Women in America: Is Progress Being Made? Essay

4981 WordsSep 27, 201520 Pages
Women in America: Is progress is being made? A look at women in government. John A. Geruso April 30, 2000 INTRODUCTION: Until recently I didn't pay much attention to gender issues. Having spent over 30 years in the Federal Government, both as a military member and a civil servant, I was isolated from the inequality issues found in private organizations and local governments. In the military we were aware of separate treatments for men and women, but this was considered the norm. Prior to the early 70s, women worked side by side with men, but only in a limited number of jobs. However, they were administratively assigned to women-only squadrons where they had their own Commanding Officers, First Sergeants and barracks. Women were normally found in administrative, personnel, finance and medical careers. There were no female General Officers, pilots or missile-crew members until the late 1970s, early 1980s. Changes were made in the military during the early 70s. Women-only squadrons were disbanded and the women were incorporated into the operational squadrons. Coed dorms started replacing female barracks and women were allowed to work in positions previously closed to them (aircraft mechanics, law enforcement, security, civil engineering, crewmembers, etc). It is difficult to point at the exact reason military women made advances quicker than their civilian counterparts. Obvious reasons are changing mission requirements and reductions in force following the Vietnam War. Another reason is the introduction of affirmative action programs. Affirmative action programs in the 1970s and 80s increased the numbers of women employed at all levels of government. (Eribes: 155-189). Women hired under these programs were functionally segregated. Women were initially hired to fill administrative and service positions. A large number of female

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