More on the Women of Interior, the Department that Time Forgot

If I were one of the gals in the U.S. Department of the Interior (“DOI”), I might be a little annoyed.  It seems that when the big jobs are handed around, the boys get the nod (Gale Norton being the token exception).  But when the sh-t hits the fan, the “spokeswomen” get to take the fall.

According to a Department of the Interior “Report to the White House Council on Women and Girls” (a report that is not dated but must have been conducted sometime after 2009 when the White House Council on Women and Girls was first created), women comprise 40 percent of the permanent workforce at the DOI, but are

disproportionately represented in the lower ranks of the DOI workforce,accounting for 55 percent of the GS-8 and below workforce, and only 36 percent of the GS-9 and above workforce.

I say the report must be dated after 2009, but the language of the report is right out of the 1950’s.  There is, for example, a program for women entitled “Ladies, Let’s Go Fishing” and one for girls entitled “FishHer” (a program of the Fish and Wildlife Service “designed to educate, equip, and empower girls new to the sport of fishing, boating, and aquatic education.”).  There is also a lot of discussion about “Alternative Work Schedules” (“so that employees can meet the needs of both their jobs and their families”) so cutely entitled “Maxitime” (sounds like a sanitary product), “Flexitime” and “Telework.”  There is even a “Weight Watchers at Work” program for all the chunky ladies, I guess, whose eating habits may be interfering with their promotability.

One reason for the glass ceiling at the DOI (besides the tone deafness about what matters to working women, namely pay and power, just like the boys) may be that DOI women are disproportionately on the scene whenever things go wrong.  This week, the DOI’s Bureau of Land Management (“BLM”) managed to kill another 12 wild horses on day one of the latest of a series of deadly, disastrous round-ups of America’s iconic equine.  True to form, the BLM sent out a woman to take the heat .

According to Debbie Collins, a “spokeswoman for the BLM’s National Wild Horse and Burro Program (her official title is “marketing specialist”)

There’s all sorts of things in process right now,

The manual is being misinterpreted and we are in the
process of addressing the public’s confusion.

I don’t know why you think BLM is preventing the public from witnessing the Tuscarora gather. We have not announced the official public observation days yet, but when we are ready to take requests, we will post the announcement.

Ms. Collins’ “official title” is “marketing specialist,” her official talking point is that “You don’t understand” and her official role is clean-up at the DOI.  In that sterling capacity, she joins her DOI “sisters on the scene when things go wrong.”  The boys get the big bucks and the titles and the girls get to take the fall.  Nice work if you can get it.


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