@StateDept Launches Gender Mainstreaming Assessment, and Let’s Give These Folks a Poke, Hey?

Posted: 2:58 pm EDT
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Deputy Secretary for Management and Resources (D-MR) Heather Higginbottom and the Ambassador-at-Large for Global Women’s Issues Cathy Russell (S/GWI) recently announced the “first-ever Department Assessment on the Implementation of the Secretary’s Gender Guidance” (18 FAM 003).  The assessment will reportedly be conducted by Department contractors Dynamo Technologies, and its subcontractor, Blue Compass, LLC.

Some background:

In June 2014, Secretary Kerry released policy guidance on “Promoting Gender Equality and Advancing the Status of Women and Girls” which expands upon the previous gender policy released in 2012 (18 FAM 003).  Together, the two outline guidance for integrating the promotion of gender equality and the advancement of the status of women and girls into the full range of Department planning and activities. The Gender Integration Assessment will focus on the four key areas of Department operations as identified in 18 FAM 003: 1) Strategic and Budget Planning, 2) Management & Staffing, 3) Monitoring& Evaluation, and 4) Training & Knowledge Management.

What can you expect?

In support of this assessment, Department leadership is asked to designate key focal points in offices and bureaus who will work with Dynamo and Blue Compass to present on efforts in the aforementioned four key areas.  D/MR and S/GWI are reportedly asking for full cooperation in providing the assessors access to personnel and documents — as relevant and appropriate — to facilitate their work.

“In addition, S/GWI will consult with bureaus to identify up to 50 missions that will provide the representative sample of how the Secretary’s Gender Guidance is implemented overseas.  A separate communication will then go to those missions identified to introduce Dynamo’s work.  In coordination with the regional bureaus, the contractors will then visit a sampling of these missions to assess gender integration in the four areas noted above.  The contract companies are charged with interviewing key personnel from embassies, consulates, offices, and bureaus and will also conduct surveys of Department employees.  A separate notice will go out to inform employees about this survey.”

These contractors will provide recommendations to Department senior officials based on this assessment on diplomatic engagement efforts undertaken since 2012 in support of the gender guidance, identify challenges to implementation of the policy guidance, and provide recommendations to build on successes and best practices.

The internal announcement says that for  additional information on the Secretary’s Gender Guidance, to please see 14 STATE 38129 and 18 FAM 003. Look it up!

18 FAM 003 is behind the firewall and we could not find the secretary’s gender guidance but the Office of Global Women’s Issues did issue the U.S. Department of State Policy Guidance: Promoting Gender Equality and Advancing the Status of Women and Girls dated July 3, 2014.

A side note — what else is behind the firewall?  Lots, but don’t forget — the State Department’s promotion statistics by gender and race, as well as its breakdowns by grade level for FSOs and specialists by gender and race, are still behind the firewall.  Any good reason why the State Department continues to put its gender and ethnicity/race promotion data beyond public reach? We heard through the grapevine that there is legislation pending in both Hill and Senate to force the Department to publish these statistics. We gotta look that up.  Also, go read Patricia Kushlis in More than undiplomatic moments: State’s diversity record remains behind a hard line.

Okay, back to — below is Dynamo Technologies via USASpending.gov

Screen Shot

 

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4 responses

  1. I wrote about this issue Feb. 15 on WV. Here’s the link to the post in case you missed it: http://whirledview.typepad.com/whirledview/2016/02/more-than-undiplomatic-moments-states-diversity-record-remains-behind-a-hard-line-.html Why State now thinks it needs to hire two contractors with questionable expertise in the field to answer questions whose answers are 1) obvious; and 2) have been around for years beats me. The first thing State should do is release the promotion statistics into the public record; then it could/should do what USIA did in 1994-5: establish and enable a panel of experienced officers, retired officers and civil servants to examine the record, look for problem areas, find ways to resolve them and then act on the advice. I was on that panel: and it worked well. This is not rocket science. But contracting out some vague study is time consuming and a large waste of taxpayers dollars. Ridiculous.

    • Thanks Pat, I did miss that post, sorry. I will add a link on the blogpost. I’ve been looking into the contracts but the details are not available on the USAspending website. Frankly, I don’t understand why State cannot make the promotion stats on gender and race public. Somebody from Secretary Kerry’s office told me a while back that he/she was going to look into it but never heard anything back and follow-up requests had disappeared into a black hole. I think if State does not voluntarily release that information, Congress ought to mandate its annual release.

    • Perhaps these are programs specific to women (fostering entrepreneurship, equal pay, gender violence, etc) and specific to girls (forced marriage, education, etc)?

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