Advocacy group urges Obama to focus on EEO compliance
A federal women's group on Wednesday called on the incoming Obama administration and congressional leaders to ensure that equal employment opportunity managers receive adequate support to improve the status of women and minorities in the government.
Federally Employed Women, a Washington-based advocacy group, pointed to an August 2008 Equal Employment Opportunity Commission report that found only 50 percent of federal departments and agencies submitted timely MD-715 reports in fiscal 2006, down from 68 percent in fiscal 2005. The reports, which detail agency employment by race, national origin, sex and disability, are required under law to be submitted, reviewed and approved annually by EEOC.
"These reporting requirements are an important indication of how well agencies are achieving equal employment for all federal workers," said FEW National President Sue Webster. "With only half of the agencies submitting reports, the public, federal workers and potential applicants have no way of knowing which agencies are working the hardest to ensure the employment and advancement of women and minorities."
The study did not provide recommendations on improving reporting shortfalls, or indicate what they implied about agency compliance with EEO law. But FEW said it hopes the Obama administration and the 111th Congress will address the issue and provide adequate support to EEO managers, specifically those responsible for the Federal Women's Program, to improve the status of women and minorities in government.
"While we realize there are many other items on the priority list for the new administration, we want to make sure that laws already on the books are enforced and that women -- who still earn only about 76 cents on the dollar compared to that of their male counterparts (the percentage is even lower for minorities) -- are able to obtain the counseling needed to move up the career ladder in the federal workforce," said Janet Kopenhaver, FEW's Washington representative.