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The Problem of Women in the Depar State Department in the late s and then led a class action lawsuit by female officers that lasted until Foreign Service. Ambassadors to three African nations justified their rejection of her from their staffs by stating that Palmer would be an ineffective diplomat because she would face sexual advances by her counterparts in the African governments.
Yet, as Palmer testified inthe only threats of sexual assault she faced in African postings were by more senior personnel in the American diplomatic community. The actions against Palmer show how sex replaced gender as the excuse for discrimination against female officers in the late s and s Foreign Service. The sexualization of women officers led to less rather than more gender equality among Foreign Service Officers.
Embassy in Leopoldville, Congo in June Less than a month later, soldiers in the newly independent nation mutinied, acting in anti-colonial rage against the former colonizers and the global forces that sought to maintain a Western-oriented power structure there. Cloaked in the authority of her nation, and convinced of her ability to make a difference, Palmer saved the lives of several young American men in the Congo.
When her exploits were publicized in the international press, an accompanying photo displayed conflicting images. The photo was distinctly feminine, showing a young, pretty blonde. It was distinctly sexual, recalling pinup images of the s.
And it was distinctly revolutionary, showing Palmer in a beret. All three portrayals of Palmer played out disfavorably in her Foreign Service career. In this paper I draw on Ms. Foreign Service between and I argue that the sexualization of women officers in the s led to less rather than more gender equality among Foreign Service officers.
Foreign Service Officers make up an elite group of professional diplomats who serve in United States embassies and consulates abroad. Access to the service is by examination run by the service itself. Foreign Service:with elite men and almost no women, when women served in low level positions but did not pass the Foreign Service exam, and when women began to pass the exam but faced daunting obstacles to service.
As Michael Krenn has argued about racial integration in the Foreign Service, the greatest impediment to equality of women in the Foreign Service was the attitude of officials in the bureaucracy. These reations were always accepted. A similar unwritten rule dating from the s had men submit Women want sex Cobalt City reations if they married foreign women; these reations were summarily rejected.
Having had two female officers serve in that period has allowed the Foreign Service to claim long experience with gender equity. The most comprehensive book on the topic, written by Homer Calkin and published by the Department of State inhas allowed the history of gender equity to be told and retold, like a family history, embellishing some exploits and suppressing others. With millions of men called up for the military, many men and some women were recruited from the Civil Service and military to fill Foreign Service reserve, staff, and officer positions in the department and abroad; some of those employees remained in the Foreign Service after the war.
The Service still had in place the understanding that most women could not pass the exam and very few women did. It is this moment that Alison Palmer got her entry into the service. As her story shows, sexualization of women in the s and the early s reversed some of the gains made during the wartime and postwar period. With Congress continuing its call for a more democratic service, the Department sought officers with middle class backgrounds. Palmer was born in Boston to a mother whose family had owned a newspaper and Women want sex Cobalt City father who wrote for the New York Times.
Working at the Christian Science Monitor and then the New York Times after graduation, it was evident to Palmer that journalism as a career was not open to women and so she jumped at the chance to take the Foreign Service exam. Some officers did enter without passing the exam. Palmer took--and failed--the Foreign Service exam inbut she was hired as a secretary in the Foreign Service Staff and sent to the Gold Coast, which became the independent nation of Ghana while she was there.
She was also entrusted as a diplomatic courier, taking diplomatic mail from Accra to Lagos.
Having the opportunity to see all facets of embassy jobs from first the code room and then the personnel section, she determined in Accra that she would retake the officer exam. Palmer learned in the ensuing months that her supervisor deleted her name from the register of incoming officers in order to keep her in the secretarial asment.
Familiar with recruitment policy, she challenged and quickly rectified this injustice.
Within a month of her arrival in Leopoldville later called KinshasaCongolese troops mutinied against continued Belgian control over their military forces in the newly independent nation. The U. From his first public speech at the independence festivities, when Prime Minister Patrice Lumumba reminded those present that Congolese independence was won by struggle and not by Belgian largesse, the west saw him as a foe and possibly a communist.
In September Lumumba was overthrown and replaced, with U. En route to the airport on official business one day, Palmer came across an embassy vehicle that, speeding along the country road toward the airport, had hit and killed a Congolese child and overturned in the ditch. One of them had been stabbed in the chest and shoulder and was bleeding profusely.
The other had also been stabbed and was, when Palmer arrived, being hit repeatedly on the back of the neck with a machete. Palmer recognized the men as her colleagues. Acting in her official and protective capacity as U. Consul, she drove her convertible into the crowd, pulled the more injured man into her car, and drove off. She had seen another vehicle follow hers into the crowd and she hoped it picked up the second man. She was credited Women want sex Cobalt City saving his life. The second man also survived the attack, but he never credited her with any act of bravery.
Blond in Congo, Coming Home as Heroine. You were magnificent. Palmer was en route with the Canadian Consul General, Bill Wood, to his house for a drink after work when gunfire erupted. The Ghanaian diplomat had been declared persona non grata for overinvolvement in Congolese politics. The Congolese government had sent military personnel to arrest and deport him. Palmer and Wood went around the house and from across a hedge Palmer saw three of her friends, journalists trying to cover the story, sitting in a prostrate position in front of a group of Congolese soldiers who seemed ready to execute them.
Again acting in her capacity as U. It was a very brave act. The soldiers were so stunned at the nerve of this girl, they just sort of faded away. Foreign Policy in newly independent African nations. In the s a new focus on sexuality exacerbated gender-based impediments to service which, as Palmer would experience, led to fewer opportunities for female officers.
