired after 1983. President Freda Kurtz was appointed as FEW’s representative on the Employee Thrift Advisory Council of the Federal Retirement Thrift Investment Board. FEW’s 17th NTP, “FEW – Hitch Your Wagon to a Star,” was held in Las Vegas, Nevada.
The ERA was reintroduced into the 100th Congress. FEW supported introduction of the Economic Equity Act. FEW’s National Office relocated to 1400 Eye Street, Washington, D.C., and FEW-LEF closed its headquarters to conserve financial resources. The Supreme Court ruled that Affirmative Action Plans for advancement of women were Constitutional. FEW produced its first video, “Balancing the Scales of Equality.” FEW’s 18th NTP, “Gateway to Success,” was held in St. Louis, Missouri.
FEW testified before the House Education and Labor Subcommittee on Employment Opportunities on Equal Employment Opportunity in the Federal Government and participated in the first Women’s Agenda Conference in Des Moines, Iowa. Congress overrode a Presidential veto of the Civil Rights Restoration Act. FEW celebrated its 20th birthday at a Capitol Hill reception and at the NTP banquet in Baltimore. FEW’s 19th NTP, “Star Spangled FEWture,” was held in Baltimore, Maryland.
The Board of Directors approved a new credit card program for members. FEW struggled through major staff changes, but chartered six new chapters. The FEW-LEF Mary D. Pinkard Award recognized Pamela Doviak Celli for her landmark discrimination case against the Department of the Navy. FEW’s 20th NTP, “Bridge to the Future,” was held in Memphis, Tennessee.
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In March the first of a successful series of Legislative Breakfasts on the Hill featured Congressman Steny Hoyer. FEW testified before the House Subcommittee on Human Resources on the ineffective use of contracting out, a recent trend which targeted occupations held predominantly by women and people of color. OPM Director Constance B. Newman met with FEW’s Executive Committee and signed a relationship agreement between OPM and FEW. FEW’s 21st NTP, “Foundation for the FEWture,” was held in San Antonio, Texas.
After 13 years, FEW returned to the Rocky Mountain Region for the 22nd NTP, “Reaching New Heights,” in Denver, Colorado. The first “NTP Special Issue” of FEW’s News & Views was published. FEW President Jean Christiansen signed an updated ‘relationship agreement’ with OPM Director Constance B. Newman and commissioned the video production, “Through the Eyes of Its Leaders,” a historical recap of FEW by its Past Presidents. FEW chartered a dozen new Chapters.
Following a survey of its membership, FEW took steps to address member concerns and unveiled a new membership recruitment brochure. FEW mourned the death of its fourth National President Priscilla Ransohoff. Combating Sexual Harassment, released coincidentally with the Senate hearings on allegations of sexual harassment against Supreme Court nominee Clarence Thomas, became an overnight “best seller.” FEW’s 23rd NTP, “Discover with FEW in ‘92” was held in Cincinnati, Ohio.
FEW led coalition efforts to monitor a General Accounting Office study designed to identify sex- and race-based discrimination in the General Schedule pay and classification system and develop comprehensive pay equity legislation for workers in the public and private sectors. President Carolyn Kroon led FEW in its return to Las Vegas, Nevada, for the 24th NTP, “Onward to the Future.” FEW’s 25th Anniversary Committee designed a commemorative pin, hosted a Capitol Hill reception and led an anniversary songfest at the NTP.
FEW welcomed attendees to Washington, D.C. for the 25th NTP, “Making Monumental Strides to the Top.” FEW testified before the House Post Office and Civil Service Subcommittee on Compensation and Employee Benefits on expanding the use of sick leave. Merrill Lynch joined FEW in a new investment program for members. Janie Taylor was elected National President for FEW’s first two-year term.
A special Task Force surveyed members on the impact of reductions-in-force. Members around the world mourned the loss of two FEW sisters in the bombing of the Alfred P. Murrah Federal Building in Oklahoma City. FEW made plans to commemorate the 75th Anniversary of Women’s Suffrage by joining the March in Washington, D.C. FEW’s 26th NTP, “Summit for Success,” was held in Tacoma, Washington.
