Federal Women’s Program (FWP) Success Stories

Federally Employed Women (FEW) has compiled success stories from all 50 states in the U.S. and the District of Columbia which illustrate the effectiveness and positive results the Federal Women’s Program (FWP) has had in federal agencies over the several decades since Executive Order 11478 that integrated the FWP into the Equal Employment Opportunity (EEO) Program was signed into law. These stories were obtained from federally employed women who have benefited directly in their careers through the assistance of an FWP or from Federal Women’s Program Managers (FWPM) who have assisted other women to succeed.

Below are excerpts from these stories which detail the effectiveness of the FWP Program as told in the first person:


As a Federal Women’s Program Manager, I worked closely with our homeless female Veterans to help provide opportunities and interview skills training. Another FWP Manager writes that she personally recruited women for positions in the organization where they were under-represented in certain jobs and grades. As a result, women recruited in entry level positions are now in senior management positions.


Every year, the Federal Women’s Program in Alaska sponsored a “Career Challenges” Training Conference which provides training opportunities for women to enhance their employability and advancement. Career Challenges seeks to provide an outreach initiative to increase the representation of women in the federal workforce through workshops dedicated to career development and advancement; improving job performance and communication skills; conflict resolution skills; resume writing; interviewing techniques; financial and retirement planning strategies; and more.


I am happy to say that due to the active Federal Women’s Program where I worked, including Flagstaff, Arizona, I was a more efficient and hard-working Human Resources and EEO/Diversity Specialist and Manager within my federal agency, enthusiastically making a long-term contribution to carry out the agency’s objectives.


It was through my involvement with the Federal Women’s Program that I learned of opening within the federal government that helped me to progress from a GS-4 level to the GS-13 during my civil service career.


Through the Federal Women’s Program, I learned about, and applied for, the Upward Mobility Program at Mare Island Naval Shipyard. I was accepted into the program and it gave me the opportunity to leave a dead-end job as a GS-6 Secretary and progress to become a Program Manager for Reactor Plant Fittings at a GS-12 level.


During my first year of federal service, my agency sent me to a day-long Federal Women’s Program event that focused on leadership skills and professional development. To this day, over 23 years later, I still use the practical advice and skills taught to me that day. The FWP training programs are an important part of my overall employee development and allowed me to progress in my career to a GS-13 program manager and in this role I help mentor young women entering the federal government.


The FWP Manager at the Natural Resources Conservation Service in Connecticut helps ensure that the agency takes affirmative steps to provide equal opportunity to women applicants and employees in all areas of employment, and to provide a means for women to communicate their concerns to management. Their roles include assessing the under-representation of women and providing input to affirmative employment plans to combat that under-representation; developing action items to eliminate barriers to employing and promoting women; and promoting diversity awareness, understanding and appreciation for diversity.


At the Delaware Natural Resources Conservation Service, the Federal Women’s Program Manager is a critical member of the Civil Rights Program. I assist Delaware’s State Conservationist to ensure that equal opportunity is present in all aspects of programs and services. I also provide advice and assistance to management staff to help meet civil rights program goals and objectives.

District of Columbia:

Through the Federal Women’s Program, I participated in valuable training courses and events that enhanced my leadership skills and helped me advance in my career.


As the Federal Women’s Program Manager at my agency, I have brought forth awareness programs, disseminated information about training education and advancement programs and have collaborated with community resources to create a network in which we can refer federally employed women who may need services that are not offered through our agency.


As a Federal Women’s Program Manager, I have helped federally employed women through mentoring and counseling them on their Professional Development Program, as well as applying for leadership training. I also encourage women at my facility to extend their scope of learning to areas outside of the facility and to strive to better themselves professionally. For example, one employee was very shy even after being at the facility for over twenty-four years. I helped her step outside her comfort zone and urged her to become a facilitator for a Franklin Covey course. She is now much more confident and able to communicate to other employees about the resources available to them for advancement. I also assist the Equal Opportunity Manager by making recommendations after assessing situations and identifying barriers in the workplace and proper hiring practices as they pertain to women.


The Federal Women’s Program at Hickam Air Force Base supports the Air Force mission by providing leadership, advice and assistance to management officials in developing and implementing women’s activities such as enhancing upward mobility and monitoring career counseling. The Program Manager also is an advocate for the employee and positively affects the employment, professional development and advancement of women at Hickam AFB.


My goal as the Federal Women’s Program Manager is to support women by providing resources, information and opportunities through communication and participation. I endeavor to create an environment of open minds which results in better equal opportunity and support for women in Idaho.


