2012 State Dept Annual Awards: Greatest Achievements in Many Fields, Mostly By Men

Where are the women?

In 2012, the State Department recognized 32 individuals in its Annual Awards Ceremony.  It granted a total of 32 awards, another two were not conferred due to apparently “insufficient number of nominations.”  We cannot be sure of this but it looks like one of the no award category is the “Ryan C. Crocker Award for Outstanding Leadership in Expeditionary Diplomacy” and  the “Thomas Morrison Information Management Award.” Not sure which is the second no award cat.

2012 was a tough year for expeditionary diplomats, and no one made the cut? How about that brave officer who cradled the head of …. in the aftermath of the Benghazi attacks? No?

There were 8-9 female awardees (we cannot tell whether one person is male or female).  Two of the female awardees are for Office Management Specialist Award and the Civil Service Secretary of the Year, both under the  secretarial job series. The third one is for advancing women’s role in policy.

“Very gender stereotypic!” fumed our source.

The other 3 of the 8-9 female awardees are FSNs or locally employed staff.  Those awards (one for each regional bureau) exclude consideration of Foreign Service officers.

“Out of all the awards FSOs are eligible for, only 3 2 went to women: the advancing women’s role, linguist of the year, and Dunn award for excellence. Boo!”

3 FAM 4830 Annual Awards and more from Wikipedia here.

Reportedly, these awards serve to highlight the State Department’s “greatest achievements in many fields,” except that they mostly went to men, with the exception of the following:

Civil Service Secretary of the Year: Crystal Y. Johnson

This annual award recognizes the high standards of performance which characterize the work of Civil Service Secretaries in the Department and abroad.  It is granted annually to one Civil Service Secretary whose performance is judged by a selection committee to exemplify most clearly these high standards.  The recipient receives a certificate signed by the Secretary of State and $10,000.  In addition, the recipients’ names are placed on a plaque in the Department.

Office Management Specialist of the Year Award:  Gail M. Cooper

This annual award recognizes the high standards of performance which characterize the work of Foreign Service Office Management Specialists in the Department and abroad. It is granted annually to one Foreign Service OMS whose performance is judged by a selection committee to exemplify most clearly these high standards.  The recipient receives a certificate signed by the Secretary of State and $10,000.  In addition, the recipients’ names are placed on a plaque in the Department.

Swanee Hunt Award for Advancing Women’s Role in Policy Formulation: Heera K. Kamboj

These awards specifically recognize achievements in the area of promoting women as participants in the political and economic processes or as policy shapers.  An annual stipend of $10,000 will be given in two awards of $5,000 each:  one to a Foreign Service or Civil Service employee and one to a Foreign Service National at a U.S. Embassy or Consulate.

Foreign Service National of the Year Award (EAP): Chen Er

Foreign Service National of the Year Award (EUR): Zlatko Moratic

Foreign Service National of the Year Award (SCA): Farah Naz

James Clement Dunn Award for Excellence: G. Kathleen Hill

This award was established in 1980 to recognize exemplary performance in the Department of State at the mid-career level.  It is made possible by an endowment from the Vincent Astor Foundation and is named, at the request of the donor, in memory of Ambassador James Clement Dunn.  Ambassador Dunn retired from the Service in 1956 with the rank of Career Ambassador.  The recipient receives a certificate signed by the Secretary of State and $10,000.  The James Clement Dunn Award for Excellence recognizes leadership, intellectual skills, managerial ability, and personal qualities that most fully exemplify the standards of excellence desired of officers at the mid-career level.

Edward R. Murrow Award for Excellence in Public Diplomacy: Gloria F. Berbena

This award recognizes significant contributions in the field of public diplomacy and the special qualities that reflect the integrity, courage, sensitivity, vision, and dedication to excellence that were so highly exemplified in the life of Edward R. Murrow, the Director of the United States Information Agency from 1961 to 1964. The winner of the award receives a plaque presented during the commencement exercises at the Fletcher School, Tufts University. The winner also receives $10,000, which is presented at the annual Departmental Awards Ceremony held at the State Department.

Linguist of the Year Award: Adedeji E. Okediji

This award is presented to a member of the Foreign Service who demonstrates unusual mastery of a world or difficult language while studying at the Foreign Service Institute. The award consists of a certificate signed by the Secretary and $10,000. 

(note: deleted from this list as awardee is a he. will be included in the full list of awardees in a separate blogpost later)

So the news really is, if our math is correct, that 71.8% 75% of all awards in 2012 went to men, while women took just 28.1% 25 % of the total awards. To see how this matches up with the workforce composition at State, we went looking for employee demographics by gender.

According to careers.state.gov, the latest official report which the Department is required to file with the Office of Personnel Management provides the following statistics on DOS personnel for FY2011:

Total Workforce (CS and FS):
55.9% Male  44.1% Female

FS Generalists:
60.7% Male  39.3% Female

FS Specialists:
71.4% Male  28.5% Female

Civil Service:
43% male  57% female

So while the the total workforce at State is almost 56% male, the gender gap widens with male FS generalists (Pol, Con, Econ, PD, management officers) at over 60.7 % and male FS specialists (DS, IMO, HR, others) at 71.4%.  Only in the Civil Service are there more women than men in Foggy Bottom.

We’ve read somewhere that the FS specialist gender gap might be explained by the fact that majority of DS agents and IT specialists are male.  The 2012 awards number almost or is a close enough mirror of the FS specialist gap.  Why is that when in the the overall workforce, the gender gap isn’t as wide?  Note that we are not calling for gender as the driving force in these awards, we are not.  But why is there such a low representation of women FSOs in the 2012 awards? We are perplexed. Also, anyone knows the composition of the awards panels?

We’re sure somebody from DGHR has an excellent explanation. Except that DGHR now only responds to DiploPundit’s email of every stripe with an automated email saying, “If you have requested assistance, a response is forthcoming.” Forthcoming except when it’s not.

domani spero sig



12 responses

  1. I myself was remarking last year about the apparent gender gaps in the senior Foreign Service– if you look at State Magazine’s published promotion statistics from last year, at FS-01 and above, men were promoted at approximately the same rate as women, but twice as many men as women COMPETED. Maybe it’s just an issue of the more gender-balanced cohort being promoted up through the ranks, but I would be interested to know what the drop-out rates of women are in the Foreign Service as lower level officers come to realize the difficulty of finding/starting/having a family as a female officer.

    • My understanding is that some of the DOS affinity groups looking at women’s issues and work-life balance have requested such statistics from HR and been informed repeatedly that they are not available. My understanding is also that new foreign service hires have been about 50-50 for at least a decade, and I think more than 1/3 of the FS has been in for less than then?

    • Thanks for the note AKB. Not sure State would like to slice and dice the stats for public consumption, although it would be useful information for those contemplating a career in the FS. The overall attrition rate is reportedly low, not sure if that’s real or artificially low.

      See http://diplopundit.net/2010/11/08/which-state-department-attrition-rate-do-you-like-best/

      Perhaps AFSA would have more success getting the information and slicing and dicing it for its membership including drop out rates by women.

  2. Conventional wisdom is that men are more likely to suggest that their bosses nominate them for awards.

  3. The Thomas Morrison Information Management Award was indeed awarded – to Todd Cheng, who did amazing work for our missions in Tripoli and Benghazi in 2011 and 2012.