Page 8 - FSJ_july-august13-FIXED

This is a SEO version of FSJ_july-august13-FIXED. Click here to view full version

« Previous Page Table of Contents Next Page »
The Persistence of
Gender Imbalance
Margot Carrington’s article, “How
Are FS Women at State Faring?”, was an
excellent addition to your May issue’s
focus on diversity. Te State Depart-
ment made promoting gender diver-
sity a priority during the Quadrennial
Diplomacy and Development Review,
but we at home must also model what
we teach.
When I came into the Foreign Ser-
vice, my A-100 class was very evenly
balanced for gender. Yet the data indi-
cate that somewhere between entry and
the Senior Foreign Service, that balance
gets lost.
If the State Department is serious
about ensuring diversity at senior levels,
it must identify why this is happening
and devote the necessary resources to
reverse the trend.
Coney Patterson
Washington, D.C.
Promoting Transformative
I was proud to be among the con-
tributors to the excellent May issue of
, which underscored the
importance of “transformative inclu-
sion” for confronting challenges to U.S.
foreign policy. Tat term is not mine,
but one Ernest J. Wilson III eloquently
defnes in his own article in that issue,
“Diversity and Cultural Competence:
Mission-Critical Elements of U.S. For-
eign Policy.”
Because I hope some of the recom-
mendations I made in my 2010-2011
Una Chapman Cox Sabbatical Fellow-
ship report might be useful in helping
us achieve “transformative inclusion,” I
am pleased that AFSA chose to repub-
lish them as part of my article, “How Are
FS Women at State Far-
ing?” To fully understand
the context, please fnd
the full report online at
under “Professional
Let me also take this
opportunity to thank
the Una Chapman
Cox Foundation for
its continued support
of the Foreign Service and for promot-
ing a more diverse, and hence stronger,
Foreign Service corps.
Margot Carrington
Washington, D.C.
In his April letter, “Professionalism
vs. Diversity?”, retired FSO Richard W.
Hoover seems to imply that the search
for diversity in employment and the
desire for professionalism are mutually
exclusive undertakings. In one pas-
sage, he was quite explicit : “Hiring and
promoting people with a view to their
gender, sexual orientation, ethnicity
and skin color necessarily promote both
the exclusion and the non-retention of
top talent.”
He then goes on to state: “I do not
believe that the professional problems
raised by the AFSA president are as
amenable to structural and training
reforms as she goes on to suggest.
Besides, why should State be tasked to
train up ofcers in the ways of excel-
lence, discipline and professionalism?
Are new FSOs no longer expected to
have such qualities?”
I simply must take strong exception
to both of Mr. Hoover’s positions. As a
veteran of more than
50 years of government
service (20 in the Army
and 30 in the Foreign
Service), I know that
professionalism and
diversity are not mutu-
ally exclusive. To the
contrary: When they are
handled correctly, they
can be mutually reinforc-
Te key is that an
institution must recruit for
talent, but in doing so, must reach out
broadly across the society it represents.
Tis, unfortunately, is something that
the Foreign Service did poorly for a
good part of its history; ask any female
FSO who just a few decades ago was
forced to resign when she got married.
It is his second point, though, with
which I most vehemently disagree. Te
question that should be asked is this:
“Why have the Department of State
and the Foreign Service not taken the
responsibility to train and educate their
ofcers in the ways of excellence, dis-
cipline and professionalism?” After all,
many other institutions do it.
I would sincerely hope that Mr.
Hoover is not suggesting that there is a
‘diplomacy’ gene that is present in only
a narrow segment of the population,
and all the institution needs to do is
fnd those people, hire them and then
turn them loose. Tat has never been a
recipe for long-term viability or success,
and in today’s complex world, it’s a
prescription for disaster.
Is the Foreign Service so diferent
that it can’t take a reasonably intel-
ligent, dedicated individual (regardless
of gender, ethnicity or other markers)
and mold that individual into a profes-
sional diplomat through a program of