Federal Women's Program
The Federal Women's Program (FWP) is one of several federally mandated programs.
It began with the passing of the 19th Amendment on August 26th, 1920, which granted
women the right to vote in the United States. Since 1971, August 26th is recognized
every year as “Women’s Equality Day” and activities are done to
memorialize the strenuous fight for women’s equality. In October 1967, the
category of “sex” was added as a protected category from unlawful discrimination
with Executive Order
11375. Then, In August 1969,
Executive Order 11478 formed the mandate for establishment of a Federal
Women’s Program for each Federal Agency and placed the responsibility under
the purview of Directors of Equal Employment Opportunity (EEO) for each Federal
Agency. Finally, In March of 1972, the Civil Rights Act of 1964 was amended to add
this protection to Federal employees and added to the Code of Federal Regulations
(CFR) under 29 CFR 1614.102.
Each year, the month of March is celebrated as “Women’s History Month”
in commemoration of “International Women’s Day,” celebrated in
Europe on March 8th. During March, we pause to recognize women’s achievements
and contributions to our planet and our communities. At VA, we believe it is important
to celebrate the achievements of the suffrage movement and know that the larger
fight for diversity and inclusion in an ongoing battle is even more vital. As current
statistics show the struggle for inclusion and diversity, especially in the workforce,
continues to this day.
In VA, where both equality and inclusion of both employees and the Veterans they
serve are of utmost importance, there is still room for improvement. As of May 31,
2012, women represent 59.48 percent of the overall VA workforce. Although this may
seem like a large number, it remains 5.37 percent below the National Relevant Civilian
Labor Force (RCLF) of 64.85 percent, which is the benchmark. In VA’s permanent
leadership pipeline (GS-12 through GS-14) women hold 62.9 percent of those positions.
Women represent 35.3 percent of executive leadership positions (GS-15 and Senior
Executive Service (SES)), including 35.29 percent of GS-15 positions and 35.57 percent
of SES positions. Of important note is that the representation of women in the higher
grades has steadily increased over that last few decades and is forecasted to continue
Each Federal Agency has designated an FWP Manager, who is tasked with carrying out
the responsibilities of the role. This individual assists in the recruitment, development,
training, and advancement of women in their respective workforces. The FWP Manager
- Advise management on the unique concerns of and barriers to equal opportunity for
a particular underrepresented group.
- Monitor and evaluate human resource policies, practices, and procedures to determine
the existence of barriers to full participation; and report findings to the appropriate
officials with recommendations for corrective action.
- Participate in studies and systemic analyses to identify barriers to equal employment
- Educate supervisors, managers and employees on the goals and objectives of the FWP.
- Assist in identification of training needs and recruitment sources for women in
areas they have less than expected participation rates.
- Serve as representative with various organizations with common goals.
- Coordinate and/or partner for educational programs including seminars, workshops,
and FWP observances.
- Be involved in the planning and implementation of proactive prevention measures
for women in the workforce.
MOUs and Partnership Agreements:
- Memorandum of Understanding between VA and FEW (PDF)
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