FEW joined forces with federal labor unions and employee associations in fighting off several attempts to reduce employee benefits programs. Congressional leaders stepped up assaults on affirmative action programs; FEW voiced its support for the programs at numerous press conferences hosted by national women’s organizations. With training funds limited by budget reductions, the Mid-Continent Region worked hard to ensure success at the 27th NTP, “Excellence in the Heartland,” held in Kansas City, Missouri.
Under the direction of President Dorothy Nelms, the FEW National Office space was extensively remodeled. FEW’s News & Views took on a more professional appearance with a change in layout and format. FEW’s 28th NTP, “FEW Steps Into the Future,” was held in Dallas, Texas.
FEW held a National Awards Banquet on April 30, where FEW’s first ever “Presidents Award” was presented to the Honorable Donna Shalala, Secretary of the U.S. Department of Health and Human Services. FEW’s 29th NTP, “Leadership Begins Here,” was held in Washington, D.C.
FEW President Jeanette Miller signed an updated relationship agreement with OPM Director Janice Lachance. The 30th NTP, “Treasures in the Desert,” was held in Phoenix, Arizona. Burgeoning financial woes forced FEW to close its National Office, furlough its staff and enter into a sublease agreement with a local business.
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FEW continued to actively support the National Coalition for Equity in Public Service and our coalition partners Blacks in Government, Federal Asian Pacific American Council and National IMAGE. FEW’s 31st NTP, “FEW Bridging the Information Gap for Success,“ was held in New Orleans, Louisiana.
A new program, instituted by President Jenifer Bungert, delivered training on the duties and responsibilities of serving as a member of a national non-profit board to the elected and appointed National Officers and Regional Managers. FEW contracted with Avalon Data Systems to update and manage the national membership database and support a program of improved service to members. The 32nd NTP “Keeping Pace with FEW,” was held in Indianapolis, Indiana.
FEW entered into a long-term contractual agreement with nationally recognized conference management company Conferon, Inc. As partners, FEW and Conferon pledged to work together to ensure the success of the NTP well into the future. The Southeast Region’s Space Coast Chapter and NASA, John F. Kennedy Space Center, co-hosted the 33rd NTP “Magic and Space – Dreams in Progress,” in Orlando, Florida. The 35th Anniversary Committee was appointed and charged with planning a gala celebration.
Under President Patricia Wolfe’s leadership, progress continued with the reopening of FEW’s National Office at 1666 K Street, NW, Suite 440, Washington, D.C. FEW entered into a contractual agreement with Amber Association Partners and Eye on Washington to provide association management and legislative support services. FEW celebrated its 35th Anniversary with a gala reception featuring OPM Director Kay Coles James and Equal Employment Opportunity Commission Chair Cari Dominguez. The President’s Award was presented to The Honorable Constance Morella. The anniversary celebration continued with a legislative breakfast on Capitol Hill, honoring the D.C. Congressional Delegation for their never-ending support of federal employees. FEW’s 34th NTP “Building Tomorrow’s Leaders Today,” was held in Chicago, Illinois. A successful Strategic Planning Retreat was held in Baltimore, Maryland.
FEW held it’s first-ever Chapter Presidents Leadership Forum bringing together its grassroots leaders in Washington, D.C. for 3 days of training. The strengthening of the organization at this level was designed to bring more cohesive organizational results and increase the dynamics in FEW’s focus areas. FEW was featured in three consecutive issues of the Federal Times. The 35th NTP, “Sounds of Success,” was held in Nashville, Tennessee. President Patricia Wolfe was a panelist during the National Association for the Advancement of Colored People (NAACP) Federal Sector Task Force Summit IV. FEW’s President testified on “Diversity in the Senior Executive Service.” A new statistical map on number of federal employees in Congressional districts was created, and the CapWiz feature was deployed on FEW’s website to facilitate communication with Congressional representatives.