Congress had accused the Service of elitism for years, but diplomats came under special scrutiny in the s when Senator Joseph McCarthy, among others, charged that the institution attracted effeminate men and sexual deviants. The Foreign Service list in spelled out the marital status of female officers, noting that 17 were married, 17 were divorced, and 3 were separated.
Bya few married women served as consular officers and four had been recruited by examination into the US Information Service. The three highest-ranked married female officers had entered the Service through the Wriston program, not by exam.
The profile of the divorced female officers was very similar: three low-ranking officers had entered the service by exam, two for US Information Service and one as a consular officer.
The highest-ranking divorced women officers had entered through the Wriston program. None of the 11 female political officers or 18 female economic officers in was married, divorced, or separated, making clear that the Service still guarded its notion that married women could not serve in these positions. On a national level, all U. In the era of the sexual revolution, State Department guarded the chastity of its female officers who were still required to remain single throughout their careers.
Cropping the photo changes its focus dramatically. The full length, uncropped photograph shows Palmer in or standing next to a market stall of West African cloth in a white dress with matching pumps and purse for a Sunday afternoon outing Figure 1.
A tight crop of Women want sex Cobalt City photo accompanied a article about her rescue of Frank Carlucci Figure 2. The image shows a pretty, smiling woman in what looks like a military blouse and beret. It nicely complements the Foreign Service hehot of the young, handsome Carlucci in a suit and tie.
The beret may have emphasized Palmer as a revolutionary. Whether the newspaper accessed the photo on its own or State Department provided it, the New York Times used the photo more than fifteen years later when reporting that Palmer was winning gender grievance case against the State Department. Selection for advanced training was reserved for political or economic officers whose careers showed potential to serve at mid ranking and senior levels.
Here she would the ranks of the most capable and ambitious officers, who would compete among themselves in asments leading up to career ambassador. For the first year of her asment, Ambassador Korry required her to act as his Staff Aide for the first year of her asment until he left the post.
After Korry left the post, she had a second, highly successful year as a political officer in Addis, after which she was again promoted. With two promotions in three years Palmer was now one of the highest performing junior officers in the Service. She decided to file a gender discrimination complaint from her next posting, in Vietnam. It would have been impossible, in my opinion, for a young woman officer to establish the effective relationships…necessary.
In six years in Africa between andPalmer never faced a sexual threat from an African. She did face harassment and sexual threats, however, from Americans. An FSO who was angry at her for asking him not to use the phone on her desk while she was working retaliated by leaving pornography on her desk.
She believed her friends and colleagues would see her as a woman who respected the moral and religious boundaries of marriage whereas her superior officer saw her as a single woman whose choices in the changing mores of the sexual revolution may have involved dating married men. The suit took thirty-four years to finally settle, although State Department resolved many of its complaints along the way. Although Ambassadors could still manipulate asments afterno position was allowed to be closed to women officers.
Women saw greater success in passing the exam, in asments as political and economic officers, in asments to advanced area studies and language training, and in promotions to the Senior Foreign Service.
Unknown to female Foreign Service Officer candidates, medical doctors shared information about their sexual health with security personnel, contributing to the much higher fail rate for women at the examination process. Although she was one of a group of officers honored for service in the Congo, it was Frank Carlucci, not Palmer who won the individual Superior Honor Award for service there. When Palmer exceeded gender norms by obtaining a coveted asment to advanced area studies training inindividual ambassadors rejected her asment to a political officer job in Africa on the grounds of the limitations her sexuality posed, an attitude that reflected both international and domestic concerns about black challenges to racial hierarchy.
She exhibited impressive talents as a Foreign Service Officer in several societies on the verge of independence. However, black applicants faced similar limits: there were two token black diplomats in the service until after World War II, black officers were placed in particular sites and were rarely promoted, and an assumption that they were unable to pass the exam kept most black applicants out of the service. For additional information on black Foreign Service Officers and tokenism in the postwar period see Krenn, Black Diplomacy.
Box 5, APP Brown. It became illegal to require men to re. Foreign wives had felt humiliated at having to do a security interview and resented not being able to maintain dual citizenship. Palmer identified three underlying facets to this rule: State Department was paranoid to think that every foreigner was a spy. State assumed that every American employee told state secrets to his or her spouse. Finally, State thought of citizenship as a baptism that wiped the soul clean.
FSR are lower level positions than officer positions and FSS are secretarial and administrative employees; women and persons of color are better-represented in these parts of the Foreign Service. Department of State sometimes uses these counts to demonstrate equal access to the Foreign Service by women and persons of color. Calkin, Since the consular service was combined with the more elite diplomatic service inthe Foreign Service had postings in four career areas: political and economic officers analyzed issues in these areas in foreign postings while consular and administrative officers conducted more mundane business of citizenship, visas and administering foreign posts.
Because they were recruited Women want sex Cobalt City, when they reached midlevel rank, FS-6 or FS-5, they might already have served for 15 or 20 years. Women want sex Cobalt City male Foreign Service career counterparts spent an average of years reaching this rank. By the time they started their careers as low ranking FSO-7 or low to mid ranking FSO-6 consular officers, they were already seven to ten years into their careers. All women failed the exam between andbut in the s and s they continued to face a higher barrier to entry than their male counterparts.
In12 percent of women and 16 percent of men passed the exam. In10 percent of women and 17 percent of men passed. United Nations forces landed in Katanga in December and the secession ended in Ambassador Clare Timberlake was in his first ambassadorship and had been in country for only eight days when this violence broke out.
Many years later she noted that a male colleague who refused an asment to Stanleyville, in Katanga Province, out of concern for his personal safety was not reprimanded for it but a woman who refused an asment to Mogadishu, Somalia for the same reason was forced to re.Women want sex Cobalt City
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