Because my agency in the past had a visible and viable Federal Women’s Program (FWP), I was exposed to many career development resources, work/family balance tools, etc. The FWP was largely responsible for identifying and implementing alternative work schedules and flexible work options for my agency. The FWP also worked with management and facilities officials to develop and maintain lactation areas in our health suite.


As the Equal Employment Opportunity Manager for my agency, I supervised the Federal Women’s Program Managers. These women were pivotal in advancing the careers of many women who came to them for careers tips and advice.


The Federal Women’s Program (FWP) has provided many services to the employees in Ames, Iowa. The FWP was critical to the implementation of flextime in 1995. It also increased sensitivity in the workplace through a glass ceiling survey, conducted observances of Women’s History Month and Women’s Equality Day; and made it possible for the construction of adequate day care facilities. As a Federal Women’s Program Manager, I provided information to employees on elder and adult care, income tax preparation, and outreach to the Iowa State University Career Conferences for middle and high school girls, and arranged for improved lighting in the parking lot as a security measure.


In the state of Kansas, the Federal Women’s Program Manager helps the Natural Resources Conservation Service be an inclusive, diverse and equitable Agency and helps organize programs that focus on fairness, equality, and accountability while ensuring that all job employment decisions are free from discrimination.


In 1979, I transferred to a GS-2 File Clerk position, and was promoted to a GS-3/4 position. While working in this position, I heard about an “Upward Mobility Program” administered by the Federal Women’s Program (FWP) Administrator. This program helped entry level and lower level employees receive the training needed to move up the work ladder. With their guidance, I decided to pursue the Computer Programming series of jobs. I was trained in Military Pay, Retired Pay, Annuitant Pay, Travel Pay, Disbursing functions, Congressional Inquiries and Accounting Operations. Because of all the training and opportunities afforded to me via the FWP, I was able to qualify for, and was accepted into a GS-11 slot. I will retire this year after 36 years of service.


The Federal Women’s Program Manager at the Joint Readiness Training Center in Fort Polk actively participates in the formulation of affirmative Equal Employment Opportunity (EEO) Action Plans and assists in counseling women of the opportunities available to them through the Upward Mobility Program. The Manager also ensures that reasonable and achievable goals for women are included in the EEO Plan of Action.


The Federal Women’s Program Manager at the Natural Resources Conservation Service in Maine provides educational materials for employees dealing with Equal Employment Opportunity, keeps superiors informed of sensitive, controversial, emerging issues dealing with gender discrimination, and recommends appropriate actions to combat this discrimination.


As a Federal Women’s Program Manager, I hosted several panels giving women advice and guidance. One focused on how to manage work and life balance issues, primarily for single parents. Another focused on women’s health issues as related to federal workers’ jobs and workplaces. Another manager reports that she was part of a special task force to assist women in changing their career discipline from a clerical to a professional series.

I started working for the Internal Revenue Service in 1989 as a GS-4. Following the advice of a Federal Women’s Program Manager, I applied for the Frontline Leader Readiness Program and passed, allowing me to quickly climb my career ladder to my current GS-11 position as a Safety Officer.


As a Federal Women’s Program Manager, I have provided advice and guidance and have protected employees’ civil, human, women’s and workers’ rights. I investigate, represent and provide solutions to women who report gender or race discrimination issues or complaints. Possible solutions could include reassignments, retirements, reevaluation of performance ratings, health issues, and providing reasonable accommodations to the employees.


The Federal Women’s Program (FWP) has played a significant role in my career with the Natural Resources Conservation Service. FWP provided me with encouragement, networking opportunities, mentoring and critical training over the years. I continued to grow and advance during my 29-year career.


My agency – the U.S. Army Engineer Research and Development Center (ERDC) -conducts research and development for the U.S. Army Corps of Engineers. One of the most diverse research organizations in the world, the ERDC has seven laboratories located in four states and more than 2,500 employees. The ERDC employs a high concentration of engineers and scientists in order to execute its mission. For many years, women were under-represented in these positions and traditionally held administrative and other support positions. I have benefited greatly from the efforts of the Federal Women’s Program in identifying barriers to the hiring and advancement of women and increasing diversity in the workforce, particularly in high technology areas. During my 30-year career, I have been afforded the opportunity to serve in a variety of positions with increasing levels of professional careers as a Research Civil Engineer. I am proud to say that in May 2014, I will become the ERDC Associate Director, thus becoming the first African American female to ever serve in this role in the 85-year history of the organization. Undoubtedly, my career progression and success, in part, can be attributed to the efforts of the Federal Women’s Program.