FEW was invited to testify before the Congressional Subcommittee on the Repeal of the Government Pension Offset and Windfall Elimination Provision (GPO/WEP). FEW was a guest on FEDTalk, a Federal News Radio show, and featured on public TV shows in Maryland, Nebraska and Virginia. The 36th NTP, “Catch the Vision,” was held in Reno, Nevada, which featured a FEW Past Presidents Forum. Both NTP and Retiree scholarships were awarded to members. FEW participated in the National Task Force to End Sexual and Domestic Violence Against Women Act. FEW established a 501(c)(3), The Foundation for Education and Training and partnered with NCEPS to host a combined Diversity Conference.
The 37th NTP, “New Connections New Directions,” was held in Atlanta, Georgia, featuring an Education and Career Day for attendees and a FEW-DoD Military Awards Ceremony. President Patricia Wolfe and President-Elect Rhonda Trent were featured on FEDTalk the interactive radio/internet talk show. FEW hosted an NCEPS Public Service Town Hall Meeting. FEW’s People with Disabilities Program was accelerated. FEW’s Membership was at 3,500 plus.
FEW held its Second Chapter Presidents’ Leadership Forum in Washington, D.C. Attendees experienced Capitol Hill by visiting elected officials from their states. The 38th NTP, “Training Today, Leaders Tomorrow,” was held in Washington, D.C. FEW partnered with Shaw, Bransford, Veilleux & Roth, PC to offer member benefits in the legal arena. FEW submitted written testimony on the GPO/WEP. A task force was formed to study/initiate a Statistical Survey of the Status of Women in the Government. FEW President Rhonda Trent testified before Congress on the lack of diversity in the SES and upper management ranks in the government and participated in a press conference with Senator Akaka and Representative Davis, introducing the Senior Diversity Assurance Act in the Senate and House. Past President Freda Kurtz was presented the Outstanding Service Award by the Honorable Andrew M. Saul, Chair of Federal Retirement Thrift Investment Board.
FEW’s 39th NTP “Moving On, Moving Up,” was held in Anaheim, California. FEW commemorated its 40-year anniversary with a Gala Celebration at the NTP. During the spring 21 members of the National Executive Committee traveled to New Orleans, Louisiana, for a work day helping victims of the 2005 Hurricane Katrina. President Rhonda Trent testified for the second time before Congress on the SES Diversity Assurance Act in the Senate and the House. National Presidents Allie Latimer, Marie Argana, Patricia Wolfe and Rhonda Trent were featured on FEDTalk Radio to kick off the 40th Anniversary Celebration. FEW’s membership is at 4,000 plus with 98 Chapters.
FEWs 40th NTP Keys to Success was held in Orlando, Florida, with its first golf tournament, Feds on the Fringe, prior to the NTP. Chapter Presidents attended the third Chapter Presidents Leadership Forum before NTP classes began. FEWs National President Sue Webster was featured on radios talk show with the BIG Experience on FEDTALK radio, and National Executive V.P. Bernice Waller and V.P. for Congressional Relations Cecelia Davis were featured on radio and internet FEDTALK Federal News Show. Strategic Planning was a large part of this years agenda. In accordance with the National Presidents philosophy, Each One, Teach One was practiced throughout the year. Support for the Federal Womens Program initiative has escalated this year through FEWs extraordinary efforts.
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FEW’s 41st National Training Program “Jazz Up Your Career” was held July 12-16, 2010 in New Orleans, LA with a total of 2,614 registrants. There were 18 federal agency forums, 95 vendors in the Expo Hall and176 outstanding workshops. Keynote speakers included FEW Past President & Nationally Known Speaker Dorothy Nelms; U. S. Representative Anh (Joseph) Cao (LA-02), ERA Activist Roberta Frances, and OPM Deputy Director Christine Griffin. FEW-OPM Agreement was signed at closing event. FEW hosted the largest-ever Diversity Town Hall Meeting with Presidents of FEW, BIG, FAPAC, National IMAGE, Inc., and SAIGE. For the first time, FEW sponsored a community outreach project to raise money for two schools in New Orleans that had been damaged by Hurricane Katrina. FEW exceeded its goal of $5,000 for each school and raised more than $20,000 in a year-long effort.
