330. Editorial Note

During 1971 women employed by the foreign affairs agencies continued to press for reforms, especially concerning the effect of marriage on their rights, opportunities, and employment conditions. At an Open Meeting on Marriage held on January 20, 1971, Department spokesmen, including Deputy Under Secretary for Administration Macomber, exchanged views with women of the foreign affairs agencies on the regulations affecting married women employees. In a January 29 follow-up letter to Macomber, Mary Olmsted, President of the Women’s Action Organization, welcomed Macomber’s statement that it was time to start making marriage not incompatible with a women’s career. She included an 11-point summary of the organization’s understanding of what was said at the meeting (printed in Calkin, Women in the Department of State, pages 272–273) and highlighted additional concerns not covered fully or at all at the meeting. The letter and further correspondence with Macomber is in the National Archives, RG 59, Office of the Deputy Under Secretary for Management, Management Reform Task Force Papers: Lot 74 D 394, Women’s Affairs.

In airgram CA–3745, August 11, 1971, the Department of State transmitted to all diplomatic and consular posts a policy statement on the effect of marriage on the rights, opportunities, and employment conditions of women employed by the Department, the Agency for International Development, and the United States Information Agency. The air-gram reported that the three agencies were “continuing to review their regulations to assure that marriage and a career are compatible for those [Page 734] women who desire both, and that women with dependents will have equal opportunities for service abroad if they so desire.” The airgram then specified the policies adopted by the three agencies:

  • “1) Recruitment literature has been rewritten to eliminate any reference to considerations based on sex or marital status.
  • “2) Women applicants are not being questioned regarding their marital status or intention to marry.
  • “3) Women with dependents are being considered for appointment and assignment in the foreign affairs agencies.
  • “4) A woman who was required to resign from the Foreign Service because of marriage will be given opportunities for reentry into the Foreign Service at a class commensurate with her qualifications, if there is a need for her services and if she meets current conditions of employment.
  • “5) Women in the foreign affairs agencies who wish to continue their careers after marriage can do so if they continue to accept all conditions of employment without reservation, including availability for world wide service. Equality in application of the regulations means that—
    • “(a) A Foreign Service employee marrying a national of another country will be assigned to the U.S. so that the spouse may apply for U.S. citizenship (Uniform State/AID/USIA Regulations, 3 FAM 629, Marriage of Employees).
    • “(b) If two Foreign Service employees marry and both wish to continue working, each may retain regular status if each continues to be available for world wide assignment. The foreign affairs agencies will make every effort to assign both husband and wife to the same post in positions appropriate to their class levels and qualifications. If such assignments are not feasible the husband and wife may be assigned positions at different posts, or one or the other of the couple will be granted leave without pay for the duration of one full tour of duty. The couple will be consulted on the alternatives.
    • “(c) The fact that a woman is married, or intends to marry will not be considered a factor in her availability for assignment overseas unless she declares that she is no longer available for assignment world wide.
  • “6) A woman employee who marries while in service abroad and wishes to convert from Regular to Resident status in order to continue her employment at the post may apply to do so.
  • “7) A woman employee who must remain in the United States after marriage may be considered for transfer to an appropriate personnel category, such as FSRU/FAS.
  • “8) Women employees in the foreign affairs agencies who as a result of marriage were converted from Regular to Resident appointments are being asked whether they wish to convert back to their regular status as world wide available employees.
  • “9) The fact that a woman is married or intends to marry, or any comment thereon, shall not be included in any part of her performance evaluation and shall in no way prejudice her eligibility for promotion.
  • “10) A post differential is paid to a regular employee of the Foreign Service residing with his or her spouse when both have been determined to be career employees of the United States Government. A post differential is also paid to a regular employee living with his or her spouse who is not employed by the United States Government (Subject to 031.3 Standardized Regulations (Government Civilians, Foreign Affairs) which appeared in TL–SR 209, April 18, 1971).
  • “11) A woman employee’s marriage or intent to marry will not affect her consideration for a long term training program (Uniform State/USIA Regulations, 3 FAM 817, on Continued Service Agreements apply).” (Ibid., MR: Special—Women Employees/Wives)

In September the Department of State established a full-time Office of Women’s Affairs and named Gadys P. Rogers as the Deputy Under Secretary of Management’s Special Assistant for Women’s Affairs. In a December 15 memorandum to Macomber, Rogers reported on “Where the Department Stands with Respect to Improving the Status of Women.” Three weeks later, on January 4, 1972, she forwarded to Macomber a 7-page year-end report on the status of the Department’s “Women’s Program” and its accomplishments during 1971. Both reports and additional documentation on the status of women employed by the Department are ibid.

Also during 1971 calls were sounded for reforms in the treatment of Foreign Service wives, which were instituted during 1972. See Documents 338 and 341. Additional documentation on the issue is in the National Archives, RG 59, Office of the Deputy Under Secretary for Management, Management Reform Task Force Papers: Lot 74 D 374, MR: Special—Policy on Role of Wives.