As a Federal Women’s Program Manager, I helped train supervisors on various issues, such as sexual harassment and creating upward mobility positions to help women move up the career ladder. I also helped mentor and train new employees. Finally, I helped organize training programs for federal employees on issues such as completing job resumes, writing cover letters, etc. This experience also helped me personally, as I started as GS-2 temporary and am now a GS-12 Financial Analyst.


As a Federal Women’s Program Manager in Montana’s Natural Resources Conservation Service, I sit on the critical Montana Civil Rights Advisory Committee which compiles and distributes information about equal opportunity, civil rights and special emphasis issues and events. We also advise the Deputy Equal Opportunity Officer on discrimination issues.


As the Federal Women’s Program Manager in my agency, I provided information on job advancement and interview skills, among other workplace skills. My goal was to encourage women to apply for new (and more career-enhancing) jobs within the Natural Resources Conservation Service that they might not necessarily have pursued.


The Federal Women’s Program in my agency allowed me to participate in workshops and training on career development, leadership skills and technical skills that has greatly helped me in my career. It also allowed me to learn from other women within the government on ways to have a successful career.

New Hampshire:

The Federal Women’s Program Managers in my agency were embedded within several offices. We formed a Council and sponsored training and speakers on career planning.

New Jersey:

The Federal Women’s Program has given me the opportunity to advance more rapidly than I otherwise would have within my agency. I am now the highest-ranking minority female to hold a leadership role in my district office. In this role, I not only serve in several women’s program roles, but I also have been able to encourage my team (which is mostly female) to take advantage of the training and development opportunities to grow in their careers.

New Mexico:

The FWP Committee for White Sands Missile Range visited local colleges to help recruit women into the sciences and mathematics careers, and to apply to the federal government upon graduation.

New York:

The Federal Women’s Program sponsored several workshops to assist employees develop their professional skills. More than 1,400 employees benefited from these workshops. The program also reviewed local demographics (pay, education, length of service, awards, etc.) and provided an in-depth pay-gap analysis which was given to the Director and Senior Management officials.

North Carolina:

The Federal Women’s Program Manager is an integral part of the overall equal opportunity program in North Carolina’s Natural Resources Conservation Service. These Managers are active members of the State Civil Rights Advisory Committee and serve as liaisons between the employees and managers on employment and program issues related to Civil Rights and Equal Employment Opportunity. They address the unique concerns of women in achieving diversity, inclusion and equal opportunity.

North Dakota:

The Federal Women’s Program (FWP) Manager was instrumental in obtaining a lactation support group and nursing mother’s policy, which has greatly benefited the Natural Resources Conservation Service’s female employees, as well as their supervisors and co-workers. Working mothers have many obstacles to overcome when coming back to work from maternity leave. Also as the FWP Manager, I have been able to assist new working mothers by providing guidance and support through the USDA’s Lactation Support Policy and Handbook. By developing policy on important issues like this, we can give our employees the support they need when having to make transitions in their work and family life. Before this policy was in place, many supervisors did not know the rights nursing mothers had in the workplace.


During the late 1990’s, our Agency (Defense Indusial Security Clearance Office) conducted mock interviews with the personnel within our Agency. The purpose was to help them lose their fear of being interviewed. The Federal Women’s Program (FWP) Manager believed that this was of paramount importance because our Agency was going to advertise numerous vacant positions. The mock interview, which was facilitated by the FWP Manager, was highly successful because workers gained much confidence for their upcoming interviews. Many of the personnel who attended this FWP training event were successfully promoted. Another federal worker writes that after eleven years in the legal series as a clerk, she was ready to change career fields to gain upward mobility. Working with her FWP Manager, she laid out a plan to develop a mentoring program which she presented to the Chief of Staff. He was so impressed that he promoted her to serve in his Office to create and manage a base-wide mentoring program.


Several years ago, I was being mentored by the Federal Women’s Program Manager and was given the responsibility of setting up the March Women’s History Day Event to give me leadership and managerial experience. The event was a success and by serving in this leadership role, I was promoted to a higher grade level. As a Federal Women’s Program Manager, I have organized bi-monthly brown bag lunches during which training was provided on preparing for a new job, applying for a job on USAJOBS.gov, how to dress for success, how to prepare a resume, and interview skills.