The theme for 2011 was “Your Future, Let it Ring the Sound of Success”. The 2011 NTP included many focus areas: OPM Director, John Berry was the keynote speaker; Dr. Clifford Stanley, Under Secretary of Defense (Personnel & Readiness) and OPM Deputy Director Christine Griffin served as panel members for our Membership Meeting; Claiborne Haughton, Jr. provided a special tribute to our fallen women in the military; and Laura A. Liswood was guest speaker for our Diversity luncheon. The 2011 NTP had two firsts: (1) Youth Initiative with area youth attending from Philadelphia and Washington, DC for a special one day of training. Roy Juarez, Jr. was the morning and lunchtime speaker. He assisted FEW in the coordination and training of the youth. (2) The Health Fair was held in the Exhibit Hall focusing on women’s health issues and the sponsoring of a blood drive. Breast Cancer Awareness was the focus area for FEW in 2011. The theme was “Passionately Pink FEW for the Cause”. All day Thursday everyone wore pink and Thursday evening was set aside for raising money for the cause.
FEW’s 43rd NTP “Wheels of Change, Keep on Moving!” was held in Detroit Michigan. The event was hosted by the Great Lakes Region. FEW’s National President (Sue Webster) was featured on a local television show, explaining the mission of FEW and the purpose of our NTPs. A Compliance luncheon was held in order to enlighten our members on key issues impacting federal employees. This was important, since compliance is one of the four focuses of FEW. The youth outreach program was held again and was a very successful endeavor. In addition to the outstanding speakers and training, there was a year- long outreach effort for the Children’s Hospital Foundation. This is FEW’s way to support to the local community. Lastly, the newly elected National Board of Directors was installed at the FEW Friday Brunch.
FEW’s 44th NTP “Passport to Career Success” was held in Orlando, Florida. The event was co-hosted by the DC Metro and Southwest Regions. FEW’s National President, Michelle Crockett, welcomed all attendees to the 44th NTP and the celebration of FEW’s 45th Anniversary (1968-2013). The training week culminated in a Legislative Luncheon where FEW’s VP for Congressional Relations, Matthew Fogg, and Janet Kopenhaver, FEW’s Washington Representative, provided an update on current legislative issues in front of the 113th Congress. Included in the Luncheon was a presentation entitled “FEDERALLY EMPLOYED WOMEN CELEBRATING A RICH 45-YEAR HISTORY OF ACTIVISM AND ACCOMPLISHMENTS” presented by Patt Franc. To view the book format of the presentation, click here. What a great celebration of FEW’s mission in action!
For the first time FEW held a two day national event called the Leadership Summit in Washington, DC. The Leadership Summit included another successful Advocacy Day event which brought over 150 members to our nations Capitol. During this event, FEW members met and discuss with their Congressional Representatives two key issues — the Federal Women’s Program and the disparity in opportunities afforded to women in higher grades in the federal sector. FEW then capitalized our training by having key leaders from several federal agencies speak on critical elements of leadership. Speakers included OPM Director Katherine Archuleta, Merit Systems Protection Board Chairman Susan Tsui Grundman, representatives from EEOC, DoD, the Department of Navy, and FEW’s Past National President Dorothy Nelms (served two terms). FEW culminated the Summit with a special celebration recognizing our 45th Anniversary of offering premiere training and the installation of the 2014-2016 elected National Board of Directors.
FEW’s 46th National Training Program (NTP) took attendees on a “Journey to Excellence” which was the theme in New Orleans, Louisiana, July 13-16, 2015. The 2015 training was a masterful week of insight, self development and taking personal responsibility of your career goals. National President Michelle Crockett kicked off the week delivering a resounding message on the tenacity of being an over-comer while striving for excellence. Additionally, the opening session had another keynote speaker, OPM Associate Deputy Director Kimberly Holden. She spoke on growing your professional network and utilizing it to reach your career goals. Moreover, FEW’s special initiative awareness for the 2015 NTP was Heart Disease supported onsite by the American Heart Association (AHA). Finally, the culmination of the week was FEW’s focus area celebration — the Compliance Luncheon. Dr. Kanae Black spoke on her dissertation, “Perceptions of Motivation Among Female Federal Government Managers” and international speaker Cheryl Wood closed out with a resounding message on declaring “I am a Winner.” In the spirit of excellence FEW’s NTP demonstrated a year-long “Journey to Excellence”.