When it comes to eliminating barriers to women serving in national security positions within the U.S. government, there’s plenty of data to show progress. Women now make up 45 percent of the general schedule workforce, compared to 33 percent only 20 years ago. Female admission rates to military service academies and national security-focused graduate studies programs are at all-time highs.
But as a new report from the Center for a New American Security points out, those gains haven’t necessarily translated to proportional increases in women serving at the top of the national security food chain, either because women leave the government workforce at much higher rates than men, or because they’re not promoted at the same rates. As of 2014, only 37.8 percent of GS-14 and GS-15 slots were occupied by women, and females made up 34 percent of the Senior Executive Service.
“And the political appointees are where we see the largest disparity between female representation and male representation,” Katherine Kidder, one of the study’s co-authors, said in an interview for Federal News Radio’s On DoD. “I think in some ways, this demonstrates there are a couple different skillsets at play: rising through the SES ranks is based a lot more on competency than political connections, and this may be demonstrative of an institutional bias in the political positions that doesn’t say anything about their qualifications for those roles.”
Read the full article at Federal News Radio.