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Report: Female feds less likely to feel empowered

Jul. 11, 2013 - 06:00AM   |  
By SEAN REILLY   |   Comments

Female federal employees are less likely than their male counterparts to have a sense of on-the-job empowerment or believe they can safely report possible wrongdoing, according to a report released Thursday by the Partnership for Public Service.

The report, which draws on responses from last year’s Federal Employee Viewpoint Survey, found that about 46 percent of men “have a feeling of personal empowerment with respect to work processes,” compared with 42 percent of women. More than 61 percent of men thought they could disclose a suspected violation of law or regulations without fear of reprisal; some 56 percent of women were similarly confident.

There also was a gender gap when workers were asked whether their agencies had policies and programs in place to promote workplace diversity. Some 54 percent of male respondents answered yes, compared with about 51 percent of females.

The authors didn’t speculate on the reasons behind the varying perceptions. But to do its job effectively, the government’s workforce must reflect the “rich diversity and varied viewpoints” of the American public as a whole, the report said.

“When you look at things government-wide, it’s like an onion,” David Dye, director of human capital at Deloitte Consulting, which helped produce the report, said in a phone interview. “To understand what’s contributing to the differences, I think you need to ask those kinds of questions in more local settings.”

Gender isn’t the only fault line.

At almost 69 percent, the job satisfaction score of employees of Asian descent was higher than that of any other racial or ethnic group.

And federal workers with disabilities held more negative views of workplace diversity efforts than their colleagues. Asked, for example, whether their supervisors were committed to a workforce “representative of all segments of society,” almost 61 percent of employees without disabilities answered positively. About 55 percent of disabled employees shared that view.

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