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News Release

Friday, April 02, 2004
Contact: Chad Cowan
Tel: 202-606-2402

OPM Official Speaks to Department of Defense Employees, Highlights Progress of Women in the Federal Workforce

Highlights gains of women in the Federal Government

Los Angeles, California - The United States Office of Personnel Management (OPM) recently sent a senior official to the Los Angeles Air Force Base to highlight the role of women in the Federal workforce as part of Women's History Month. OPM is the partner agency for the National Security Personnel System along with the Department of Defense (DoD) in legislation passed last year to transform the personnel system at DoD.

OPM Deputy Chief of Staff Amber Roseboom recently spoke on behalf of OPM Director Kay Coles James at the Women's History Month Luncheon at the Space and Missile Systems Center at the Los Angeles Air Force Base.

"Director James asked that I tell you she is fully supportive of the work that you do. As a federally employed woman, she stands on your shoulders because you paved the way and made it possible for so many of us who are here today," Roseboom said.  "On her behalf, and mine, thank you. You have been the trail blazers. You have been the women who first encountered those glass ceilings of our society, and you have been the ones to shatter those barriers most resoundingly."

The event was attended by some 200 people, male and female alike from the Air Force, the Federal Bureau of Prisons, Army Corps of Engineers, Government Services Administration, and the U.S. Marshals Service. The luncheon was held as part of the Air Force Base's Federal Women's Program and the theme was Women Inspiring Hope and Possibility.

"For too long there has been an unacceptable disparity in the senior ranks of the federal government," Roseboom added. "In 1968, women made up 34% of the federal workforce. Barely one percent held positions above grade 12.  Contrast that with President Bush's Cabinet:  Secretary of Agriculture Ann Veneman; Secretary of the Interior Gale Norton; and Secretary of Labor Elaine Chao. The diverse group of women in the Bush Administration are more integrated and more involved at the senior level than ever before."

The Federal government is providing women with career and pay advancement opportunities according to the Federal Equal Opportunity Recruitment Program report OPM issued this month. In the highest level of government, the number of women represented in the general schedule pay system increased by 4.5 percent and the number of women represented in the senior pay levels increased by 2.5 percent. Women are making significant gains in the Federal work force.  Women are also finding the Federal government the employer of choice. The report notes that the women in professional and administrative positions rose 9,395 from 356,289 in 2002 to 365,684 in 2003.  Overall, women in professional occupations in the Federal work force increased by 2.4 percent.

"The President's leadership is working -- at all levels of our government, resulting in major employment gains for women, minorities, and many others who have so often been denied these opportunities," Roseboom stated. "This diversity is important, because our private sector, our government, and our nation are all learning the same lesson, that diversity means strength and vitality, and exclusion means division and weakness, the loss of real freedom for all."

"Our Federal workforce must embrace our nation's diversity if it is going to remain competitive and strong. At OPM, we are working hard to make our Federal Government a model - leading the way in recruiting and retaining a workforce that is not only diverse, but also more productive and customer focused," Roseboom concluded. "The fact is, this is a great time be in public service, to participate in this rewarding process, to be involved - together, as a team - in building an America that makes our unique, rich past a mere prologue to a glorious future."

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OPM leads and serves the Federal Government in enterprise human resources management by delivering policies and services to achieve a trusted, effective civilian workforce. By Empowering Excellence in Government through Great People, we provide leadership and support to U.S. agencies on issues including human resources policy and oversight, background investigations, federal employee benefits, retirement services, guidance on labor-management relations, and programs to improve workforce performance. For more information, visit or follow OPM on Twitter, Facebook, or LinkedIn.

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