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Cracking the Glass Ceiling: A Conversation with Foreign Service Women

Despite their education and background, women Foreign Service Officers in the 1950s and 60s faced discrimination and were often treated like second-class citizens. Even in the late 1960s, some ambassadors would object to a woman being posted to their embassies while female FSOs were sometimes expected to act as social secretary to the Ambassador’s wife. […]

Wives and Women in the Foreign Service: The Creation of the Family Liaison Office

A 1957 State Department publication of “Suggestions for Wives from Other Foreign Service Wives” introduced the idea that the main occupational role for wives was the support of their husbands. While never written into the formal regulations of the State Department, it was common practice for women employed in the Foreign Service to resign once […]

The Palmer Case and the Changing Role of Women in the Foreign Service

There have been a number of prominent women who have served in the State Department over the past century:  Francis Willis, the first female career Foreign Service Officer to become ambassador; Clare Booth Luce, a political appointee as Ambassador to Italy; Constance Ray Harvey, who was awarded the Medal of Freedom for her  work during World […]

Women in the Foreign Service – You’ve Come a Long Way, Baby!

It is remarkable to think that there have been three female Secretaries of State in the last 15 years.  However, the Foreign Service was not always so accommodating to women. Times were quite different in the Mad Men era — including the assumption that women should resign from the Service once they got married — […]

A Foreign Service Spouse on a Mission: Combating Human Trafficking in Greece

Whether being assigned to a new post, taking on a new position, or learning a new language, the careers of Foreign Service Officers (FSOs) are continually evolving. However, they are often not alone on their diplomatic journeys. Many Foreign Service Officers carry out their duties overseas alongside their spouses. While there are certain responsibilities that […]

A Not-So-Quiet Arrival in Kuala Lumpur, Malaysia

Foreign Service Officers (FSOs) must constantly be on alert for security threats, which can sneak up during the most unexpected times. Oftentimes when FSOs arrive at a new post, they may expect to be greeted by friendly faces who are ready to welcome them to their new country. However, even these simple, lively occasions can […]