My Federal Women’s Program Manager ensured that our agency had the demographics information to see how well diversified we were in our agency. She also provided tools to help us improve the demographics, especially in the positions where women had low or no representation. She is a staff member located in the Civil Rights and Equal Employment Opportunity Office and is also responsible for the training events in recognition of Women’s History Month and Women’s Equality Day. She often partners with other local agencies to enable employees from all agencies to benefit from these training events.


Earlier in my career at the Internal Revenue Service, I was the Federal Women’s Program Manager (FWPM) at my site GS-7. This managerial training allowed me to acquire  leadership skills that helped me get promoted into the Support Services Intern program which enabled me to progress to Specialist, Career Counselor and finally to an Analyst position. These promotions could not have happened without the leadership skills I obtained through working as a FWPM. Another federal worker states that her FWPM made her aware of opportunities, resources, training and other options to help further her career. She started her federal career as a GS-3 clerk typist and retired as a GS-14 Director of Civilian Personnel Programs.

Rhode Island:

The FWP Manager was a critical partner in developing the Natural Resources Conservation Service’s Rhode Island Business Plan for Civil Rights. She helped develop a plan for identifying training needs for women, monitoring the progress of women through the ranks, developing a recruitment plan to attract more women to the agency, and developing exit interviews to determine why women leave the agency.

South Carolina:

I started my career in 1981 as a GS-5 and retired as a GS-9. I credit my affiliation with the Federal Women’s Program (FWP) for being selected by the Department of Energy Secretary for several leadership details; and for obtaining BS and MS degrees with honors because my FWP contact advised that I needed a degree in order to be considered seriously for advanced positions. I am also the recipient of several Department of Energy Women of the Year Awards.

South Dakota:

As the Federal Women’s Program Manager in the Natural Resources Conservation Service’s South Dakota agency, I have developed mentoring programs for women, provided information pamphlets on career planning, upward mobility opportunities and special training to employees. I also provide information about special training opportunities to women employees and participate in meetings with the Human Resources Department to discuss training, recruitment and career enhancement programs for women.


I have benefited from the Federal Women’s Program (FWP) in my agency by attending and then then helping to plan our annual women’s workshops in Oak Ridge, Tennessee. The workshops offered a great way to bring professional women from our office and around the community together to share in meaningful dialogue about the current issues facing women today. The workshops feature panel sessions with women in various industries, from different backgrounds, and in different types of leadership positions. We also always featured an inspirational keynote speaker, as well as personal and professional development workshops. Some examples of developmental workshops we have had include adapting to change, leadership, personal finance and budgeting, stress management, time management, etc. The FWP has also held brown bag lunches throughout the year with a keynote speaker on various subjects such as personal budgeting and career advancement.


Through the Federal Women’s Program, I was matched with a mentor who provided strategic guidance and direction to me because I was in a profession dominated by males. This guidance allowed me to move up the career ladder.


I have had the opportunity to assist with and facilitate local training courses through the Federal Women’s Program covering several computer software programs – all of which added to my skills level. I have also benefited from courses focused on tax law, career planning and personal training modules. All of this training helped improve my communication skills, leadership knowledge and career progression.


The goals of the Federal Women’s Program Manager at the Natural Resources Conservation Service (NRCS) in Vermont seeks to increase the number of women employed in NRCS; to diversify and create advancement opportunities throughout all occupational levels and disciplines; and to encourage the participation of women in NRCS-sponsored programs.


I was able to obtain critical career information, informal mentoring and knowledge about federal benefits through my agency’s Federal Women’s Program. This program provided resume-writing workshops and employment advancement information, among many other things.

Partnering with the Federal Women’s Program allowed me to have support that I otherwise would not have had. I was the first and only woman in my career category for several years. Having the FWP as a resource greatly helped me become successful in a non-traditional career.

West Virginia:

As a Federal Women’s Program Manager, I conduct outreach and networking opportunities for women working in my agency. I also advise the EEO Deputy on matters affecting the employment and advancement of federally employed women. Finally, I provide information to women on career planning and counseling and highlight federal women’s achievements and successes to upper management.


Each year, the FWP hosts a USDA Interagency Conference with the goal of providing training in the areas of career advancement, communication enhancement, service improvement and interpersonal skills enrichment. Attendees come from the entire state.


The Federal Women’s Program Manager in Wyoming sits on the Civil Rights Advisory Committee which advises the Deputy Equal Opportunity Officer on employment issues facing women. The Manager also helps develop effective affirmative action goals and provides feedback on the performance in equal opportunity and civil rights compliance by identifying areas of weakness and making recommendations for improvement.